It was the day after Christmas and apparently my Christmas-loving husband had decided it was time for the tree to come down. Even though I’m slightly Christmas-averse, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the needles and the lights and the ornaments.
‘Could you cut the top off?’ I asked Clark Griswold, ‘I might make a New Year’s tree.’ This innocent declaration provoked a lot of questions about how tall did I want my New Year’s tree to be. Which was ridiculous because I hadn’t given it any thought.
Really, I’d seen a picture on a blog of some branches in a pot with a few gingerbread cookies dangling from said branches and I’d thought, casually, ‘we should make a cookie tree for Christmas.’ And guess what, that never happened. But I do like cookies and the Hen still talks about the cookie ornaments I made last Christmas (really, he talks about how he ate all the cookie ornaments even though they were stale and gross and possibly laden with bacteria).
So I thought ‘why not make a cookie tree for New Year’s?’ But then five more days passed and we had this unadorned miniature tree hanging out in the kitchen; looking embarrassingly out of place.
And then it was New Year’s Eve and the professor made chocolate chip cookies, so it seemed very imprudent to make more cookies with more butter when we’d already plowed through three batches of peppermint bark and a [small] batch of sugar cookies. ‘Salt dough ornaments!’ I thought to myself. The look of cookie ornaments….but without any of that annoying deliciousness.
With less than ten hours before 2012 turned into 2013, I whipped up a batch of dough, rolled it out, and made two dozen snowflakes, stars, hearts and letters. I baked them, pulled out the gold glitter and Elmer’s glue, and Ta-Da: ‘New Year’s Ornaments.’
I’d seen Anna Karenina the day before and had visions of recreating the elaborate paper garlands decorating Levin’s country house, which undoubtedly took some paper artist weeks to execute. So I settled for making snowflakes out of cupcake liners. It took five minutes.
And, before we watched our family movie for the night, I implored the other Johnsons to consider their goals for 2013 and write them on a little square of white paper which I tied up with string.
Asking a three year old and a five year old to come up with ‘goals’ for the ‘new year’ is somewhat akin to speaking to them in French. Still, I dutifully recorded all that Percy told me when I asked him to tell me what he wanted to do in the New Year: ‘eat snacks, watch movies, watch TV, play wii.’
Actually, maybe the boy is on to something: make a list of things you enjoy doing, things you are almost certain to do. Then, even if you don’t manage to do them, you’re unlikely to feel remorse. Unless, I suppose, you’re the kind of person who feels guilty about not ‘eating snacks.’