New Year's Eve: Does it Ever Live Up to the Hype?

Whether you find yourself puking into your handbag in the corner of a bar on New Year’s Eve, or watching Jools Holland on the telly with a glass of Cava in hand, it's a well-known fact that this holiday rarely lives up to the hype.  New Year's is the ugly younger cousin to Christmas, forever resentful that it will never be able to compete with Santa, presents round the tree or the majestic dinner which uncle Jim has spent all year preparing for. New Year’s Eve is a ‘holiday’ which has pretty much passed me by for the last twenty years.  Only with an inordinate amount of alcohol and the possibility of a cheeky midnight kiss am I tempted to don hat, gloves and fur coat for a night out.  Because other than sitting in with your parents and watching fireworks reproduced on television (when will people start realising they are only interesting live?), there is little else to do on December 31st.



If you are one of the brave and decide to descend upon London with thousands of other mental (and, in all likelihood, blind drunk) party-goers, I have a few tips for you.  Come prepared with money, and a lot of it.  Although that next chunk of student loan is yet to reach your bank account and you are wading through an overdraft that will eventually drown you, it is time to face facts.  

The fireworks in London, which were once free, are now ticketed with a £10 price tag, proving that these commercial holidays will stop at nothing to make a profit.  I don’t know about you but being charged £10 for having eyes and standing in an area which is little more than a glorified animal pen sounds a bit of a rip off to enjoy some flashing lights in the freezing cold.  

If you decide to hit the club scene, drinks are never going to be cheap on this night and unless you befriend/corner a very generous companion for the evening, you’ve got to be prepared to wake up to an empty purse.  Either that or you’ll find yourself wandering the streets of London at a quarter to midnight, reassuring your friends that there will be a Tesco open around the next corner (take it from someone who knows – this will not happen).  

The best advice I can give is try and find an event which does something a little different.  Last year, as a spur of the moment decision, I purchased a ticket for a prohibition party at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London.  Although we mistakenly followed a group of 1920s flapper girls to the wrong event, when we eventually arrived at our desired destination, we were not disappointed.  For the first time, I was doing something more than slut dropping to Justin Bieber and winding up in McDonald’s at 3am.  The champagne was flowing, the live band knocked Bieber out of the park, and we were surrounded by a room of people who had equally committed to the theme.  Although it felt as though we were a million miles away from fireworks and Jools Holland – the New Year’s staples – for the first time, I really enjoyed the countdown into the next year.  



Inevitably, however, the desperation of securing that elusive New Year’s kiss can often come to dominate the latter part of the evening.  No one wants to be that person standing on the side of the dance floor in some horrific prom-style flashback, waiting to be chosen for that all important kiss which will lay the foundations for the New Year’s romantic success.  Slightly dramatic? Perhaps, but it can still be pretty crushing to find yourself alone.  Then there is that one moment in the night when someone (most likely me) winds up in the toilet, crying about the year’s disasters whilst cradling a glass of water, mascara tracks being wiped away by a consoling friend’s hand.  More often than not, therefore, the New Year’s night out can signal disaster rather than celebration.  Perhaps the one positive aspect of this holiday is the promise of improving yourself in the coming year, committing to a set of resolutions which will change your life for the better.  As with all good intentions, however, these resolutions almost always end up like those presents given to you by distant relatives over Christmas: dismissed and forgotten.  Going to the gym three times a week and forgoing Friday curry night?  Unlikely.  My best advice over this inevitably disappointing post-Christmas holiday is to enjoy your last few days of feasting heaven – finish off those mince pies which are going slightly stale, and crack open another bottle of port.  You won’t be given this free pass to acceptable weight-gain for another year.



Edited by Katie Randall