I'm a bit late, but this is the first time in five days or so that I am online. I wish all of you a very happy, successful and peaceful 2008!
In Armenia the "holiday season" only really started on the 31st and will last for another week or so. Christmas is celebrated according to the Orthodox calendar on January 6 and then what is called the 'Old New Year' on January 13.
However, the real New Year is much bigger than Christmas and the celebrations last about a week starting from January 1st. So this whole week is a week off for almost everyone, including me. New Year's Eve is usually celebrated at home with family, but from January 1st people visit their friends, neighbors and relatives and eat and drink a lot. In every house there is a table filled with food and drinks standing ready for use because at any given moment guests can show up.
This can be lots of fun, but the downside of this is that many people spend more than they can afford on their New Year's table. A friend who has a shop in a small town in the north of Armenia once told me that all the money he makes in the run-up to New Year has to last him until April, because until then people just don't have money to spend. A taxi-driver in Yerevan told me the other day that for taxi's it is basically the same: For quite some weeks after New Year business is slower than usual, because people just don't have money to spend.
I'm off to another food fest at friends!