You know, New Year’s Eve is probably my least favorite of all the “holidays.” There is too much pressure to do something – whether it be dancing at a club or going to a party. And if you wind up being alone or have nothing great to do, it can be a real bummer and a crappy way to end the holiday season.

I’ll spend my last day of 2011 cleaning the house and putting away the Christmas decorations. Then it’s off to Richmond to pick up the oldest kidlet at the last day of her first job as a skating guard. Hubby runs the seasonal outdoor rink and got her on the payroll – it’s good to have family connections. It should be a fun trip out there…the boyfriend is coming out for the ride and so is a friend of my youngest daughters. Thank goodness I have a station wagon!

After that we will hang out at the house and ring in the new year, if I can stay awake, that is. It makes me think back to new year’s eve celebrations as a kid.

My parents had a good amount of friends and usually had a bunch of them over for a party on this last day of the year. When we were really young, they didn’t want us roaming around the house causing trouble and disrupting the “adult’s fun.” So, they would stick us up in the attic with any other kids that were dragged to the party where we would play games and drink soda. I know this is sounding like a bad VC Andrews novel, but it was fun. The attic was a wreck – not even close to furnished or finished – but that was part of the allure of the night. We’d root around old boxes and search out forgotten books, toys or photos.

At midnight, if we could stay up, there was a small bottle of cold duck we could open and have sips of. Yes, my father supplied us with booze. Hell, it was the 70’s and my dad was that kind of guy. He’d let you taste his beer at dinner, and give you a little shot of blackberry brandy before the company arrived. Being the youngest I usually couldn’t stay up till midnight anyway, and the next morning there would be only the empty bottle up in the attic.

Once I entered into my teen years, and even worse, my twenties, staying at home on new year’s eve was utterly dreary and depressing. Some times I’d hang out with my best-est buddy John at his house on the last night of the year. His house was great – always stocked with Haagen Dazs and smelling of fabric softener – and he always had the latest in tv technology. From Wometco Home Theater to Betamax to VCR to HBO, there was always something to watch at his house. Plus his dad kept beer in the basement and always left us with money to order pizza. Nuff said.

And it’s funny – after having grown up a stone’s throw from New York City, I never once went to Times Square to ring in the new year. Kind of like how I never made it to the World Trade Center either. My sister went once, but got bit in the head by some nut during the midnight hour mania. I actually had plans to go watch the ball drop once. I was around 25 and was friends with these exchange students from England who had been working at a local camp. They were supposed to stop by and pick me up on the way into the city, but never showed. I was bummed and went and got White Castles at midnight.

When the year changed from 1999 to 2000, I was hanging out with my sister and her family. We had a great night planned with just our two families…expensive steaks for dinner and wine and fun. On a whim, my brother in law invited his neighbors over for a drink – these are the types of neighbors you never see much of, so we were expecting an “in and out” kind of visit. Well, they came, and drank, and never left. It was truly uncomfortable. My sister kept saying “Mike, we need to start the grill and think about getting the steaks on” hoping these two would take a hint and leave. I mean, these people were practically strangers and they would not get out. At around 10 pm my husband took my oldest, who was then only 5, and put her to bed – and just stayed with her. They stayed until after 1 am. We didn’t eat our steaks until 11 am the next morning as a brunch.

Now I’m just happy to stay at home, make good snacks (pigs in a blanket and potato skins tonight!) drink some wine and try to keep my eyelids open long enough to see the ball drop. I like having my kids around me and tonight we’ll have my oldest’s boyfriend and perhaps his parents. And that is just fine and dandy with me.

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