So, what are you doing for New Year's Eve?
Better question. Do you really care?
When I met my husband, Marty, and we were dating, on the second date, he asked me out for New Year's. I thought he was a little cracked.
It was July.
Later, he confessed that he didn't want to take any chances of someone else slipping in ahead of him.
He didn't know that there was no one beating a path to my door. Never, ever before had anyone ever asked me out for New Year's Eve. I was 50.
This has never been a problem. I have never felt deprived because I have spent 50 New Year's Eves on my own, usually alone, or with one of my dogs. Often, I feast on a big bowl of popcorn and entertain myself with an old movie, or better still, a good book.
On several occasions, I've spent a few hours kibitzing with a friend on the phone. Occasionally, I've watched on TV as "the ball dropped" in Times Square, but more often I'm sound asleep long before midnight.
The point is, I have never been particularly excited about celebrating New Year's Eve the way most people traditionally do. Making merry. Dressing up. Dining out on exorbitant, outrageously-priced, often mediocre restaurant fare. Drinking too much. Whooping it up with a bunch of strangers. Pretending to be having a grand old time.
For one thing, I don't drink.There's nothing more boring than watching a bunch of people get silly and inebriated.
What's even worse, is that everyone is trying so hard to have a good time. The expectations always outstrip the reality. It's usually a big disappointment according to most people I know who "go out on the town on New Year's."
Isn't is just another night of the week? Especially when it falls on a Wednesday?
I suspect, although I could be wrong, that many people may scale back on their New Year's celebrations this year and perhaps re-think how to spend this night. Just as many people have carefully reflected on the meaning and values of Christmas gift giving and refocused on the people they love and care about more than the presents they may have, in years past, cost them outrageous amounts of money.
You cannot help but give this some thought.
Marty, if you want to know, has never "taken me out for New Year's" because I've never wanted to be "taken out." I prefer small intimate gatherings at home and that's how we have spent our eight New Year's Eve's together, thus far. This will be our ninth. We either have a few people in or visit friends. At most, there are four or five couples. This year, there will be six of us, not all "couples," either. Six good friends.
We have a pot luck dinner which is always more delicious than anything you can buy in a restaurant. This year, Thai food is on the menu and I'm making Pad Thai.
What's best about spending a quiet New Year's with friends at home is the feeling of warmth, closeness and camaraderie.
There are no extra-special expectations and we're never disappointed.
If you're a list-maker, here is a list of 10 good reasons to reframe your New Year's Eve and celebrate at home:
- It's warm.
- The price of drinks is right.
- Ditto for the food, which if it's home made is far better than anything you'll find in any restaurant.
- There are always second helpings.
- There's no chance of colliding in your car with a drunk driver.
- You can go to bed at 12:01 a.m. or at 11:59 p.m. – and skip it altogether.
- You don't have to get all dressed up – no tuxedo rentals, no sequins – you can spend the evening in your p.j.'s all night.
- You can sing Auld Lang Syne at the top of your lungs even if you can't carry a tune.
- You can go onto the Internet and really celebrate New Year's – around the world, in every time zone. You'll be up all night. You'll be New Year's Eve'd-out but it might be fun, for a change!
- In the quiet of your home, you can spend a few solitary moments reflecting back on the past year and think about how you can make 2009 a little better, in whatever way that's meaningful for you.
I wish you health, most of all. Peace of mind. Happiness of heart. Calm. A year of sweetness. In Judaism, we celebrate New Year's in the fall. We cut up apples and dip them in honey,to symbolize a sweet New Year. You could try that, too. If nothing else, it tastes delicious.