Every year the same thing happens around, oh, Dec. 20. Everyone wants to know what’s going on for New Year’s Eve. It’s not that there aren’t tons of options — if anything, there’s too much going on: bars, clubs, house parties, prix-fixe meals. But just like having 300 cable channels and only one DVR, deciding on how to ring in the New Year is never an easy choice.
We’ve turned New Year’s Eve into the kind of event that makes us think something better will come up at the last minute. Something extraordinary. Something that we will — miraculously — get tickets to, get all of our friends to agree on and attend and will turn into the most exciting party of the year.
In most cases, that is a New Year’s Eve party myth.
Instead, we end up playing phone tag from 8 p.m. on, juggling friends, parties and trying to get reservations to packed restaurants or trying to buy tickets to sold- out shows off Craigslist. We usually end up sleeping in someone’s van in Girdwood or paying an exorbitant cover to get into the Woodshed Lounge only to get kicked out 10 minutes later because the bar is at capacity and bouncers find any excuse to make room for those waiting outside, including an innocent drink spilling or over-loud laughter. And as the countdown rings in your disgruntled ears, you vow that next year, no matter what, you’ll plan ahead.
But you don’t. At least, I don’t. Every year, without fail, I am a victim of that last-minute frenzy that turns any option into a huge, time-consuming decision.
Why do I keep it up, year after year? Because we’re celebrating the dawn of a new horizon; a fresh start, new resolutions, a clean slate. Part of the reason we seek the ultimate party experience is because we believe that whatever we do, whatever debauchery we take part in, everything is wiped clean the next day.
Sure, there’s always the option of staying home with champagne and a midnight smooch. Traipsing through a sea of party-favor blowing, glitter-throwing, pointy-hat-bedecked revelers becomes especially unappealing when you’re lucky enough to have a lip-smacking lovey-dove at home. So maybe the best way to ring in good cheer is to stay home and make your own ring-a-ding-ding.
But that never happens, does it? I mean, staying home on New Year’s Eve? No parties? No noisemakers? It’s crazy how blasphemous that seems. Perhaps the wild, fiery spirit of some past pagan festival thrills our blood and makes us think things like wearing stupid hats, kissing strangers and throwing glitter are essential ingredients in our lives.
The urge to embrace excess is natural, after all. And you really can’t plan that. And New Year’s Eve is, and will always be, a memorable event — whether you remember it for the best party ever or for a fun and fruitless search with friends for a house party on the Hillside.
-- by Jessica Bowman