Hooray for New Years!

Covid notwithstanding, I’m giddy about New Year’s weekend. We’re not going anywhere, there’s ample food in the fridge and the weather will have no effect on our plans. It will be a New Years of contentment.

This wasn’t always the case. Even as a kid I disliked the holiday. I watched Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with a friend or two eager for the night to end. New Year’s Day was a dud also. Places I might have visited, like the mall, were closed.

Since then, I’ve spent the 24 hours in question variously watching a “Columbo” marathon end to end, re-reading and then watching “Pride and Prejudice,” and best of all, re-watching both “Godfathers” in my pajamas. One year I did a fun run in Central Park. That was a rare enjoyable outing. When I married my not-a-party-kind-of-guy husband Larry, we settled into a do-nothing New Years routine.

This year, like last, many are keeping the festivities minimal. Covid is still calling the dance. So we decided this would be a great time to tackle something we should have done ages ago: a major declutter. It has proven far more gratifying than expected.  I for one don’t need Marie Kondo’s help to know that I will never use electric curlers and anything that says “As Seen on TV” on the box. We don’t need five phillips head screwdrivers, six picture hanging kits and four hammers, which Larry has amassed from his frequent trips to Home Depot. But somebody out there may need one.

A used-once crockpot was exiled years ago after my attempt at chicken stew “tasted like boiled linen,” Larry said. A variety of premium items, as they are known in the marketing trade—mugs with logos, never-worn tee-shirts for 5k finishers bearing the name of a bank, a tie gifted to Larry that he wouldn’t wear even if he wore ties (“Save it if we have to go to a funeral,” I advised him. “Jane, it has Mickey Mouse on it.”) and various impulse buys from TJ Maxx too embarrassing to mention—all are now available for adoption.

Clothes that will never fit, assuming they did in the first place, and perfectly good coats, scarves and hats will make someone happy—and warm. The chandelier that came with the house when we moved to Easton 17 years ago will pep up a dining room elsewhere. Spare sheets and towels are already at the animal shelter. We’re elated those things we no longer want may be useful and needed by others.

The other virtue of decluttering is that it has left no time to watch the news. We’ve successfully avoided the details of political rants, senseless shootings, and Ghislaine Maxwell. We’re happy doing something good for ourselves and for others and we’re damn lucky to have things to give away when there is so much need.

Yes, there are serious global problems which are troubling all of us. Easton is not immune. We aren’t likely to coalesce and find easy solutions; Washington is presently a zero-sum game. Larry and I care about the big challenges ahead, but sometimes small acts of kindness have the power to help heal the world as well.

All of us at the Courier wish you a healthy and safe holiday and a productive one if you are so inclined.

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