The New Year has come and gone again without much celebration or ritual in our house. No fireworks, breaking of plates, or even a cheeky kiss with the neighbour's wife.

It's times like this that I do feel a bit cultureless, not in the snobbish sense of being uncultured, but simply not feeling like I have a culture that observes certain traditions and rituals.

Nothing I've been doing these past few weeks seems showy enough.

Not anything that can compare to swinging fireballs to ward off evil spirits, as they do in parts of Scotland during the Hogmanay festival.


Not believing in any particular deity doesn't help.

The rituals involved with praying to God, Mother Mary, Vishnu or Caishen, would give me something to do.

Even if it were just going through the motions, at least it would be with a whole bunch of other people.

Turning up at a New Year mass to commemorate the circumcision of Christ, however, probably isn't a realistic option.

So what am I left with over this holiday period?

Well, dinner on December 25 with family.

A good piece of fillet steak that we wouldn't normally purchase, potatoes from the garden, sausages, sweet corn, coleslaw, followed by an apricot trifle and marzipan fruit.

And presents of course, which in our house still get put beneath a tinsel tree.

If I keep digging away at it, excavating the things I actually do at this time of year, maybe there's some culture here after all, with traditions and authentic rituals.

On Christmas Day, my daughter has the job of handing out the presents, which doesn't happen until late in the afternoon when the grandparents arrive for dinner.

It's done slowly with each person given due attention for the gift they've been given and are receiving.

There it is, a family tradition connected to the wider culture that means something, which if it were removed would be noticed for its loss.

I must remind myself that other people's cultural traditions are for reading about, observing and marvelling at.

What other cultures do will always seem more exciting.

We're so embedded in our own traditions and small rituals that we can barely recognise them as such. That doesn't mean they're not there or that they're not valuable.

And yet, I still have the urge to do something more with the New Year.

Perhaps I could dress in druid's robes and plant a tree, singing a Beatles' song in the language that our goats speak.

Something the kids and I have invented, which amounts to raising your head to the sky and elongating every word to a kind of meh-ing noise that goats make.

It's insane, but amusing (to us at least).

Yes, I need to get creative and steal from old pagan religions, then mash it up with some modern day pop culture.

Given the whacky stuff people do around the world to celebrate the New Year, who's to say what I come up with won't be passed down through the ages?