Setting the Tone for 2012: Our New Year’s Day Tradition

Someone said something really interesting to me on New Year’s Eve:

“The way you choose to spend New Year’s Day sets the tone for the upcoming year.”

I really took that sentiment to heart, and thought deeply about the New Year’s Day tradition I’ve had with my husband Joe for the last several years. 

Our tree for 2011: ‘ohi‘a lehua


Each year, we plant our Christmas tree together in a little ceremony, with our (and sometimes our friends’) handwritten wishes planted in the ground underneath. The tree is always native to Maui, and the very first tree was planted at our wedding, which was not New Year’s Day, but Valentine’s Day. Ever since, we’ve continued the tradition on New Year’s Day.

Each year, sometime before the winter solstice, we pick out a native tree from a local farmer, the new tree is brought inside, decorated and adorned, and we do our best to share these experiences with others through a project we call Planting Christmas.

We’ve done this holiday promotion for 5 years, where we sell sizable, live, native Hawaiian trees as Christmas trees and deliver them to people around Maui. Joe does the delivery, and he loves it: meeting our customers one-on-one, often visiting their homes  and learning about their land and their own reasons for choosing a live tree. It also allows both us to watch a forest grow out of our own trees – we’ve got 4 Christmas trees growing in our backyard!

Sales Report: thanks to this year’s influx of publicity around the completion of the 50-state Plant a Wish tour, this was our biggest year for native Christmas tree sales yet, with proceeds supporting the Plant a Wish film.

Our 2011 Christmas tree, planted on New Year's Day, 2012.


So, if planting a native trees with wishes is my annual New Year “tone-setter”, what does it mean in light of my friend’s suggestion (at the top of this post)?

Here is what planting a tree on New Years sets in motion for me in 2012.

  1. It means, in the coming year, I will continue make positive contributions to the Earth and to future generations. (Reminder: these trees won’t reach their fully realized adult tree life until I’m gone.)
  2. It means, in the coming year, I will make conscious choices (like planting a tree that is native) that are based on the laws governing nature.  (Note: I was just thinking about this on Dec. 29th, here’s the FB status to prove it):
  3. It means, in the coming year, I will comfortably and easily find myself expressing my wishes (even writing them down) and trusting that somehow, the universe is listening.
  4. It means, in the coming year, I will devote myself to growth in an upward motion. (Did you notice that humans and trees have this in common?) Note: in this interpretation, I don’t mean I want to get taller. It means I want to move steadily in the direction of my higher mind, my higher self. I danced to the tune of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” at a New Year’s Eve party, and totally thought about it this way.
  5. And finally, it means that I will continue to create meaningful memories and create traditions with my best friend, true love, husband and life partner, Joe.  Thanks, Joe, for the best year ever.

And, the other part of my day.

It wasn’t just the tree planting that set the tone for my New Year, I’ll admit. The tree planting is just how we ended our day. Truth be told, the majority of my New Year’s Day was spent on the beach in Wailea, appreciating all of the natural gifts: sun, water, oxygen with a huge, motley crew of friends who I love dearly. We floated, we dove, we laughed, we hugged, and we spent the whole day together. More of that, too, in store for 2012!

January 1, 2012 was a glorious day.

So, I shared mine. Now, it’s your turn.
What did your New Year’s Day set in motion in your life?


12 thoughts on “Setting the Tone for 2012: Our New Year’s Day Tradition

  1. Love the mix of tradition and “heck, we’re going to the beach after all lucky we live Maui!” that you did and shared here with us Sara! I actually think that the “sacred” benefits from an infusion of unadulterated joy and carefree spirit. 🙂

    Happy new year and best wishes to your Plant a Wish and all other endeavors! Love, Rox

    • Yes! The mix is what makes it, Rox! Thanks so much for your support and love and conscious presence on Maui! So excited about the future.

  2. What an awesome tradition! Especially love that you used a native tree and the idea of planting your wishes in the ground and letting them grow through the year. I’m gonna have to remember this for next year.

  3. I love “traditions”. I think it anchors us into something and makes our lives a bit more stable and meaningful than usual. I love hearing about your Christmas tradition, and what sets it in motion – very inspiring! I long to be able to have a live Christmas tree. Maybe next year…

    We too spent a lot of time at the beach on Christmas Day. We are so blessed to be able to live here on Maui. Just that thought sets me in motion to do more positive things this year as a way of giving back. (I’ll have to sit down and put in writing what those “positives” are 🙂

    Happy New Year!


  4. I love your tradition and I think a living thing in the home is much better energy wise. In general, I am not a fan of having a Christmas tree for many reasons (the hassle, the fire hazard, the storage of the tree stand) but you’ve got me thinking, I may just do a live tree next year (I had a little fake tree this year that I was “surprised” with one day returning home from work by my bf who thought I was lacking the Christmas spirit on the homefront.)

    Happy new year to you Sara! Look forward to meeting IRL one day.

  5. I have always felt this way about how you spend this day. This year, Jon and I just played. First we went to the beach, read, soaked up the sun, splashed around in the ocean and continued to marvel over the fact that we actually live HERE. Then a little movie, dinner for two at home and some always important make out time. 🙂 Really… it was all about living, savoring and being in the pleasure. I wish that for all of us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s