Just Frances

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Sharing my New Year’s traditions

This entry was posted on Monday, December 30th, 2019 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: stubborn, running, olden days, ocd, happy, friends, food, expat, entertainment, drink, crazy, confession, celebrations

I am allowing someone to enter into my little holiday bubble this year. She’s an American PhD student who is “fresh off the boat”, so I extended the invitation with the caveat that she is invited over to share in my traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations. That’s not to say that I won’t begrudgingly happily make amendments to my “normal” celebrations, rather it means that I am not interested in doing something completely different. (Like a party or a drunken whatever.)

In fact, my invitation was prefaced by telling her what my traditions are, and an offer for her to join in on the boringness excitement of it all. (Note: I accept that others won’t think it’s exciting, but I really look forward to my traditions.) And as luck would have it, my idea of a great New Year’s Eve is very much in line with her idea of a great way to spend New Year’s Eve – right down to the fact that there is no obligation or expectation of staying up to see in the New Year.

My New Year’s Eve day begins with a series of activities (the order changes): Going for a run, cleaning the house, changing the bedding and linens, and a list of other similar activities, all designed with clearing our from one year to better ring in the next one.

Once the “chores” are done, I relax with a soak in the tub (with a full “home spa” treatment, including a facial and hair mask) then I light the fire and set out a spread of lovely food (caviar, cheese board, crisps and dip, cured meats, olives, and a bit of fresh fruit) and I open a bottle of my best fizz (this year it’s a bottle of Taittinger that my dear friend, Harry, and his wife gave me for my PhD graduation). Next up, I settle in front of the fire to watch The Godfather (at least Part I, maybe Parts II and III) to watch whilst I feast. During the movie(s), I give myself a pedicure and manicure (must start the New Year with fresh claws so that I’m ready for battle!) and I do a bit of personal journaling to reflect on the current year whilst making note of my hopes and plans for the year to come. And then, just before I go to bed, I enjoy a wee nip of whisky.

If timed right, I am in bed at a decent time (maybe even before midnight!) and I won’t have had too much to drink. This is the important part, because that allows me to wake up bright and early on New Year’s Day (without a hangover) so that I can go for a run to start off the year. And then, it’s off to climb a hill before finishing up any of the lovely food and fizz that remains from “last year”.

Anyhow, when I invited my guest, she seemed to be onboard for my plans, and quite likes the idea of us “ignoring each other together”. It has been suggested that she brings her comfiest of pyjamas and any books or journaling materials she might want for the evening. I will, of course, provide all of the food and drink. And the facemasks and nail polish, in case she wants to participate in the luxury of the evening.

The thought of sharing my solo traditions is a tad bit unsettling, especially as most of them are a evolution from the RyanCentric traditions I used to share with my late husband. But at least I am sharing the traditions with someone who (I think/hope) will appreciate them. And if it turns out that I am such a feral human that sharing my world is a horrific experience, I will just be sure to never offer up my solitude again! (I don’t think it will be horrific; I just think it will be weird because I am not used to sharing my life!)

I know it sounds odd, but I am proud of myself for having the courage to invite someone to share in my tradtions. And I really hope that she enjoys this little window into my world.

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