I’m the first to admit that I get a little blue when the holiday season comes to a close. As I anticipate taking down the decorations and the trees, carefully wrapping the nostalgia-laced baubles in memory-protecting bubble wrap and tissue paper, I find myself running into the ghosts of Christmas past again and again. The white lights, the scent of pine needles, the beautifully packaged presents…the familiar traditions and routines that we revisit year after year, bridging the gap between our past and our present, keep us looking over our shoulder back to days gone by. Memories of Christmas act as markers of time…first Christmas together, first Christmas as parents, first Christmas that a loved one didn’t sit beside you at the dinner table. It’s nearly impossible to not be sentimental as you stroll down a memory lane decked out with wreaths, poinsettas, and the sounds of familiar carols everywhere you turn.
And then, in a flash, Christmas week comes to a close with a celebration not of the past, but of the future. A chance to hit the reset button and start fresh…with a clean slate and infinite possibilities for the year ahead. We have parties, raise a glass, and count down to the very moment when we can step over the line from the old to the new. We bang pots, blow noisemakers and loudly tell the New Year that we are on-board with the promise of a brand new day. And we make resolutions…to be better and to do better. I love resolutions. Sure, we resolve to do the same thing every year…drop a few pounds, organize the clutter, and so on and so on. And sure, most of us fall off the wagon at some point every year…some almost as soon as we climb on, some after a really valiant effort. But every year, without fail, we try it again. That’s the beauty of the New Year. It’s as if all that noise and all that revelry wake us from our Christmas coma…all of the sudden, the decorations look a little tired, and the house looks a little overdone. We clean it up, streamline our look, and lighten our load. We replace the heavy holiday treats with lighter fare. We find a spot for the new items we’ve acquired from generous gift-givers. And we make lists of ways we can shake off the mistakes of the last year by shining a light on the areas that need improvement in the new year. On the first day of the first month of every year, we make a list of ways that we can positively move forward in our lives. That’s a reason to celebrate.
Today is 1.1.11…a new year, a new decade, a new chance. In 2011, I wish for smiles to warm you, family and friends to love you, laughter to lift you, hands to help you, and peace, health, and joy to sustain you.
Happy New Year!