New Year’s Traditions
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I mean, really! What’s the point? They would only end up in the proverbial dustbin of history anyway, so why torture myself?
But I am in agreement that at this time of year it seems appropriate to take stock, ruminate about the year just past and the one ahead, and hopefully move forward refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the year ahead has in store for us. Whether you celebrate the New Year based on our planet’s solar orbit, or according to ethnic or religious calendars, it’s still a virtual new beginning, a chance to re-set with a clean slate.
In previous New Year’s blogs I have waxed nostalgic about Dutch traditions which were celebrated in New Amsterdam in the 17th century and mused about how closely tied are failure and success. I’ve even written about the meaning of spotting a robin in the middle of winter!
This year I thought I’d share some personal traditions which I have subconsciously developed over a lifetime. Spoiler alert: nowhere will be mentioned a certain sporting event traditionally staged (and I do mean staged) on this date in Pasadena. (It is winter, and I routinely spend it staring out the window until Baseball Spring Training starts.)
But I digress.
I live alone. Well, I do have roommates: two opinionated felines who spend 90% of each day pointing out to me – in considerable detail – my shortcomings vis á vis their expectations.
We live and work (yes, all of us) in a three story building with more offices than bedrooms. So the commute is short, but my frequent and long absences on tours, attending travel shows and other tourism meetings are an ongoing source of friction. A rare holiday week-end is therefore a source of jubilation and the only controversy is the competition for laptime.
New Year’s Day has therefore evolved into a predictable lineup of savored traditions, beginning of course with the Pasadena Rose Parade on HGTV (no ads). I particularly like this spectacle because – unlike America’s other iconic parade aired just five weeks ago – it isn’t halted every two minutes for some teeny-bopper to lip-sync what passes for popular music, or entire Broadway casts incongruously performing in the middle of the street, with cuts away for ads when anything even remotely resembling a marching band appears. THIS parade actually moves, and has lots and lots of horses and marching bands. Now that’s a parade!
It also has a side to it that the aggressively commercial Thanksgiving Day parade lacks: inspiration. Floats are largely sponsored by communities and non-profit organizations. Many represent humanitarian causes, cancer cures, first responders, etc. There are international floats and bands. Participants include so-called “Honor Bands” representing the best students as well as musicians of a city, and small-town community bands that invariably raised the money to make the trip via a year’s worth of bake sales and car washes. The floats themselves are often educational, showcasing nature and craftsmanship, and built largely by volunteers. America’s diversity is proudly on display here, with Hispanic vaqueros, cowboys & Indians, horse-back riders, Clydesdales pulling wagons, and mountain men representing the gold rush heritage of California itself.
After the parade, HGTV then debuts all of its new shows, including the current year’s new house giveaway. I’m not in the market for a new house. Nor am I much of a fixer-upper. I’m just curious about a lot of different things.
There are of course, holiday-themed movies, phone calls, and books to read in front of the fire, ensconced in my massive leather library chair with a mug of hot buttered rum. Oh, yes, and catnip.
How do you celebrate the New Year? I hope it’s as fulfilling as mine, because tomorrow it’s back to real life! Or maybe this is real life. Wouldn’t that be nice?