I have many plans for this year, and in order to give myself as much support as possible, I adhered–as best as I could–to the Scottish New Year’s tradition of “first footing”. According to this custom, whoever enters a house first upon the New Year determines its fortune in the coming months, and the preferable “first footer” is a tall dark man. All women are (of course) unlucky, and fair-haired men equally so, perhaps out of a long-held fear of Viking invaders. Unfortunately for my household, only two people were in a position of entry after midnight last night: myself (a woman) and my husband (a fair-haired man, of Swedish descent, even more problematic). My stepson is not with us for this weekend, and as he’s equally fair-haired he would not be much help. I thought of pushing some dark-haired neighbor over the doorstep at midnight (this is no doubt what the Scots do), but instead decided to over-compensate with the lucky gifts that the first-footer should bring into the house: bread (or the alternative shortbread or fruitcake), whiskey, coal, salt, and coins. Just one of these gifts should suffice, but I fixed up a basket with all of them for extra luck, and we carried it over the doorstep when we came back from our New Year’s Eve party.
Hope it works! Good luck to everyone in the New Year.