People across the globe anxiously await the arrival of the new year. Different cultures and religions celebrate their own new year at different times, but for much of the world, Jan. 1 marks the date for change and renewal.

With so much emphasis placed on what people will be doing for the last day of the year, little thought may be given to what to do after the clock strikes 12. Each minute afterward opens up the possibilities to begin fresh with new goals and tasks.

For those wondering how to commence the new year, there are many ways to tackle the first day and thereafter - after you have recovered from the New Year's Eve celebration, that is.

* Take down holiday decorations. While there are some people who prefer to leave up their Christmas decorations until after the celebration of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, by January 1 many are ready to say goodbye to the holiday season for another year. Having the day off of work and school enables you to spend time removing decorations from the house and taking down the tree, especially before dried-out pine needles become more than you can handle.

* Shop post-holiday sales. After spending several months buying for every person on your list, this could be a time that you focus on picking up some things for yourself or the household. Stores may need to liquidate holiday stock and other inventory to make room for spring styles. Many shoppers find the deals hard to pass up when shopping in the early days of January. Check online to comparison shop, and scour the Internet for any printable coupons that can earn you even bigger discounts.

* Visit family and friends. This time of year may be happy for some, but for those far from members of the family or seniors who may have lost many close companions, the winter and post-holiday season could bring on the blues. Visiting extended family you may not have seen during the holidays is one way to pass the day. You also can volunteer some of your time at a senior center or assisted-living facility to spread some post-holiday cheer.

* Discard expired foods and medicines. Take this opportunity to throw out any medications that expire this year, which will give you a head start on spring cleaning as well. Toss out old makeup and cosmetic products and make a list of new items to buy. Also, take inventory of the refrigerator and freezer, cleaning out any items that are no longer recognizable or that are past the recommended date.

* Head to the movies. Go to the movie theater and take in a flick with the family. January is not the most active time for new releases, but there are some films released in the first month of the year. You can enjoy a lazy day with some cinematic magic and a bag of popcorn.

* Make a folder to store tax preparation paperwork. Tax season is just around the corner. Use this time to collect any paperwork you already may have received and put it in a safe place. Expect new statements of past earnings, any information about interest earned on bank statements and other pertinent tax documents to start arriving. Also, if you use an accountant to help file your taxes, call his or her office and book an appointment before his or her schedule fills up.

* Watch a football game. After weeks of running around at a break-neck pace, use this day to lounge around and recharge. Chances are you can find a football game on television. Order in a pizza and cheer on your favorite team.

* Encourage the kids to put down the toys and pick up a book. Many students will be returning to school soon after an extended winter recess. Have them get back into the swing of things by brushing up on lessons last touched on in December.

* Host a post-holiday pot luck. Clean out the refrigerator of those salvageable leftovers from your New Year's Eve bash. Invite others over with their own foods and host one last party before you have to get back to the daily grind.

There are many ways to start off the new year on the right foot. Get a head start on cleaning or organizing, or relax once more with friends and family.