A wooden reindeer with one remaining eye and only two legs, which I bought for Francesca when she was 2.
A red glass ball with the word Joy written in glitter, which Francesca made in middle school for a beloved horse who passed away.
A 20-year-old glass snowman whose eye was so worn away that we drew in a new one with a Sharpie; and a little wooden tree that has three clay golden retrievers with the names of our goldens Lucy, Angie, and Penny, all of whom have passed away.
You get the idea.
If you're maimed or dead, you're on our tree.
See what I mean?
Old is good.
Old is sweet.
Old still matters.
Same with our Christmas music. When we open gifts on Christmas morning, we always play the Charlie Brown CD on a continuous loop, even though it's 25 years old and skips like a record.
Please tell me you know what a record is.
Still, we never get sick of hearing it. Francesca knows every note, and I know every skip.
And for the meal, we wanted to make something New, which we hadn't made before, so we found a recipe to honor my late father, whose parents lived in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. The region is known for its stuffed olives, and Francesca found an Old recipe, one that's been around for hundreds of years.
Unfortunately, it took hundreds of years to make.
First, we made the stuffing, then stuffed a zillion olives, then breaded the olives, then fried the olives, etc., etc., etc. We even had help from my bestie Franca, who came over for dinner, and, by the way, I've known her for more than 30 years.
We have the right idea when it comes to friends, with that saying, "Make new friends but keep the old."
So let's choose one cliche over the other, shall we? And banish that "out with the Old."
I say this because I often feel that older people aren't appreciated enough for their experience, wisdom, and perspective. There's entirely too much sweeping away of the Old in this culture.
I know many of you agree, even if you're not Old.
And, as we get older, many of us experience the feeling of being marginalized or sidelined, simply because of our age.
I've seen Mother Mary condescended to and patronized in public, which drives me crazy.
Diss me, but don't be dissing my mother.
Because time and space, as they relate to people, are completely beside the point.
The Old are always with us, as are those who are no longer alive, whether they're dogs or fathers.
We don't stop loving them, nor do we stop remembering them. Boundaries dissolve, and definitions merge, because those things are meaningless, too.
Nothing Old need be swept aside to make room for the New.
There's plenty of room in the human heart for all of us.
Happy New Year.
Look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's columns in their newest collection, "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim." Also, look for Lisa's latest Rosato & Associates novel, "Accused," in stores now. firstname.lastname@example.org.