Friday, December 31, 2010


Deb: Don’t you love that New Year smell?! A brand new year ripe with possibility. It’s a
Champagne glasses with confetti and streamers
second chance to fix the bad things in your life and watch the good things blossom.

How long does it take for your New Year smell to wear off? If you break your resolution just once, do you still keep going or does it get bumped to next year’s crop?

Many people I know don’t even bother to make resolutions anymore. I do though and always will. Because succeed or fail at my intentions, I have to. For I am of Scottish descent. New Year’s is huge with my peeps. The Scots call it “Hogmanay” and to dyed-in-the wool Scots, it is more precious than Christmas. Certainly more important.

Scots do have the most devastating sense of humor. The Brits are hilarious too, but the Scots have something different. They are dark. Funny and tragic all at the same time. “Merry Go Sorry” is the expression that springs to mind, which means the height of hilarity and the depth of despair––all at the same time! This is what makes their humour so unique and this is what makes Hogmanay so important to them. It’s a time to laugh and celebrate and it’s a time to wallow. Oh how the Scots love to wallow. Their minds are never far from the grave. Anyone’s grave. Those who have died, those who are about to die, and the rest who will die eventually. Scots were the first people I ever knew who photographed the graves of loved ones. Yes, they did. They’d put it in their photo album and say, “Auchhh, there’s ooour wee Jamie” and “Accchhhh, that was a cold day when we buried ooooorrrr Meg.”

The Scots love an opportunity to wallow. And there is no better time to have a good wee wallow than Hogmanay. And conversely the Scots are second to none at celebrating and welcoming the New Year!

Traditionally the New Year’s celebration starts with something called “First Footing”, and it gets its name from the first person who crosses your threshold after 12 midnight. The most desired “first footer” is a tall dark man (let’s face it, isn’t that what everyone wants?!!!) A redhead first footer could mean chaos and uncertainty in your new year. When the first footer enters your home, they bring a gift to mark the first footing. Salt was an old tradition, but now it varies from whisky to a black bun (a very rich fruit cake) intended to bring luck to the householder. The party begins after the first footing and goes until the morning when the guests are treated to a sumptuous breakfast before leaving. However, many Hogmanay celebrations go into the 2nd of January, which is a bank holiday. In the modern world, the whole of January is filled with these New Year’s celebrations in Scotland.

So, although it is a universal “out with the old, in with the new”, it is never thus with those of us of Scottish heritage. Hogmanay is a time to hold in our hearts those who have gone before us and to conjure up memories of years past when we all celebrated Hogmanay together, laughing, eating, and holding each other so dear.

And I will do the same as I have done every year and my heart will soar with joy and sink with melancholy, and at the stroke of midnight we will kiss and salute the New Year and sing. And on the last verse we will clasp crossed arms ... and remember.

circa 1786:  Scottish poet Robbie Burns (1759 - 1796) in his cottage composing 'The Cotter's Saturday Night'.   Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, the son of a farmer. In 1786 he published 'Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect' with a view to raising funds to emigrate to the West Indies. The success of the volume induced him to stay. He married Jean Armour, the mother of his children in 1788. Burns farmed at Ellisland until 1791 and also worked for the Excise Service to supplement his income. Most of his later literary work consisted of songs and he wrote many of his most famous works for 'A Collection of Original Scottish Airs'  which included 'Auld Lang Syne', 'A Red, Red Rose' and 'Scots Wha Hae'. Burns died on July 21st 1796. His life and work are celebrated on Burns Night, 25th January.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Writer Robbie Burns
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guide-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Barbara: Auchhh, Deb, I want a wee New Year’s celebration like your Hogmanay. It sounds like just the perfect way to honour the past and look ahead to the future, while merrying it up in the present like nobody’s business.

When it comes to celebrating New Year’s, we’re usually of the “less is more” variety. Usually it’s just a few close friends (Deb and Colin as often as not—although not this year as relatives on both sides take center stage), eating a cozy meal, playing games like Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit, then getting in jammies sometime after the champagne and playing some more. We’ve tried the fancy shindigs—which are schmancy and all––but they don’t fit us quite as well as the intimate tête-a-têtes in our own home.

That said, there’s always a little resolution-ing going on. I like the idea of the clean slate and the new beginning and the boundless possibilities. As for a Hogmanay-type hootenanny, that sounds like the best of all worlds (minus the whole night of revelry, which sad to say, I am pretty unlikely to be able to manage anymore …. hmmm, could I ever?) Thanks, Deb, for pulling me into your Scottish tradition and making that celebration so very palpable and real.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne!

And let’s not forget our new acquaintance! Thank you for all your lovely Christmas wishes and for sharing your own festivities with us. See you bright and early in the New Year and for the whole of the year to come. May all your resolutions be merry and may your dreams come true! Happy New Year!

And for your viewing pleasure, here's an apropos New Year's card from Deb and gang!


  1. Deb and Barb, I am so glad I have you both in my life. I will celebrate that this New Year's. I usually don't even stay up long enough to officially bring in the new. I make no resolutions and traditionally I do accounting Jan 1. I close all my business dealings checkbooks and get ready to start the year with a clean book. I know anal right but it makes me happy. I watch a little of the Rose Parade some of the football and go to my neighbors for a feast. But most importantly I do accounting. My friend and family laugh at this but when taxes come in April I have relaxed since Jan 1. I try to stay in the present as I try to do always. Strange but true this day is a beginning and an ending all over checkbooks. Love to you and your families.

  2. Madge I think the accounting sounds great! Then you really do dive into the new Year with a fresh start. And after all,the rose parade and feast is in the mix too! Happy New Year to you m'darlin'.

  3. Sounds like you girls are going to have a fabulous New Years Eve!
    Hope your first footer is everything you hope for.

    2011 is destined to be better than 2010. Here's to a fresh start!

  4. Good to see you gals back! I've missed you.
    My NY's Eves for the past many years have been spent alone, or shall I say, the only person awake in the house. Hubby snoring, kids abed. Feeling I must be missing something, but knowing I'm not, not really. For *sure* I don't miss the community dances where every grody drunk wants to slobber on me at midnight! Blechhh!
    Tonight both my sons are home, so we'll watch the Air Farce NY's Eve special together and then the new Shrek, with popcorn and pop. Simple, but sweet. A typical "movie night" around here; not that rare, but always enjoyed.
    Have a good one, y'all!

  5. Yes, 2011 is gonna rock!!

    And, Kate, your cozy family New Year's sounds perfect to me. Grody-drunk-slobber: ewwwww.

  6. It's me and the kids tonight, watching movies and eating junk food (hubby has to work). But tomorrow we're getting together with friends to watch the Badgers play in the Rose Bowl (with more junk food). Happy New Year, ladies!

  7. Well, New Year's Eve is my birthday. I'm 38 today. Yup, I'm staring down the barrel at 40. I. Feel. Old. Tonight, my son and I'll head over to my best friend's house for a small gathering of families who'll stay up late nibbling on a table full of goodies, playing board games (we're viciously competitive at word games - no holds barred, hardcore Scrabble, Boggle, Keesdrow, etc.), Wii games, card games like Dutch Blitz (again, full contact and highly competitive LOL), and laughing. Oh, and R's sister is in town, and for my birthday, she's going to teach me how to bead an ear climber. New craftiness! Yeah!

    I rarely bother with resolutions because I'm cynical enough to realize that I'll still be fat and poor at the end of the year. I'm usually cranky about New Year's because a) I'm dealing with being a year older and b) it's got this bitter, weary sensation of, "Oh crap, here we go again." But, this time's is different. I'm making a resolution this year because heck if I'm going to reach 40 in 2 years with things sucking as badly as they have been in recent years. Nope. Nuh uh. Time. To. Kick. Some. Ass. Starting with my own.

    My resolution for 2011 is to get in the damn TARDIS! For those of you who aren't Whovians, let me explain. The TARDIS is Time And Relative Dimension In Space - a blue, British, wooden police public call box that's "bigger on the inside" in which The Doctor travels. The regeneration of The Doctor prior to the current one played by Matt Smith was The Doctor played by David Tennant (Oh my daaayum! I want to explore every inch of that man! I want to make him moan, gasp, and arch his back and, anyway, moving along...). Over the regenerations, The Doctor has had a variety of travelling companions. Tennant's Doctor had Rose, Martha, then Donna. But, Donna (played by Catherine Tate) could've been the companion before Martha. She had an adventure with The Doctor after he lost Rose (safely tucked away in a parallel universe), and he invited Donna to travel with him, but she chickened out and said no. When he told her goodbye, he told her, "Be magnificent." And, frumpy, common, dull Donna decided she would be. Later, it's revealed that Donna has always regretted her decision not to travel with The Doctor and has been tracking his appearances on Earth and waiting to catch up with him again. She ends up reuniting with him and being his companion after Martha departs.

    My resolution for this year is to get in the TARDIS - to be adventurous and not live in regret. To do and not to wait. In 2011, I'm going to be very selfish. Well, maybe selfish isn't the right word. Assertive? Ballsy? My resolution for 2011 is to talk myself INTO things rather than talking myself OUT OF them. To be daring. And, to demand a better life for myself. To quit wallowing. To be alive again. Or, as the lyrics of the fabulous song Proud by Heather Small say, "You could be so many people if you make that break for freedom."

    And, on a David Tennant/Catherine Tate note, here's a giggle to start your new year. This is one of my son's favorite things on all of YouTube:

    BTW, it's still my birthday for a few more hours. It's not too late to give me Tory Belleci. Please. That's one package I'd upwrap and play with A LOT.

  8. Yes 2011 is going to be a great year. I am so ready and so excited for it to start. Every year I do make a New Year's Resolution. I post it up on my wall so I can see it,and so everyone else can see it. I may not always stick to it but I do make one. So this year is no different. My New Year's resolution well one of them anyways,is to be a better me. For me that means,doing things and trying things that I have been too afraid to try,or that I have been to busy to try.It's kind of a weird resolution I know but it is something that I need to do. And this year I believe that I will finally make that goal. I love to celebrate and make New Years resolutions. I celebrate by going out with friends and family. I want 2011 to come in with a BANG,and what better way to do that then to be out and count down the New Year year with your family and friends.

    By the way Love the card. It's so pretty..I hope you all have an amazing 2011,I have a feeling this is going to be the best year yet.

  9. It's 11:27 here so it's 12:27 in Toronto so:


  10. omg, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RIGEL!!! I love that your birthday coincides with New Year's Eve -- and I LOVE your resolutions! May you achieve all of your dreams and more. I hope it was an awesome day and night for you and that the next year will continue in that vein unabated.

    Lyndsie, cheers to your resolutions. They are as beautiful and sweet as you.


  11. Oh, I loved reading about Hogmanay! It sounds wonderful! I enjoy a bit of wallow with my cheer myself... some reflection... and I ALWAYS make resolutions. I try to make them somewhat flexible so there isn't a sudden instant of 'broken' from which I can't return, but still with measurable markers. I never stick to them 100% but the years I make none, I do a lot worse than the years I meet 30% of my goals. Possibly it is my love of lists... (and crossing things off them)


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