That new-car smell

It is hard to believe that we are just days away from starting a brand new year! On each Jan. 1st, we are given the opportunity to pause long enough to reflect, reset, and maybe do just a little better. There is that promise of a clean slate and a new start. Most of all, there is the recognition of potential and the hope for good things to come.

It is that same sensation you get when you see the light glinting off the newly waxed hallway floors on the first day of school, when you hear that cracking sound that a highly recommended book makes the first time you open it, when you feel your foot slip into a new pair of sneakers that are exactly the right fit, or when you taste your new favorite food for the very first time. A new year just has that life experience equivalent to a new-car smell, so climb in and enjoy the ride.

This past year feels like it has flown by at fast-forward speed. I hope everyone has had time to make their New Year’s Eve plans. If not, here are a few suggestions for you to incorporate into your celebrations. You can’t go wrong with eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day, but it wouldn’t hurt to layer on a few more lucky traditions.

In Denmark, they practice the unique and raucous fun of smashing dishes against their friends’ front doors. Your luck for the coming year is purported to be proportional to the size of the pile of broken crockery in front of your door on the morning of Jan. 1.

If you like all of your dishes and don’t want to break them, you could follow the example of Turkish residents by sprinkling salt on your threshold at midnight. This is done to welcome peace and prosperity.

Speaking of thresholds, in Scotland they follow the practice of “First Footing” which involves making sure that the first person to cross the threshold of your home after midnight is a dark-haired male carrying small gifts symbolizing good luck such as whiskey, salt, or coal. The Romanian spin on this is that luck is brought by having someone dressed as a bear enter your house.

There are several countries that take the “out with the old” concept quite literally. If you are walking, for example, in Italy on New Year’s Eve, you will need to dodge the old shoes, TVs, toys, refrigerators, etc. that people are chucking out their windows or off their balconies.

And by the way, you will want to put some thought into selecting your outfit for Dec. 31. Many countries attach significance to the color of underwear you are sporting that day. While it varies in different parts of the world, yellow typically signifies wealth, red represents romance, and green is associated with well-being.

Choose your underwear carefully, toss an old toaster out the window, and sprinkle salt liberally. May you enjoy a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year and may the new-car smell of 2022 never fade.