I don’t know why, but I have never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. Well maybe the first 15 years I had great New Year’s Eves when my Aunt Mary hosted the family get togethers. She had hats and noise makers, confetti and streamers. She had pots and pans to bang at midnight. We watched Guy Lombardo on television for the countdown and the ball to drop. It felt exciting. A new year with new possibilities. But then my aunt Mary and her family moved about 20 miles away. My father didn’t want to drive us out there and come back home so late at night. My other relatives didn’t have a car. The New Year’s Eve parties were over. The holiday took a depressing turn for me.
Instead of noise and family laughter, there was quiet. Instead of new beginnings, I focused more on endings. The end of the holiday season. The end of Christmas, the food, the music, the decorations, the visiting, the gifts, the anticipation. The end of Christmas vacation. The fun was over. Done.
My mother would make a holiday meal for us to enjoy on New Year’s Day. It felt more like the Last Supper. There were still the remnants of Christmas all around. Some gift boxes, with gifts that hadn’t been put away, still sat on the floor. The tree standing tall seemed to be reminding us that we had to take down the ornaments and store everything for another year. The leftovers in the refrigerator dwindling and slowly becoming a savory memory. The Christmas cards, lovingly displayed for the past two or three weeks, would soon end up in the trash with all the wrapping paper, ribbon, bows and tags. It all went by way too fast. From Thanksgiving week to New Year’s Day, about six weeks of whirlwind shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, decorating, planning, visiting all coming to a screeching halt. Back to our normal lives we go. Back to school, back to work, back to laundry, back to paying bills and on and on.
Last night I took down the tree and all the decorations. The girls weren’t home so I spared them the dreaded task. I know I’ll forget to put away some trinket, I always do. I’ll find it in a couple of days from now and get another wave of sadness. I’ll put away the remaining gifts once I find a place for them. Christmas 2014 will join all the others in the memories of my mind.
What’s left today? Hope. We’re all hoping the new year will be a good one. Here’s to hoping for good health and happiness for everyone. May God bless us all, and may we all be here celebrating Christmas in 2015 with our loved ones once again.