"In the business and financial world the end of the old year marks a distinct epoch, and the first of January is the beginning of new accounts and new books. There is a general brushing up, so to speak, and a number of new rules enacted, even if they are never enforced.
There seems to be no reason why there should not be a moral brushing up, as well as a business one. On the first of January, why should not every one take an account of stock? Why not foot up all the good and bad done in the old year, and find out on which side the balance lies? If bad, it is a subject for correction; if good, it is a matter for congratulation.
It is not necessary for one to make the footings public, any more than a business man takes the outside world into his confidence, but a perusal may do a wonderful amount of good. Indeed, it is the only way by which one can learn to avoid a repetition of the errors of the old year.
The first of the new year is called "happy" doubtless on account of the good resolutions which inevitably spring from a contemplation of the past. It is the one day in the year when every right-minded person at least tries to do good, and it is an axiom that to be good is to be happy.
Another reason springs from the time-honored custom of calling and renewing old acquaintances, and thus reviving many happy memories.
Let no boy or girl be laughed out of making good resolutions on New Year's Day. To make a resolution and keep it for a single day is better than to make none at all, and it renders each successive resolution easier to make and keep. But good resolutions may be kept, and then, indeed, the new year will be a happy one.
Resolve, then, on New Year's Day to be something better and nobler than you have been in the old year, to correct some fault or develop some virtue; resolve to make some one's life brighter, or to do good in some way, however humble, and you will find your reward in a happiness equal if not superior to that which you have bestowed."
~ Excerpt from Golden Days for Boys and Girls, Circa. 1891
Victorian Home "Happy New Year" Clip Art, Drawing, Illustration