Bringing in the New Year
One of the things I like best about the holidays is the symbolism. From the star on the top of the Christmas tree to the menorah of Hanukkah, it’s the symbols that remind us that there are things in this world larger than ourselves. One of those symbols is our home. Our home is the place where we gather with our families, share our burdens, our successes, and it’s the stage where our lives play out. I guess that’s why home has always been so important to me, and why I think of our spaces as living spaces.
Because of this, the New Year is an important symbolic time in our family. I make a special effort to bring the house back to its original state, taking down decorations before ringing in the New Year. In fact, I have quite a list of preparations that I go through each New Year because these activities remind me that we’re at the dawn of another opportunity to begin anew, and I like to bring my house into the New Year with a fresh start, too.
Here is my personal list of New Year’s household preparations that I hope you enjoy.
Out with the old
1. De-clutter as much as possible.
Clean out old magazines, food, clothing, and anything that hasn’t been used or is broken.
2. Clean the floors.
Get the old energy out by vacuuming and mopping the floors on New Year’s Eve.
3. Do the laundry. You don’t want to go into the New Year with dirty clothes hanging around. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom.
It only takes a few minutes and you won’t have a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life.
5. Empty all trashcans.
Get everyone to pitch in so last year’s trash isn’t hanging around.
6. Clean out the refrigerator.
You don’t want old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter.
Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere. Don’t forget the refrigerator. Make it a blank slate.
8. Clean up the yard.
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front doorstep is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels.
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen.
10.Take down the Christmas decorations.
This is the tough one. Most of us dread the New Year because we have to take all the decorations down. Make it a point to take them down two days before New Year’s Day. Then, you can go into the New Year without that mistletoe hanging over your head.
For everyone who thinks you can’t do it, just think how great you’ll feel when you wake up New Year’s Day and you don’t have all those decorations to put away. You could actually watch the Rose Parade. Trust me, you’ll never know how great New Year’s Day can be if you don’t have to haul the tree to the curb.
In with the New
To mark the new beginning, I make sure that the refrigerator and the pantry is stocked and that I have plenty of sweets and citrus around the house. The Chinese believe that oranges symbolize gold and good news and often roll them into the house at the lunar New Year. I buy a big bag of oranges and do this with my own kids. I also buy flowers or a new plant to greet the New Year to symbolize a healthy, lush start. Think about what you can do to symbolize a new prosperous beginning at your home.