This year I felt enhancements to our New Year traditions were in order. Our ritualistic purging is commonplace; out with the old dust bunnies and unworn clothing, make room for the new year’s new dirt, new ideas, and new fashion. 2011 was anything but commonplace in the Schultz household, and I have a strong feeling that 2012 will be chocked full of more surprising, yet positive, change. While I did not want to give up our tried and true merrymaking recipe, I did want to add more symbolism to the mix following a more dramatic purging than in past years.
Every time I clean out the closets I spy my wedding dress languishing in plastic and think what a waste it is to have such an exquisite gown that I just cannot bring myself to use as a zombie bride costume. Our daughter married in 2011, giving us a new appreciation for the cost of a wedding. So, this year my dress is in the donation pile hoping to be worn again by a happy bride on a budget.
Not purposely, I purged my job, and more importantly my paycheck in 2011. I naïvely asserted my rights under the American with Disabilities Act, urged onward by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who assured me that it really was the right thing to do. Not the practical thing, but the right thing. I think some of the dressy items I wore to work will be appreciated by a woman who does not have associated bad memories attached to these blouses and jackets. My next job is still unknown, but surely it will require a new-to-me wardrobe. In the meantime, I received comfy clothing for Christmas that better fits my current writing persona and requires the space taken by old items reserved for annual events I will no longer attend. Out with old, out with the old, this year’s purging may take a couple of weeks.
After cleaning and organizing much of our nest, I turned to my right-hand-man (Google) for symbolic new year traditions practiced around the world. There is a Scottish custom called “first-footing” whereby after the stroke of midnight a young, handsome, dark-haired man brings coal, money, bread, salt, and whiskey to your door for good luck, wealth, and good cheer. We could not adopt this tradition because good-looking dark-headed gentlemen are hard to find, while blondes and red-heads are plentiful around here, but are considered bad luck in this Scottish tradition. As the only handsome dark-haired guy in the neighborhood, I couldn’t have my husband visiting our neighbors all evening giving away our whiskey. The Ecuadorian tradition of burning things that you do not want in the new year sounded more promising as long as we subtracted jumping over the fire and courting an emergency room visit. I put out the call to my Mom to print pictures of unwanted 2011 ideals and absurdities. Throwing joblessness, disease, food lines, and fat cats in the fire pit was as cathartic and celebratory as I hoped. If we do not wrestle with those problems in 2012 it will be even better. A new year is a time for new hopes. In that spirit, I alerted my family and friends to the South American tradition of wearing brightly colored underwear for good luck; red for love, and yellow for money. Everyone agreed that if they could not find red and yellow underwear they would settle for yellow, perhaps because we are already blessed with love and those that are single figure they can easily find romance once they have loads of dough. I anticipate how lovely it will be when all of us receive a windfall in 2012 and will let you know when the cash starts rolling in so you too, can wear yellow underwear next year.
Our older traditions of drinking, feasting, and kissing excessively were still loyally held to, a sign that not all old things need to be purged, perhaps just embellished a bit. I hope that your 2012 is filled with new possibilities and stripped of the 2011 things you no longer want or need. Happy New Year!