The Rose Parade and Other New Year’s Things

Well, it’s a ridiculously beautiful day here in So. Cal, and I’m sitting here watching the Rose Parade on TV, even though it’s only about 50 miles away from us. You’d think I’d manage to get there one of these years. In years past, I’ve actually collected my family into the car and forced them to drive up to Pasadena after the Rose Parade, when all the floats are on display on Colorado Boulevard. They line them up in rows, and you pay a little admission fee (I think it’s $7 per adult nowadays) and you can wander the aisles and look at the floats up close. I used to go when I was a child, with Ann Marie and her family (when admission was probably a quarter). And even though we were just two giggly 11-year-olds, I recall being truly flabbergasted at seeing the floats up that close: The painstaking work involved at lining little fennel seeds up in 48 rows just to make an eyeball iris is absolutely stunning.

Anyway, I keep dragging my family up there, not to see the actual parade but to see the floats afterward – I don’t know if I just want to recreate the wonder I experienced as a child, or (like Ann Marie’s mom) do my kids the favor of introducing them to amazing work of people with flowers. But the point is, we never quite make it. One year, we got there when the gates had just closed. Another year, we got there and walked up to the gate to pay our little admission fee, only to find that it was “full.” And still another year, we didn’t make it all the way there because the freeway near Colorado Blvd. had turned into a temporary parking lot. All three times my husband (Superman) appeased me by taking me to Boston Market and not saying a word when I ordered a super-size, super-calorie slab of sweet potatoes. (Thank you, honey, for not saying a word!) In fact, in subsequent years, my kids would tease me and ask me if we were going to do our annual 2-hour New Year’s trek to Pasadena to go to Boston Market (as if there weren’t one down the street).


I think I’ve given up. Or maybe I just need a better plan. Maybe that should have been one of my New Year’s resolutions. … hmmm … but who wants to get turned away at the gate and have your very first resolution failed just hours into the new year, right? So no. That one’s not going on my list. I’ll just have to have a quiet little success with that one, one of these years. …


Anyway, do you have one of those holiday-related traditions you wish you could do? You know, the ones that seem so simple, but you can’t seem to incorporate them into your life? I think I’d also have to add “making a gingerbread house” to that list. …

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0 thoughts on “The Rose Parade and Other New Year’s Things

  1. I remember those trips and I vow to get you in those gates, Laurie! We’ll get there one day…Or get fat on Boston Market food trying!!!!!

  2. As a kid from southern New Jersey, the Rose Parade was always out of reach – just something we saw on television and I can’t imagine seeing the floats close up. But I understand completely why the desire to see them again strikes you every year.

    Holidays are funny things. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to recreate the Christmases I knew as a child, trying to capture the magic I knew back then. I listen to Big Band Christmas music because it has the version of Jingle Bells that I remember my parents playing. I long for cold weather (hit or miss now that we live in Virginia) and desperately wish for snow (which was a long shot even in New Jersey.) I cook the turkey in one of those big black roasting pans, having first used that same pan to make the stuffing, the way my Dad did. I’ve spent a fortune buying the 1950’s Christmas decorations I remember – the carolers and reindeer candles (thank you Vermont Country store) and the candy that was in my stocking. The barley pops – lollipops in the shape of toys – remain one of my favorites but I also like the ribbon candy. One taste, and I’m seven years old again.

    In the end, however, although the holiday is always enjoyable, recreating the past is an exercise in futility. Christmas really is for children, the one thing I could never have and there’s not much point in traditions if there’s no one to pass them on to. Oh, I’m not sorry for the way my life has turned out – it’s actually wonderful (thank you Johnny!) and I have always trusted God to lead my life where it should be. These days, I do Christmas for my Mom, who is 82 and in some ways, more child-like than ever. She loves Christmas and we enjoy making it a happy holiday for her.

    Don’t give up on that Rose parade trek! If nothing else, you’ve created memory of the trips up there for your own children. Happy New Year!

  3. Laurie,

    I’m so glad those memories are as close to your heart as mine! Holidays are a funny thing and it really is difficult to recreate those memories with your own families, especially with how much times have changed! One thing that remains the same is the magic of family togetherness. Even with one teenager and a pre-teen, our family still manages to steal these little moments of time during the holidays. Maybe it’s because we don’t have all of the other pressures pressing on us, homework, soccer, car-pool, etc. or maybe it’s just because the magic of the season touches us in a way that can’t be overshadowed by all the everyday distractions of our hectic lives. Whatever the reason, I am eternally grateful for these moments much as I am for my own magical memories. Thank you for reminding me and thanks for being a part of them!

  4. Thanks, Jersey Girl! Traditions are great for everyone of all ages, I believe. There’s something so comforting in that feeling of “coming around again.”

  5. New Years Day and the Rose Parade….don’t they go hand in hand? My memory, every year I was blessed with Gramma Sipka was how much she loved any parade, but especially the Rose Parade. I remember watching it with her and after moving out on my own, calling her during the parade to make sure she was watching. Now that she is gone, one of my yearly tributes/rememberances of her is not to miss the Rose Parade.

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