These days, a New Year's Eve celebration doesn't feel complete without one thing: a countdown.
But that 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ritual to ring in the new year isn't as old as you might think.
Alexis McCrossen is a history professor at Southern Methodist University and says clock-watching is actually relatively new for Americans.
"We used to celebrate New Year's Day. You woke up on January 1st, you said, 'happy new year', you went to church, perhaps, and maybe you exchanged gifts, and it was a calendar holiday," she said.