From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering New Year’s Day
In those days when I was growing up on the ranch, we didn’t have people in for New Year’s Day — not that I remember anyway. We did celebrate the beginning of the new year with a nice dinner which probably consisted of roast beef, potatoes and gravy, and all the trimmings. During the day, perhaps dinner, we talked about our hopes for the year and made our resolutions, which we might have kept to ourselves.
The big “deal” for New Year’s Day was taking down the Christmas tree. Though we usually trimmed the tree a day or two before Christmas, there was always the concern that it would dry out and become a fire hazard. Whatever the reason, it was a sad day for us kids. After all, we had waited and waited for Christmas.
So while Mom cooked us a nice dinner, we girls dragged out the Christmas decoration boxes and carefully packed everything in them to wait for the next year. It was like saying goodbye to our favorite ornaments. Among our favorites were the large white reindeer with their majestic antlers and the smaller brown reindeer. We had a Rudolph, too, and some colorful birds that were hung by pushing spaces between their feet on the branches.
We put the glass ball decorations back into the spaces of their original cardboard boxes. Mom had brought some old decorations from her family home, and some of them were very delicate. I especially remember a bunch of glass grapes. Some of these decorations were packed in a metal bucket with a lid.
There were handmade decorations that we kids had made at school over the years. They were packed in the boxes, too. The tree lights, with large bulbs, were wound up. The garland was bunched up and put on top of the other decorations. We saved as much tinsel as we could, putting it back in its box. Last came newspaper that was laid on top of each decoration box before the lid was fastened.
Taking the tree out of the house wasn’t easy because we didn’t have a very big house and there was a lot of furniture in the way, but it was messier than bringing the tree inside. There were needles to clean up, and since the tree had been in water, there were wet spots all over the floor.
Outside, we stood the tree up in some snow where it would be used for hanging suet and other treats for the birds. Somehow that made it easier to give up our Christmas tree.
The boxes of decorations were carried upstairs to a storage area, the living room furniture was put back in place, and the needles were cleaned up. Now my sisters and I faced January, a whole cold, snowy month without a holiday — not until Valentine’s Day.
No matter. We had our Christmas toys, dolls and doll clothes, games, books, paper dolls and more. We listened to radio programs, too, especially the cowboy shows that aired in the daytime hours. There was sledding, fort building, snowball fights, and a lot more, both at school and at home.
Best wishes for your New Year’s Day and for the coming year.
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On a summer morning in southern Idaho, the day breaks early, before 6 a.m. The air is stale, never fully cooled from the heat of the day before.