Are you ready for a night of celebrations? Or is New Year’s Eve overrated?
- Credit: Archant
Ellen Widdup’s 2.4 Children
I bet you can hardly contain your excitement. There are just four more days to get through and then – high-pitched shriek of joy – it’s party time.
Yes! The hotly anticipated, fun-packed blow out that is New Year’s Eve is soon to be upon us.
But, if we’re honest, is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
If my experience of December 31 celebrations are anything to go by, I would answer that with a resounding “no”.
There was 1996, the year I got vomited on at the stroke of midnight in an overpriced bar in north London.
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There was 1997, when I stood on the freezing streets for three hours in a skimpy dress trying to find a cab home.
Oh yes, and there was 1998 – the time I managed to lock myself out of my own house party minus shoes in minus temperatures.
And let’s not forget the turn of the Millennium, a night which amplified everything which is so dire about New Year’s Eve by a factor of about one million.
There I was, squashed up against the other revellers on the banks of the Thames, choking on the smoke from the fireworks and being showered with flying spittle from Auld Lang Syne when, all of a sudden, a man in front of me died.
That’s right. He literally dropped dead.
Actually, he didn’t quite drop because he was held up by the crush of the crowd.
He gripped his heart, spasmed and slumped.
It was awful. Horrible.
And it took the paramedics 40 minutes to reach him during which time I suffered a full-blown panic attack.
I haven’t really done NYE properly ever since.
A few drinks with friends, the odd low-key dinner party, but nothing more.
In fact it was quite a relief when I became a parent – it gave me a ready-made excuse not to partake, I thought.
After all, who can afford the babysitter on top of the double-price taxis and the bar price hike?
And who can keep awake until midnight for another thing?
This year however, we have been invited to a bash – and the kids can come too.
“It will be fun,” cajoled my husband.
This is the man who is inexplicably Bah Humbug every Christmas but for some reason appears to relish the grotesque forced jollity of New Year’s Eve.
He is one of those who exhibits that puerile determination that everyone is going to have the time of their lives simply because we are moving from one year to the next.
“Just forget it’s New Year and think of it as a big night out,” he said.
“I wish it were that simple,” I replied.
I suppose I could forget it was December 31 if I tried hard enough.
The trouble is nobody else would, so I would have to endure all that I hate about it anyway.”
“Well, what is it you hate so much?” he asked.
Without any difficulty at all, I hastily made him this list:
1) The cost.
I’ve touched on this already but he’s from Yorkshire so money matters.
So much so, it might even win me the excuse to stay indoors and have an early night.
2) The designated driver.
Nobody wants this job, and for good reason.
3) The prescribed rituals.
Does anyone actually know all the words to Auld Lang Syne?
4) The kiss.
One of these rituals. Yes, it’s an expected part of the midnight moment. Yet always, without fail, I’m left deprived of lips to lock with.
Usually this is because my other half has fallen asleep, is unwell or at the bar.
5) The queues.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I can’t see why celebrating the date going from the 31st to the 1st warrants queuing six deep at a bar full of leery, beery men sloshing Jagermeister over my nice new dress.
6) The drunks.
Those people who do not know when to stop. Those who vomit. Those who slur. Those who fall over. Those who fall asleep. Those who make inappropriate jokes. Those I become responsible for.
I’m talking to my husband here, of course.
7) The terror of town.
Britain turns into a hellish pub crawl of doom.
There are men slumped in the gutter and under-dressed women with acres of goose pimpled puce-coloured flesh swearing at each other in the street.
Spare me, please!
8) Getting home.
You can’t. Once you’re in town, you can’t escape. It’s like being trapped in a massive full-scale version of Take Me Out.
I can almost hear Paddy McGuinness now. “Let the hanky see the panky.”
Well Paddy, no likey, no lighty.
(Sorry, I lost myself there for a little moment.)
9) Jools Holland.
Do I need to elaborate?
I don’t care if they are old enough to party. Who wants them around past 8pm?
Besides which, if they are anything like mine, a late bedtime will do nothing to prevent them bounding into our bedroom at the crack of dawn and the rest of the day will be a blur of tiredness and temper tantrums.
11) False Optimism.
That’s right, as soon as Big Ben strikes 12 your slate will be wiped clean. The Etch-A-Sketch has been shaken, your past erased. This is your chance to reboot and redouble your efforts.
But what about if you tried really hard last year?
And why make promises you know that you will never keep?
12) Your hangover.
It will hurt. A lot. Trust me on this one.
And finally, perhaps above all, I hate the pressure to conform. There are better, cheaper and more enjoyable times to party.
So why not go wild and celebrate on a different date entirely?
After all, if you ask me, NYE parties are so last year.
Find me on Twitter @EllenWiddup