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Bill Ellis: Traditions of Christmas and the new year

Jan. 11, 2013 @ 09:52 AM

We often think of traditions and resolutions being associated with another year. I also recall a tradition in our family being connected with Christmas.

Dad always bought a box of chocolate-covered cherries for Mom. I have kept that alive for the 57 years Kitty has been my wife. Mom always fried oysters for Dad’s breakfast on Christmas morning — the most delicious I have ever eaten.  

On New Year’s Day, Kitty cooked corned beef and cabbage for our supper. Where I grew up, there were three meals each day — breakfast, dinner and supper. I was taught to eat anything and everything on my plate.  

I read a copy of the Fruth Pharmacy “2013 January Coupon Book” and learned more about traditions and resolutions  —  all listed at the top of each page. Some were the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and the “Ball Drop” at Times Square, N.Y. Kitty and I always sit as close to each other as possible the last minute of the old year and the first minute of the New Year — close enough to end a year and begin another sealed with a kiss of love and devotion.

I read that the original ball that dropped at Times Square had only 100 lights on it, but the one dropped this year had more than 32,000 lights in the structure. Putnam County may keep the tradition of serving cornbread on the New Year that represents gold and wealth. Others are sure to serve ham on New Year’s Day. On that day, we watched the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade and the 99th Rose Bowl Game.

Fruitcake has always been a Christmas and New Year’s tradition as far back as I can recall. I’ll have a thin slice after each evening meal, with a hot cup of decaffeinated coffee, until it is all gone.

Raw cabbage on New Year’s Day represents new money to come and the cooked cabbage represents old money. It is believed that the concept of resolutions has been observed since 2000 B.C. and, I expect, broken every year.

I also read this in the Fruth Pharmacy 2013 Coupon Book, that 2013 is the 13th year of the third millennium and that it is the first year since 1987 to have four different digits. I have mentioned a few of many entries in that booklet.

Here are a few suggestions for the New Year that will help you be happier, wiser, healthier and more content with life.

1. Attend church every Sunday.

2. Sleep eight hours each night.

3. Drink eight glasses of water daily.

4. Give up alcoholic beverages and other narcotics and illegal drugs.

5. Read a book each week.

6. Get extra physical exercise each day.

7. If overweight, cut down on the size of your meals.

8. Begin each day with a non-sugar breakfast.

9. Daily read the Bible.  

10. Pray daily. God’s waiting to hear from you.

11. Eliminate profanity from your vocabulary.

12. Let someone know every day they are appreciated.

What good things should become a tradition for your family? Think about it and then make it work.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist who can be reached at P.O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560; phone 304-757-6089.