The year ahead
AS a celebration, I increasingly find New Year’s Eve slightly unsatisfactory. It’s not just that I begin to feel less uncritically optimistic about what the next year might offer (although that’s probably true). Rather, it’s because it falls in the midst of holidays and feels superfluous to their enjoyment.
Instead, therefore, I like to focus on Twelfth Night as the moment of transition from one year to the next. It’s an evening on which there’s no obligation to socialise and, as is the case this year, falls just after the return to work. As such, it simultaneously softens the blow of the holiday’s end and gives opportunity for one last, homely hurrah before Christmas is finally over.
At the end of dinner, we strip the whole house of all its Christmas decorations. Looking over the bare surfaces and clear walls, it’s then possible to savour the return to normality and focus the mind on the year ahead. To help the prospect, in our house, there is always a Galettes de Rois. In this gift, Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior— whether you regard them as Kings, Wise Men or merest fantasy—offer a much more enjoyable way of squaring up to the future than waiting for the chimes of Big Ben. JG