Is New Year’s Eve the Worst Holiday?

 

As a kid, New Year’s Eve fascinated me. It was a night when grown-ups dressed up, drank fancy cocktails and danced across ballroom floors. Granted, my parents only went out a time or two, but I had seen the movies. Most adults had the times of their lives and I couldn’t wait to join them. We kids would fight to stay up late, bang pots and pans and light the illicit firework or two, but it just wasn’t the same.

Once I hit drinking age, I spent several New Year’s Eves at college bars or block parties where I could finally join the excitement. I rarely found much. Most the celebrations were overcrowded nightmares of sweaty throngs and queasy drinkers. Hardly the tuxedo-clad soirées I had imagined as a lad. There wasn’t even a big band, for pity’s sake.

After many disappointing events, I finally figured out why I didn’t care for New Year’s celebrations: They are filled with people who say “WOOO!” I don’t like being in places where people say “WOOO!” The revelers never seem to be having fun, but are desperate to convince everyone around them that they’re having fun.

Like many lost weekends in Las Vegas, most NYE revelers are trying to force themselves to have a good time and failing. And what are we even celebrating? An arbitrary hour on an arbitrary calendar first accepted in the U.S. in 1752. There aren’t even presents.

Wednesday night, I’ll enjoy another quiet evening in, maybe playing a few board games with the family and watching queasy drinkers shout “WOOO!” on my TV. I’ll enjoy a dram of a fine single-malt and shake my head at the poor saps racing home on the freeway at 1:30 a.m. Many readers will roll their eyes at stodgy introverts like myself and enjoy far more exciting celebrations.

But what do you think: Is New Year’s Eve overrated or do you have an evening planned that will change my mind?

A version of this article was published last New Year’s Eve.

There are 85 comments.

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  1. user_473455 Inactive
    user_473455
    @BenjaminGlaser

    I am pretty meh on it.

    I also remain convinced people actually knew how to party and have a good time when my grandparents were going out.

    • #1
  2. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    JG – it is definitely a contender, up there with Sweetest Day (stupid Sweetest day has gotten me into trouble so many times) and Valentine’s Day (can you tell the romantic in me is disappearing?).

    I’m with you, any venue that is so loud you cannot have a conversation without screaming and so crowded you have to fight through ten people to get a drink is not worth it and likely full of folks who are faking a great time.

    In addition to being great for possible future kidney donations, this is another time where small kids are very helpful. When you have little kids there is no pressure to heading out for New Years Eve.  We’ll probably be asleep at eleven with some Pixar movie on and a couple empty bottles of wine on the table.

    • #2
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    We’re staying in.  We’ll probably watch a movie, break out the bottle of Prosecco to toast midnight with, and eat a nice dessert.  The neighbors behind us shoot off fireworks, so we don’t have to go anywhere for the noise, either.  Happy New Year, Jon.

    • #3
  4. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    My kids love new years. We let them watch movies and eat popcorn and have hot cocoa until they drop, which is about ten. Then we go to sleep.

    • #4
  5. user_252181 Moderator
    user_252181
    @AlFrench

    I’m with you, except that I’m out of single malt.  A glass of bubbly will have to do.

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    My family does a Star Wars marathon. This started before my wife and I were even married. With the kids around there are less cigars though.

    • #6
  7. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    The problem is degradation of good taste and an excess of frivolity.

    The Old Timers almost never had a day off. They almost never got to wear fine clothes and eat fine food. When they got the chance to live it up they appreciated it. Plus they knew how to dance and how to behave.

    Today, we have so much and appreciate nothing.

    • #7
  8. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    The King Prawn:My family does a Star Wars marathon. This started before my wife and I were even married. With the kids around there are less cigars though.

    TKP – interesting, what order do you watch them in? My recommendation would to go by when they came out, that way you’ll have a few drinks down before starting Phantom Menace

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    A distillate of noble maize, some Coltrane playing softly on the stereo, the TV on with the sound down to cut down on the stoopid…

    Nothing elaborate.

    • #9
  10. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOuld like to say we are partiers but we are not really. Will have some Baileys while flipping through the channels trying to find Guy Lombardo.

    • #10
  11. NancyB Member
    NancyB
    @NancyB

    The most fun I had on New Year’s eve was a blizzardy one when my sons were small.  We all lolled on the king size bed with popcorn and ginger ale and watched Duck Soup on TV.  They had never seen the Marx brothers before, and thought they were hilarious.  From time to time we pulled the curtain aside, looked out at the weather and felt sorry for anyone who was going anywhere in it.

    • #11
  12. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    For the record, I go out and enjoy Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration with the kids. It’s super fun.

    • #12
  13. user_10225 Member
    user_10225
    @JohnDavey

    I recall it was something of a big deal on new year’s eve 1978 that as 11 year olds we got to drink Perrier! And then we listened to KISS Alive II.

    • #13
  14. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Member
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    My family never made much of New Year’s Eve, so it was never instilled in me as a child as any kind of memorable celebration. Nor did I adopt any particular liking for it as an adult. The significance of the date changing, apart from some practical considerations such as taxes and so on, has always been lost on me — it’s just a change of some numbers, of far less significance than the changing of the seasons.  My husband has a similar attitude, so New Year’s has always been low-key with us. We have been invited to parties and sometimes we’ll go (as we will tomorrow evening), but since we value good conversation above all, we wouldn’t go to any party or venue where it was loud and overcrowded. Staying up to midnight is of no significance to me either — I go to sleep when I’m tired, and it has to be an event of some importance (like the recent mid-term elections) to keep me up past my bedtime.

    • #14
  15. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    Agreed: overrated.

    And as last of five holiday-related days off from work in a 45 day span, New Year’s Day is… the gateway to January!  Followed by February.  Then March…

    Months of crappy weather when we sit around and ask:

    How long till Memorial Day?

    • #15
  16. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    I’ve done the New Years Eve party thing when I was younger.  I enjoyed myself OK at the time.  Its been years since I’ve desired to do that.

    For years now my tradition has been to stay home and cook  a rare prime rib for the GF.  Plus Yorkshire Pudding and all of the trimmings.

    Serve dinner around 10PM, then go out and enjoy the fireworks display provided by the neighbors.

    Unfortunately this year I am out of town on business, so I am missing this for the first time since I was stuck in Manila over the Christmas holidays in 1999.

    • #16
  17. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Pleated Pants Forever:JG – it is definitely a contender, up there with Sweetest Day (stupid Sweetest day has gotten me into trouble so many times) and Valentine’s Day (can you tell the romantic in me is disappearing?).

    I’m with you, any venue that is so loud you cannot have a conversation without screaming and so crowded you have to fight through ten people to get a drink is not worth it and likely full of folks who are faking a great time.

    In addition to being great for possible future kidney donations, this is another time where small kids are very helpful. When you have little kids there is no pressure to heading out for New Years Eve. We’ll probably be asleep at eleven with some Pixar movie on and a couple empty bottles of wine on the table.

    I can’t even do the wine anymore- such a headache I get! I’m not sure how you at the ripe old age you are, Pants, can knock back the adult beverages without suffering from it. At the considerably more tender age of six year younger than you, I am now tapped out after two drinks.

    New Years is in the same boat as Valentines and St Patty’s for me- I ignore their existence, and get irritated when services are interrupted due to them.

    • #17
  18. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    I can’t even do the wine anymore- such a headache I get! I’m not sure how you at the ripe old age you are, Pants, can knock back the adult beverages without suffering from it. At the considerably more tender age of six year younger than you, I am now tapped out after two drinks.

    New Years is in the same boat as Valentines and St Patty’s for me- I ignore their existence, and get irritated when services are interrupted due to them.

    VC – I apologize as, is obvious by your fresh thoughts, you are younger than me. The trick is hydrating. You are a medical person and I learned at a young age, as the son of medical people, that half of life is hydrating.  Make sure you have at least 3 or 4 500ml bottles (and you know how much I hate the metric system) of water before partaking in anything else and you will fare better the next day

    • #18
  19. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    I can’t even do the wine anymore- such a headache I get! I’m not sure how you at the ripe old age you are, Pants, can knock back the adult beverages without suffering from it. At the considerably more tender age of six year younger than you, I am now tapped out after two drinks.

    New Years is in the same boat as Valentines and St Patty’s for me- I ignore their existence, and get irritated when services are interrupted due to them.

    VC – I apologize as, is obvious by your fresh thoughts, you are younger than me. The trick is hydrating. You are a medical person and I learned at a young age, as the son of medical people, that half of life is hydrating. Make sure you have at least 3 or 4 500ml bottles (and you know how much I hate the metric system) of water before partaking in anything else and you will fare better the next day

    I appreciate you deigning to use the pinko measuring system in an effort to appeal to my rigid, medical mind. I will try your pre-gaming strategy the next time I imbibe.

    • #19
  20. awksedperl Member
    awksedperl
    @ArchieCampbell

    I like to stay home, watch a movie, and drink some good hooch. New Year’s Eve is better know as Amateur Night.

    • #20
  21. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    New Year’s is perfect, when you are with the ones you love, and only the ones you love. Those moments are not overrated. Nice to stay in, otherwise you risk interlopers.

    To tell the Truth, we made more noise banging pots and pans when the Broad Street Bullies won the Stanley Cup way back when. That was fun. Woo oo.

    • #21
  22. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Archie Campbell:I like to stay home, watch a movie, and drink some good hooch. New Year’s Eve is better know as Amateur Night.

    Concur.  I’ve long called New Year’s Eve – Amateur Night.  Pros stay at home on those nights that all the amateurs are getting drunk.  Too scary for me.

    • #22
  23. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    As with everything in life, it depends on where you’re going, and who you’re going with.

    There’s plenty of places that aren’t loud and full of obnoxious drunks. That applies to any day of the year, not just New Year’s.

    • #23
  24. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    I think I might be hitting a movie out tonight, but that’s it.  New Year’s Eve these days is simply a sad reminder about how many of these nights I spent out at bars, wasting both my time and money, doing something that only had negative outcomes.

    Ridiculous.  Interesting how much social pressure there is at a younger age, though, to do “something”.  Although there were one or two interesting parties that might be fun with a group, again – like a black-tie event held at Shelburne Farms here in Vermont sometime late in the 1990s.  Getting dressed up, hanging with friends and/or family, there’s nothing wrong with that, at all.

    But today I’d really rather just hang in, especially when it’s like 10 degrees out there.

    • #24
  25. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    For many years, I rented an oceanfront home at either Ocean City, MD or the Outer Banks of NC for the week that included New Year’s Eve.  We would have drinks and lobster tails and drinks and watch a movie in front of the fireplace.  At midnight, a bottle of champagne and fireworks on the frigid, deserted beach would follow.

    Then, everybody started doing the same thing.  Rental prices shot up and beach fireworks were banned.  So now I just sit home and brood.

    • #25
  26. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Y’all are looking at this the wrong way:

    “WOOOO!

    Another day closer to Barry’s departure!

    WOOOO!”

    • #26
  27. Britanicus Member
    Britanicus
    @Britanicus

    Jimmy Carter:Y’all are looking at this the wrong way:

    “WOOOO!

    Another day closer to Barry’s departure!

    WOOOO!”

    I’ll second that!

    WOOOOOoooOOoOooOoOoOoooO!

    • #27
  28. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    No, New Year’s Eve is far from the worst holiday.  The worst holiday is al-Quds Day, when people line the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities for the annual Death to Israel/Death to America parades.

    • #28
  29. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Aw c’mon… parades are awesome!

    • #29
  30. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Some stupid John Oliver clip (aren’t they all?) bouncing around the internet for the last few days is of him declaring New Year’s Eve “the worst.”

    Because I find John Oliver “the worst” in a long line of smug, condescending Brits whom the American Left adores (see also Martin Bashir and Piers Morgan) I am inclined to say that New Year’s Eve is THE BEST!

    • #30

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