Holidays · Traditions

I Can Count on the Smoke

New Year’s Eve is upon us. For some, it means an excuse to party until midnight and beyond, for others a deadline for making those pesky resolutions, or even a last day to make good on the ones made this past year.

For my family, for many years, we have burned paper.

We aren’t pyromaniacs, I swear. This is a very intentional burning of paper and something I’ve come to look forward to every year. About a quarter til midnight, we get two slips of paper each: me, my partner, one of my best friends, and her partner, also a close friend of ours. My daughter may be able to join us next year, if she can stay up long enough.

On one slip is written one thing we want to let go from the prior year.

On the other we write one wish for the next.

And then at midnight, we fold them carefully and toss them into the fire. Usually this is in our wood stove at home, but this year we will be away from home and it will be a different fireplace. No matter, the smoke will carry our missives away and into the ether; to go wherever they are meant to go and we will know that someone or something, somewhere, knows.

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