4 hours ago
Tuesday, December 29
Most of my little celebrations are just me and the pets. Back when my first husband was in graduate school, we had many friends (I thought), and Twelfth Night was loads of fun, with loads of company.
But don't let the lack of comrades stop your enjoyment of holidays or events! Enjoy them yourselves. Draw memories of good times to yourself, and enjoy.
For Twelfth Night, lay in a goodly supply of nuts to crack, especially walnuts, and make a batch of spiced cider or wassail. If you have the money, get some little pots of ivy to place around the den, or get any houseplants, really.
If you can, have a smorgasbord: Cheese, meats, crackers, boiled eggs, carrot sticks, dip, jams. I have fake meats, but you don't have to go veggie if you don't want to.
If you can, have a fire built in your fireplace. Have it burning brightly once it's dark out. Twelfth Night is a LONG party - it goes to past midnight. If you have no fireplace, and you can SAFELY do so, have a bunch of candles lighted, preferably up high so no one is endangered. If you are having a bonfire, get it ready. If you have no access to actual fire, play one of the fireplace videos on your laptop!
During the evening, before the stroke of midnight, feed the old greenery, twigs, cinnamon sticks, etc. from Christmas into the fireplace or bonfire, while snacking and talking. If you have a bonfire, I'd suggest throwing it all on at one go, and getting back inside and get warm. If you are lucky enough to have some teens at your fest, they will probably be "firebugs" and love to keep going outside and throwing things onto the bonfire.
If you are inside and have access to the fireplace, it's fun to throw the things into the fire a bit at a time. My favorite thing to throw in is a pinecone. If I bought cinnamon cones before Christmas, I throw them, too, since the scent's gone.
Now, Twelfth Night is not for the faint of heart. It's a time for telling ghost tales and odd happenings. In olden days, so was Christmas Eve, don't you know. So let your tongue run freely as to strange sights and olde stories (I have a million such), and if the feeling moves you, tell some new tales that pop into your mind. The key is to tell tales of wondrous happenings without being gruesome or awful - kind of like the "Sleepy Hollow" story.
As midnight nears, continue to crack open the nuts and eat them, throwing the shells into the fire. Pop popcorn and salt it well for luck. Talk of the year ahead, and sing olde songs. Remember olde times and olde friends and don't let the fire go out before midnight.
Now, remember the broom you bought a few days back? Well, get it ready. Get your OLD broom ready, too. At midnight, you are going to THROW that old broom out your back door, bristles first. That broom is now your "yard broom" and its indoor days are over. It took last year's regrets and errors with it. Out they went. Take your NEW broom and draw it thrice across the front door threshold, drawing in luck.
If you have guests, give each a bag of salt (luck) and a bag of walnuts (representing gold nuggets) to take with them as they leave.
I often stay up most of the night, just dozing on the couch.
If you can't manage Twelfth Night, don't worry: CANDLEMAS is another very olde celebration. It has you taking down all decorations by February 1st, and runs much the same way as Twelfth Night, but with even more plants to be placed around in anticipation of spring.
Tomorrow I will post some New Year's tags. Forward!