Apparently, people don't celebrate the New Year anymore. Not according to the stores in my town, anyway.
An exhaustive search for plates and napkins that read "Happy New Year," or even ones that just show balloons with streamers and confetti popping in celebratory fashion, has yielded nothing. No horns, no hats, no plastic champagne glasses with the bases that fall off when your hands are full, no spinning crank noisemakers, no nothing.
Well, that's not exactly true. I didn't find nothing.
At Walmart, there were two end caps holding a handful of items each mysteriously priced at $2.47. A single cardboard hat that doesn't say "Happy New Year?" $2.47. A bag of four colorful horns that also don't in any way reference the coming new year? $2.47. Two slightly larger horns with glittery outer coverings that also don't speak to the purpose of the occasion? $2.47. So, if we want each of the thirty or so people who will gather at our house tomorrow night to have one cardboard had and one horn a piece, it will cost us approximately $100, and probably an extra 47 cents.
Other stores in the neighborhood weren't any more helpful. Harris Teeter barely had colored plates and napkins, forget about anything with a party theme. Lowe's Foods was equally barren of supplies, and the Rite Aid next door to it was already hawking Valentine's Day.
That left one store, the reliable store, the dependable store that always has what the other stores have already eliminated from their shelves. When in doubt, Dollar Tree.
But even Dollar Tree when I entered the store was in the process of repurposing the shelves that hold the seasonal fare. Remnants of Christmas baubles and bangles on the feature wall gave me hope I might still find New Year's items somewhere in the store. When I asked the young woman where I could find such things she gave me a look, pointed toward an end cap a little distance behind me, and grunted. I like to think she grunted. Otherwise, it was just gas escaping.
Unfortunately for me, had I been able to speak her language I would have understood her grunt to mean they no longer had any New Year's bric-a-brac in stock, but I was welcome to choose from the colorful Mardi Gras supplies. I returned home with red Solo plates, red Harris Teeter napkins, and red Walmart styrofoam dessert plates. I suppose next year I need to start my New Year's supply shopping between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
In the end, the important thing isn't what kind of plates or napkins we use, but instead the fact that we will usher in the new year surrounded by good friends. Happy New Year to all my friends and blog readers!
© 2011 Mark Feggeler