Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Our New Year's - Old with New

    Let me first begin by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!  My wish for you (and ourselves) is to have a healthy, happy new year, full of love.  All of that out of the way..... Let's talk about me and mine (like I don't normally).  Last night we celebrated New Year's Eve.  Christopher and I are pretty boring when it comes to New Years, we always have been, even before we became parents.  We're really not partiers, more of home bodies.  
    Our family life is full of tradition and ritual.  It's how we like it.  I like to know what's coming next, to look forward to what's coming next, and so we give that to our children.  For every major holiday we have a tradition some old, some newer additions.  For New Years we have traditions, this year we had to postpone some of our Christmas Eve/ Christmas traditions because Elly was so sick, so we put them into New Years.  I liked them so much, we may just permanently move them to New Year's Eve.

    We are most fortunate to have behind our house Tweed's best tobogganing hill, it just so happens to be at the local separate school.  Sometimes they lock their playground, which is a problem, but not the end of the deal.  Last year Christopher brought a ladder to climb the fence... it was pretty funny.  Our New Year's Eve starts with Christopher taking the kids tobogganing.  They love it, and he loves it.  They come in looking like little snowballs, excited to get on with the rest of the night.  I go out long enough to take some pictures of them, and then rush back into the toasty warm house.

    This year we had to postpone the present game from Christmas night to New Year's Eve.  This is one that I think I will permanently transfer over.  I was able to get really great gift after Christmas.  I got Webkins for $2 and $.50.  It was fun buying the gifts, and it was more fun seeing how many bargain I could get.  Because I could really take my time and only shop for the things for the present game, I could really put my mind into it.  The other thing is because of all of the great after Christmas specials, I could get better gifts.

    Here is how we play the present game for those of you who do not play it.  I write everyone's name on a piece of paper, then fold the paper and put it into a container.  I call the first person's name and they come and pick out a wrapped present from the pile (I'm the only one who knows what's in them).  They then pull the next person's name.  The next person has the option of taking a gift from the pile, or stealing from the first person.  If the second person steals the first person's gift, the first person then goes back to the pile and selects another gift.  After that it is a stealing free for all.  The kids love it.

I don't know why Christopher didn't want to
keep his Barbie baking gift.

    Another postponed activity was the Christmas Crackers.  We LOVE Christmas Crackers.  I spend a little more to get the better ones, because in the past I have been disappointed with the lame prizes in the cheaper crackers.  The kids love the crackers, but if truth be told, I think that they are a little afraid that they will explode in their faces like something out of a Looney Toons cartoon.  Every year I explain that they make a bang, but there is not explosion, every year...... it's the same.  I love them running around with their paper crowns falling over their eyes.  Everyone takes turn reading their lame jokes that came in the crackers.  We usually crack the Christmas Crackers Christmas night after dinner, but I think next year I will buy extras for New Year's Eve, kit was really lots of fun.

    As a special treat I made virgin pina coladas for the kids.  Rowan was too concerned that I had made a mistake and it wasn't "virgin", and he wanted no part of it.  The big girls on the other hand, loved them.  They felt very grown up sipping their drinks like big ladies.  I got a little chuckle out of them.  You could see their bodies straighten up and their faces become more mature as soon as they were holding their glasses (which were by the way my plastic wine glasses for the summer).

    On Christmas Eve we traditionally smash our gingerbread house with a hammer.  Yes, it is a little bit of over kill, but they love the violence of it.  I think down deep we all love to break things.  This tradition too had to be postponed because of a sick little blonde girl.  This was the one tradition that the kids were really disappointed that they had to postpone.  Normally my kids take disappointment quite well.  I'm not sure if it's because they don't really have to experience disappointment very often or if it's just them.  Not doing their houses Christmas Eve disappointed them.  Poor little Elly was passed out on the couch for most of Christmas Eve, so sick.  It did not seem fair that she missed out on so much (making reindeer food, spreading reindeer food, our backyard fire, ect, ect.).  I could not have her miss out on the gingerbread house, it just seemed too unfair.

    For the kids at around 10:00 we pour them ginger ale in wine glasses.  This year we gave them sparkling grape juice.  We then count down the new year, and everyone kisses and we scoot them off to their beds.

    So as usual I had great ambitious plans for Hogmanay (this is my first attempt at Hogmanay, but I generally make lofty plans and do not stick to them).  I was going to bring in some of the old Scottish ways to our new world.  I planned to go and cut down some branches of juniper, but couldn't find my cutters, and couldn't find the time.  I could not find mistletoe, not the real stuff (it's hard to come by around these parts).  I did however put together a first footer package for my parents.  Traditionally the first footer must be tall and dark haired.  They should come bearing gifts of coal, whiskey and black buns/ shortbread, and a piece of silver. The coal is so that they know comfort, whiskey to help them stay warm, shortbread / black buns so that they never feel hunger and silver so that they always have enough money.  Coal is in short supply these days, so I substituted a bag of wood pellets since my parents heat with a wood-pellet stove, whiskey I have, shortbread I have (I even made a fresh batch yesterday), and I plan to give them either a toonie or a quarter since that is as close to silver as I can come.  The only problem is that Christopher enjoyed to much of the bubbly last night to deliver our first footer gift, and then got called out to work early this morning for the day.  Oh they'll get it, it may not hold the same traditional weight, but it will be delivered.
    The other old tradition that we did was just before midnight, Christopher opened the back door of the house, and just before the clock struck 12, he opened the front door to let the new year in, and the old year left through the back door.  It was fun, but cold.  It has to be the man of the house that does the opening of the doors.  So I guess that my Hogmanay was not in the words of my oldest daughter "an epic fail".
    After the phone calls to wish our loved ones a Happy New Year, we sat together in the near dark, with the last lighting of our Christmas lights.  We sat and reflected on our year.  My husband it an absolutest, he his cup is always half empty.  He was glad to see the end of this terrible year, and hoped that the coming year would be better.  I on the other hand am a silver lining girl, my cup is always half full (I am pretty sure that my upbeat attitude can be irritating).  I gently patted my poor misguided husband's arm, "We had a wonderful year.  We did a lot of wonderful things.  We went to Florida, we visited Disney."  He sat thinking "Ya Disney was pretty great." he said grudgingly.  "We had a great year, it's just in September that life went to Hell in a hand basket."  Christopher reflected "I guess you're right..... but I sure hope there is not as much sickness in the coming year."  "Amen" I said.
    This year has had it's ups and downs.  More ups than downs.  If we didn't have our downs, how could we fully appreciate our ups?  If you've never known hardship, how can you know the good times?  I do hope that this year brings us more ups than downs, and that my children make it their New Year's Resolution to stop being germ sponges.  Happy New Year.

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