There's something a little sad about taking down the Christmas tree. All that extra glitz and flash of the holiday lights and decorations disappears when the tree goes out the door, leaving a thick trail of brown needles on the floor behind us. We took down Lin's tree today. We de-decorated.
All the ornaments were carefully wrapped and packed away till next year. All the lights came off and we tried our best to keep them in some order, so the untangling episode of this year would be minimized at Christmas 2014.
It was an ordeal trying to lift the 6-foot tree out of the tree stand without spilling the water and then dragging the bare tree on a tarp out of the house, down the deck stairs and out to the woods.
No matter how hard we scour each branch of the tree, there is always one ornament hiding. We assume it doesn't want to be packed away. This year it was the pickle.
Lin has a tradition, however, of cutting up the tree and burning it in the chiminea. It symbolizes saying goodbye to 2013 (good riddance, we say) and beginning to prepare for the new year ahead. Since 2013 was not a particularly good year for us, I was pleased to be participating in her ritual. So on a cold, gray day, we cut up the tree and sipped hot cider and rum while watching the remnants of 2013 blaze up and swirl away in smoky, sparking clouds.
As we say goodbye to the Christmas tree and 2013, a little reminder that First Foot Day is celebrated on New Year's Day in several countries including Greece and Scotland. The first person to set foot in your home (or on your boat maybe?) after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day is thought to bring good luck. It's not usually a resident family member and the person cannot be in the house at the stroke of midnight. The visitor usually brings some traditional gifts like bread, a coin and perhaps some whiskey or wine signifying that you'll have enough to eat, drink and spend for the upcoming year.
Start the First Foot tradition by spreading the word in advance and then visiting friends and neighbors with the traditional gifts to insure their good luck in 2014.
And lest we forget ... on the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Six shiny shackles
Five I miss you's
Four galley updates
Three e-mailed errands
Two bigger duffels
And a Christmas morning greeting on Skype