Now that the New Year is here, I'll do a little reflecting. Way back when I was a child, New Year's Day did not have any particular meaning for me. Perhaps it did for my parents and older siblings, but for me, it did not. To me, it was just another day on the calendar that trailed the Christmas holidays.
Sometimes, we had some leftover goodies from the holidays, but more often than not, the candies, fruits and nuts were long gone. Our little baby dolls and the boys' toys were still in pretty good condition, but the excitement of the holidays had waned once Christmas passed.
There may have been a calendar in our house, but if there was, I do not remember it simply because time and days and weeks and months did not have any particular significance to me. The first day of the year did not mean that much. Christmas was the highlight of my year, and I did not attach much importance to New Year's Day. Its arrival was more of a mental transition than a physical one. As we would sometimes say, “It’s just more of the same."
My childhood New Year's Day was nothing like Christmas. There was nothing really exciting about it. The only way we somewhat livened up the day was if we had leftover fireworks. If we had shot them all up during the holidays, if my dad had some extra change, he’d buy more fireworks so we could celebrate the New Year in style. Sometimes he would “shoot” the old year out and the New Year in … providing he was awake at midnight. Otherwise the day came in without much fanfare.
If the first day of the year fell on a Sunday, it was a church day, but if it fell on any other day of the week, including Saturday, it was a work day – with nothing too exciting about that.
My parents may have made resolutions, but we youngster really had no reason to do so. We did not have a lot we were looking forward to, so New Year’s Day was just another day on the calendar. In other words, we simply turned over a “new leaf,” so to speak.
But there is something I do remember that we did as older teens. The first time we saw our friends after the New Year, we would say, “Hey girl, how are you? I haven’t seen you since last year.” And we’d burst out laughing. Well, it was true, because if we saw anyone on December 31 and then saw them even the next day, it had been “last year” since we saw them. It sounded funny, but that was our standard greeting to anyone we saw after the first day of the year.
I must admit that even though it would be another 364 days in coming, on New Year’s Day, I thought more about Christmas than about that present day. That’s because my mind was still stuck on Christmas. But the first of the year gave me a chance to start, mentally, crossing off the days until the year would finally be gone, but be that as it may, that was back then and long ago, but for now, it is a new year, so Happy New Year!
Photo: iStockphoto.com/Natanael Ginting