Though not prone to rituals, I do have an annual routine to occupy the time between Christmas and New Year.
I carefully empty my office desk and discard those countless items that were ignored or postponed over the past 12 months.
But I don't discard willy nilly.
I take one final chance to scan those tidbits sent my way by readers who were convinced I would relish the latest Internet rumor.
My trash can is now filled with enough anti-Obama ramblings to fill a commercial dumpster.
One whole discarded folder contained off-color jokes. Another family-friendly reading material. Still another file could be classified as golf-related advice or humor.
My obsession with clearing way for the New Year is all part of that fresh-start attitude.
Removing the remnants of the past year is the first step in that approach.
But it's more important for another reason.
Those newspaper clippings, urgent e-mails and reader suggestions give me an interesting review of the year on some issues I had long forgotten.
I'm also prone to saving column ideas that never materialize. Readers have sent me more conspiracy theories on Obama's birthplace than imaginable.
On those column suggestions, I took a pass.
Some accumulated items will remain. Notes from my grandkids are untouchable, for example.
The off-color jokes provided one last inappropriate giggle. The preacher jokes have been forwarded to the preacher. And the rantings of the far-political right and left have been noted and discarded.
Unpublished letters will remain unpublished.
My desk is now clean. My secret storage hideaway is purged. And I'm ready again to start a New Year.
And soon, new files will be filled with more unsolicited items that seem important at the time.
And it's more than likely that come this time next year, the ritual will be repeated.
This ritualistic desk cleansing is not a whole lot different than what we do with our lives this time of year.
We look back, we recall those things that shaped our year and then, we move forward.
Some people start the New Year with resolutions. I clean house in an office setting.
Maybe I should just resolve to collect and keep less in my desk.
Or get a bigger desk!