We decided that in light of some bad news we received this week, combined with the after-Christmas blahs, we should have a little family celebration on New Year’s Eve. Sean and I didn’t feel at all like celebrating, and it was hard to put our sadness aside and try to move forward in hope, but we did it nonetheless. We had a special dinner, and I decorated the playroom in secret for the littles. We watched a movie together and hopefully started a new tradition.
The ritual part is out of a great book called “Celebrating the Seasons” which has ideas for celebrating many festivals throughout the year. I made a pool out of a container lid and lined it with tinfoil. At the bottom were rocks from our nature table and spread throughout were small pine boughs from our Christmas Tree. (We put our tree in the backyard (“planted” in the snow) so we can enjoy it for longer and have a bonfire in the spring.)
Out of walnut shell halves I made tiny boats with birthday candles as masts. There was a boat for each person, and we all took our turns lighting our candle boats and floating them gently on the water while we shared our blessings for the year past and hopes for the year to come.
When each boat landed, the sailor of the boat chose a slip of paper off the edge of the pool, and went on a treasure hunt for their hidden treasure.
Each little got a paper bag with a couple of treats, some sparklers (the highlight of the evening) and a simple beaded bracelet.
It was a tangible quiet moment together as a family to welcome in the New Year and bid farewell to moments gone by.
After India and Mattea were in bed, Sean and I went back downstairs and lit some candles for people that have died that have in some way been significant to us or to our family and friends.
We floated the candles on the water and sat quietly for a few minutes. Elijah joined us and I explained what we were doing and he sat for a quiet cuddle as we watched the candles on the water and honoured those that have left the world. There was holiness there, in that moment.