Sketch of an equestrian from the December 31, 1893 edition of Punch Magazine - captioned "Old Year.--'Over!'" as the horse is in mid-jump over a fence.
Image clipped from the December 31, 1893 edition of “Punch, or the London Charivari.” While this sketch of an equestrian may appear to have little to do with The New Leaf Journal or New Year’s Eve, it is actually captioned “Old Year.—’Over!'” Thus, like the equestrian, we hurdle over the fence that is 2020 with our final article of the year.

The New Leaf Journal closed out the end of 2020 and as I argued in one piece, the end of a decade, with 25 December articles prior to this one. We have several items on the itinerary for today’s special New Year’s Eve December review post. First, I will link to some of our stand-out articles from December 2020. Second, I will go over some of the New Leaf Journal changes in December. Third and finally, I will preview some things to look forward to as The New Leaf Journal prepares for 2021.

Before we Begin – Preview

Tomorrow, we will publish a special New Year’s article listing the most-read New Leaf Journal articles in 2020. The post will be set in our very own Emu Café, and will deliver some unique content along with the list. Our New Year article will go live shortly after midnight, so we hope to see you bright and early in 2021.

Notable New Leaf Journal Content From December 2020

I encourage you to see all of our articles published in December – which you can here. For this article, I will select a few articles that I think are particularly noteworthy for one reason or another.

Music in December

On December 9, Victor listed what he believes are the most important Bob Dylan songs in multi-year intervals. In total, Victor offers some thoughts and information on fourteen Dylan songs.

On December 22, Victor published his first Quarantine Sessions article in a while, linking to his recording of The Beatles’s “With a Little Help From My Friends” with Mark Caserta. In the post, Victor offers broader reflections on adapting songs and some interesting history about why The Beatles can be difficult to cover.

The Longest Post – Anime Recommendations for 2011-2020

On December 29, I published our longest piece at The New Leaf Journal to date – anime recommendations from the past decade. The post contains 10 primary recommendations along with some related recommendations. I selected series that satisfy the dual criteria of being good and possibly being of interest to a broad audience, so I welcome those who like anime and invite those who are not familiar with it to find something interesting to watch in 2021.

Welcoming Winter

On December 14, I bid farewell to autumn with a post on a beautiful haiku by a master of the poetic art-form, Kaga no-Chiyo. Two days later, I posted a brief article touting the benefits of winter walks with reference to a section of the classic children’s book, The Secret Garden. Over the next two days, I posted articles following my own advice. On October 17, I published an article about several pictures I took of Brooklyn after it was blanketed in a heavy snowfall. On October 18, I turned to my background in philosophy with a post relating one chapter of Epictetus’s Enchiridion to the experience of walking on the snow and ice. For a short post on the day after Christmas, I posed a question regarding a snowman wearing a one-eyed frog hat, evil or not?

Justin & Justina Dialogues

I added three entries to my growing Justin & Justina dialogue series, chronicling fictional conversations between two unusual friends. For December 3, I wrote the account of a discussion about how to prepare for a “5% chance of rain.” Just over two weeks later, I wrote a dialogue in which Jason offers his strong (and I might add, correct) opinion that A.D. should be used instead of C.E. Finally, on Christmas Eve, I published a dialogue about Justina enduring the agony of choosing a Christmas present while Justin was anything but helpful. The December 24 post includes several pictures that I took around Brooklyn in the lead-up to Christmas.

Upcoming Pokémon Battle

On December 11, I previewed an online Pokémon battle that Victor and I will stage in late January or early February. Instead of choosing our own teams, we drafted teams for the other editor to use in a three-part battle series. We are currently working on our teams, and we will start posting articles about our preparation for the battle along with a battle recap after we finally fight. The post provides an easy explanation of how everything works for those who are not familiar with how the newest Pokémon games work.

Other Worthwhile Content

As I noted at the top, we have several additional articles on December, touching on subjects such as education, Roman history, protective masks, and more. My not listing every article in detail in the recap is no slight to those posts. Be sure to look for additional articles that you may find interesting in our December archive or through internal links in posts that you do read.

New Leaf Journal News and Notes From December 2020

December 2020 marked the return of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, with a newsletter delivered to subscribers on each of the month’s four Sundays. I think that the Sunday newsletter schedule works well, so I will continue with that going forward. You can subscribe to The Newsletter Leaf Journal here. For those who want to see what the newsletter is like before subscribing, you can read past entries from our Newsletter Archive.

Because the newsletter serves as a sort of article in and of itself, Victor and I decided to start a new project for Sunday posting on The New Leaf Journal proper. Beginning on December 13, and repeating on December 20 and 27, we posted brief articles consisting mostly of content recommendations from around the web. Victor and I each recommend three pieces of content, and on December 20 and 27 I also recommended a book and blog reading site, respectively . Finally, each Sunday’s recommendations post includes a link to an article from our own archives. If you missed any of our Sunday recommendations posts, you can see the full archive in our Sunday recommendations category.

We welcome any thoughts or recommendations regarding the newsletter, and you can either use our on-site contact form or send an email reply to the newsletter itself. We will respond to any and all inquiries from an @newleafjournal email address. If you have any thoughts regarding the Sunday recommendations or a suggestion for an interesting related article that we may have missed, please tell us in the Guestbook.

Finally, I added The New Leaf Journal to Bloglovin’, a platform designed for blog reading. I will explain this more in the future, but for now you can find us at this link.

Looking Forward to 2021

Below is a non-exhaustive list of some things we may add to The New Leaf Journal in 2021.

First, making a true logo for The New Leaf Journal remains on the to-do list. Neither Victor nor I have much experience with vector graphics, but for several reasons, the site does need a bona fide logo.

Second, I would still like to add a slider to the site’s homepage. If I add the slider, I may reduce the number of articles that display at one time, but that is something I would decide after testing.

Third, I am considering creating what I call “series hub pages.” These would be pages on the site (as opposed to articles) for creating topic indexes. For example, Victor’s Quarantine Sessions series would be a natural fit in the project. These pages would introduce a series of articles and contain a running list of all entries in the series, updated each time a relevant article is published. This was an idea that I had for the site in the planning stages, and I think topic pages would be a good way to implement it.

Related to the subject of hub pages, I will explore new ways to organize content and make it readily searchable and accessible for readers. The New Leaf Journal is approaching 200 published articles. I want to make sure that new readers see some of our older posts, especially ones published when the site was in its earliest stages.

Finally, I will create a hub page for our social media presence and different places that readers can find and follow us online.

Happy New Year from The New Leaf Journal

2020 comes to an end. It was an exciting first year for The New Leaf Journal. This article is the 191st that we have published since launching in April. When we factor in the nine pages and 12 email newsletters, The New Leaf Journal has published 212 pieces of content, not counting our social media posts and guestbook responses. Thank you for continuing to follow us, and we look forward to improving and publishing better content and adding new features in 2021.