Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Time . . .

The Chinese gold fish looks apprehensive . . .

The Starfish Sunbather seems to say "Oh, nooo!"

Even this Peruvian Holy Family seems worried about the coming change.

But I'm unmoved. It's the last day of the year and, in keeping with family tradition that says the tree must be out of the house before the New Year or there'll be bad luck, I'm dutifully un-decorating and getting it out the door.

In the kitchen the black eyed-peas are cooking for the Hoppin' John, and the collards are simmering with the hog jowl. More folk magic for good luck in the coming year.

With all the help I had getting the tree decorated, I missed saying hello to some of my favorite ornaments . . . but now, as I slowly disassemble the tree, I get to enjoy each one even as I pack them away.

This goat came from the Carl Sandburg house in Flat Rock -- did you know that his wife Lillian was an acclaimed goat breeder and a small herd of goats is still on the property? The goat carries a lot of memories -- I bought in when I was in Flat Rock at a literary festival and it was there that I met Sharyn McCrumb and Tony Early.

Another goat -- a Scandinavian Yule goat-- and another pagan survival -- like the Christmas tree itself.

This patchwork ornament is new this year, a gift from my sister-in-law Fay -- just look at that embroidery and those sequins! And the donkey is new as well -- from Claui's folks in honor of our own Kate the Donkey.

It's always hard, putting these pretties away -- but then it's always such a pleasure to rediscover them when next Christmas rolls around.

See you next year!

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Victoria said...

Not in my house! We leave the tree up until January 6th, so we can celebrate the full twelve days of Christmas. I don't have a real tree though, so there isn't the fire danger (knock on wood).

Happy New Year!

Pat in east TN said...

It's always hard to take the tree down even though I'm amazed at how big my living room is when it's gone! HA!

Happy New Year to you and yours Vicki!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I too think it's a bit sad when you take down the tree and say good-bye to old friends who've graced your tree for years. It's hard for me to let go.

I hope you and your family have a healthy and happy new year. We're having black-eyed peas too.

Carol Murdock said...

Happy New Year Vicki ! :)

Tammy said...

Starfish Sunbather? Who would have thought? :-) One thing about it, I never know what I'll see on your blog from day to day.. Rosemary in a river...sunbathers on the Christmas tree..... ;-)
I didn't put one up this year..with four kittens in the house it just seemed like a recipe for disaster. Hope you have a great New Year! I'll start the black eyed peas cooking tonight.

Vicki Lane said...

I know lots of folks who leave the tree up till the 6th. And some others who take it down Christmas afternoon.

The great thing is to have a plan . . .

Tess Kincaid said...

Well, you know, I can leave mine up til Ground Hog's Day, if I want! ;^)

Warm, woolly wishes for a wonderful 2010, Vicki~!

Vicki Lane said...

Actually, I have a friend who leaves hers up all year.

Wouldn't work with a real tree -- though my husband remembers seeing, at a friend's house in April, the Christmas tree surrounded by a pile of brown needles and the ornaments and tinsel all forlorn on the bare branches ...

Vicki Lane said...

Tammy, that was probably a smart decision. Besides, four kittens are a celebration in themselves!

Starfish Sunbather used to have girlfriend in a lurid pink bikini but she dove off the tree last year and went all to pieces. They were gifts from a friend who has an eye for silly stuff.

Miss_Yves said...

Very interesting ! I'd never heard of these customs ! (the christmas tree, the goat )
We always keep our christmas tree till the end of January !(it stays because of my birthday and my feast day )
My husband plants it at the end of january on the garden . (So We've got three fir tree)

The Eiffel tower will be colored by beautiful effects lights . No fireworks .
However, there are fireworks for Christmas in some towns , it's a new fashion ...

Happy new year!

Eliane Zimmermann said...

thank you fort the good wishes, dear vicky, and the same to you and your family! have a lucky and dynamic year of the tiger 2010. it will only start in february but as the Japanese translation of one of my books is due in a few days i feel kind of japaneze and chinese!!!! cheers from ireland eliane

ps in my husbands home region black forest near the swiss border it is a very strict tradition that you remoive the christmas tree only after those 12 special night after the 24th, i.e. after the 6th. strange, how supersticion and tradition works. do they all have bad luck? i don't think so. so we are still with the tree which kitten lance, who is nearly a grown-up garfield knocked down only once.

Vicki Lane said...

We have one fir in the yard that was a Christmas tree about thirty years ago, Miss Yves. It is very, very tall now. But as we live in an area where Christmas tree growing is a common way to make a living, we usually buy a fresh cut tree.

Different customs, from country to country, even from family to family. What's good luck for me is bad luck for someone else.

I was surprised to see over on Rusen's blog that they (though they're Muslim) put up decorated trees to celebrate New Year's.

Of course, the decorated tree wasn't a Christian invention. But it's evidently very appealing to lots of folks.

Vagabonde said...

This is the first comment I write this new year and I am pleased it is to your blog. I just read your past posts and admired all your pretty snowy pictures. And yes, count me in please.
Since the kitchen floor will be removed next Monday we spent most of yesterday and today packing china from the hi boy and cleaning the top of the fridge and stuff like that – not fun. I had not gone to the store but had everything on hand to make hoppin John – did not have collards or turnip greens but I had a cabbage. For Christmas I was given “A love affair with Southern Cooking” by Jean Anderson and in it she had a quick skillet cabbage recipe, which I did, with variation – I added garlic and fresh rosemary. I went well with the hopping john – I hope it will be as lucky. Speaking of luck I wish you a year filled with lucky dreams, days, events, happenings and much happiness. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Vicki Lane said...

Cabbage with rosemary and garlic sounds delicious, Vagabonde! I'm sure it will be just as lucky -- the green leaves are for green folding money in your packet in the New Year!

No fun, packing up the kitchen -- but heaven knows I need to do a similar thorough deconstruction and rearrangement of ours.

Counting you in!