5 things to know about New Year's Eve, New Year’s Day

The new year is here!

Well, almost.

Before the clock hits midnight in America, there are some things you should know.

1. The first place to ring the new year is Kiritimati, Christmas Island, Kiribati, according to the world clock on timeanddate.com. It's south of Hawaii and east of Australia. It is 19 hours ahead of New York City.

Auckland, New Zealand, and Suva, Fiji, are next.

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Sydney, Australia, is arguably the first major city to ring in the new year (Melbourne, too,), because it is 16 hours ahead of the Big Apple, while Shanghai and Hong Kong are 13 hours ahead.

2. New Year's Eve traditions explained: The world-famous tradition of gathering in Times Square to watch the ball drop dates back to 1907. That ball weighed 700 pounds and featured 100 light bulbs.

Credit: Theo Wargo

Credit: Theo Wargo

The version that we see today weighs a massive 11,875 pounds. It's covered in more than 2,688 Waterford crystals and is illuminated by more than 32,256 LED lights.

Other notable New Year's Eve traditions include fireworks at the Sydney Opera House; Atlanta's Peach Drop, which was a Peanut M&M for one year; the Hershey's Kiss Drop in Hershey, Pennsylvania; anything on the Las Vegas Strip or in China's major cities (Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai); and family entertainment at Disney.

3. Putting the children to bed early on New Year's Eve is a fairly common practice around the world. A large majority, 68 percent of 9,128 parents, said they will turn the lights out for the kids well before midnight.

Netflix wants to make it easier to do so.

The popular streaming service has on-demand countdowns ready to be queued up this year so the kids can get to bed early and the parents can party late, The Huffington Post reported.

4. Polar Bear Plunge Day - Jan. 1 marks Polar Bear Plunge, according to timeanddate.com. That's the day that the brave, and somewhat crazy people, find the closest and coldest body of water, either put on a costume or strip down to a bathing suit and jump into the freezing water.

Credit: Astrid Riecken

Credit: Astrid Riecken

5. College football playoffs kick off in America.

If the NFL owns Thanksgiving Day and Sundays (as the movie "Concussion" declares), and the NBA showcases its best on Christmas Day, then the NCAA is a New Year's tradition.

New Year’s Day kickoffs:

  • Outback Bowl - Michigan vs. South Carolina, 12 p.m. ET (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa)
  • Peach Bowl - No. 7 Auburn vs No. 12 UCF, 12:30 p.m. ET (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta)
  • Citrus Bowl - No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU, 1 p.m. ET (Camping World Stadium, Orlando)
  • Rose Bowl - No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia, 5 p.m. ET (Rose Bowl, Pasadena)
  • Sugar Bowl - No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama, 8:45 p.m. ET (Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans)
  • National Championship - TBD, Jan 8, 8 p.m. ET (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta)

Click here for the complete schedule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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