What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

339912423_4416699c99_zImage from Flickr via Sally Mahoney

When I was a kid in the 1960s, my sister and I had our very own New Year’s Eve tradition. Every December 31, on the stroke of midnight, we’d duck out of the party our folks usually threw to dial the operator and wish her a happy New Year. We always felt sorry that she had to work and miss all the excitement.      

These days, at midnight on New Year’s Eve my sister and I are usually sleeping soundly in our respective beds. But this year I began to wonder whether I was now the one who was missing out on all the excitement. So I asked my Facebook friends what they would be doing this New Year’s Eve.  

The first response?

Every New Year’s Eve I bake bread. I like to put the loaves in the oven one year and take them out the next. I’ve been doing this for 27 years. 

The next reply I got was just as good:  

I’ll be celebrating my 60th birthday!

Then I heard from my friend Janet:   

I’m having a special New Year’s Eve this year. I’ll be babysitting 6-month-old Rachel, my honorary grandbaby.  

Clearly, my friends are going to be having fun.  Although some, like me, were headed for bed:  

As usual I expect that Mr. and Mrs. Excitement will be falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV at 10 PM, waiting for the Times Square ball to drop.  After midnight we’ll realize we missed it, get up, turn off the TV, wish each other a happy New Year and go back to sleep in our real bed.

New Year’s Eve? Ambien does the trick for me

But most of my pals will be celebrating. Their plans involve a mix of friends, family, and food:  

For the past 10 years, my best friend and I have cooked up a massive paella and shared it with our friends. 

We’ve had dinner with the same friends for seventeen years. This year it’s at their place and we always stay over. 

We hold a progressive dinner with other neighborhood couples. We ’re at the top of the hill so we usually start it with appetizers, then on to the next house for salad, then the entrée. We end up at the final house for dessert and to ring in the New Year.

Here in Vienna we ring in the New Year with fireworks, which we view from a top floor balcony with friends.  It is an awe-inspiring display. And last year, our friends’ son serenaded everyone with Auld Lang Syne on the trumpet. 

We get together with a group of other families and rent a local skating rink.

We’re going to the wedding of a friend’s daughter with some of our oldest and closest friends. Perfect!  

This year we’re hosting ten of our sons’ friends for the night. More than a ball may drop

Some couples have created their own special traditions: 

We’re having pizza, a tradition that began the year we were married, when we surprised my mom on New Year’s Eve, only to find that she was going to a party. The next year found us at a hotel in China; we happened to order pizza.  Once we realized what we’d done, it became an annual tradition. Going on 27 years.

My hubby and I have never been big party people. So we always go skiing on New Year’s Eve. There’s hardly anyone else on the slopes!

For us, it’s pink champagne and Monopoly until the ball drops.

The two of us watch the same movie every year: Days of Wine and Roses. 

Some nice music, a fire, a glass or two of wine, a little pasta.  Maybe a vintage movie. A prosecco cork popping at midnight as jazz plays softly. Pretty boring by most standards but just fine . . . and quiet. 

The best thing about living in New York City? A stroll through Central Park on New Year’s Eve.

A fortunate few will greet 2015 on the beach: 

For the past 25 years, I’ve put my feet in the sand on New Year’s Eve… on the beach at Fort Myers.  

I’ll be celebrating on the beach with my California kids this year! 

Still, not everyone is planning on having a great time:  

New Year’s Eve? It’s the sourest, most disappointing evening of the year, unless you’re a long-term happily married couple. I make it my mission to go to bed before the ball drops. 

This holiday season is a sad one for me. I just may ignore it altogether. 

But one neighbor, thankfully, has plenty to celebrate:   

Last year I suffered from a severe postpartum depression and my best friends became my family. So this year we’re celebrating life together by making a gourmet feast and being thankful that I made it through the year, as we were not certain that I would. It will be fun and festive. Twelve best friends grateful to be dining together.  

And for one lucky couple, there’s marriage in the air:  

Getting married on New Year’s Eve has long been a dream of ours that finally came together. I am Russian, and in Russia we have a superstition—the way you celebrate the New Year is the way the rest of your year will be. Judging from our plans, 2015 should be full of cake and champagne.

Will the final moments of 2014 once again find me dozing? Or will the example of my friends inspire me to stay up and celebrate

Either way, here’s wishing for a 2015 full of cake and champagne for all of us.


Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Kelly January 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I visited family and friends around my neighborhood, stopping by their various parties. It was really fun!

  • Roz Warren January 1, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for all the great comments. I didn’t even know there was a Twilight Zone marathon.

  • Sharon December 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Great column, Roz,
    I stay off the streets one NYE. This year I watched the Twilight Zone marathon until I got tired of it. It was fun to see big tv/movie stars back in their making a name stage. My celebration comes on New Year Day when my adult daughters and I do an annual New Year volksmarch in a nearby city. This will be our 12th or 13th year.

  • Antionette Blake December 31, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Every year it has been the same, all the clothes are washed, collard greens and black eye peas are cooking on the stove. I’m watching the Twilight Zone marathon on TV and at midnight my hubby, sons and I are on our knees in prayer. Afterwards we send one of them outside with money in his pocket and let him enter the front door, bringing prosperity into the home for the new year. We eat and then it’s back to the marathon!

  • Carolann December 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    It always seems there is so much pressure to do something fun on NYE so we just stay home, relax, and eat! Was fun reading what other’s do for sure!

  • Lois Alter Mark December 30, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    We like to stay home on New Year’s Eve and, even though we now live on the West Coast, we like to celebrate the ball dropping on East Coast time!

  • Rena McDaniel December 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    It’s my daughter’s wedding anniversary so hopefully I will be babysitting the twins!!!!

  • Mister Wonderful December 30, 2014 at 11:46 am


  • Susan Maccarelli December 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

    This was fun to read! I have never been a big New Years Eve fan – it is one of those nights that offers all sorts of hype but never lives up to it. That said, as I get older and learn not to believe the hype, I enjoy it more. We live a few blocks from main street in a small historic town. We will go uptown with the kids for First Night and then my parents will take the kids home for bed and my husband and I will stay for a few drinks. Looking forward to it!

  • Dave Astor December 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I love your “reader participation” columns, Rosalind. They’re so funny and interesting, with the quotes set up nicely by you. Tomorrow, I vow to not be asleep at 12 (noon). 🙂

  • Kathy @ SMART Living December 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Feliz Ano Nuevo Rosalind! My husband and I are visiting friends in Baja Mexico and will be going to a party together to celebrate. We always do something different so don’t have any set tradition. Whatever you do, make it GREAT! ~Kathy

  • pia December 30, 2014 at 10:36 am

    The best New Years ever were the Central Park ones. Or maybe the townhouse party that went on until 8 AM–they served breakfast (curry) and then real breakfast or maybe….But really I remember the costume parties my parents had–my father in drag. Or their dress up ones. New Years Eve seemed the ultimate night then!

  • Carol Cassara December 30, 2014 at 10:33 am

    We like to stay home. We might have friends in some years or we might just stay at home ourselves. It’s amateur night and being on the road isn’t appealing, nor is staying out till the wee hours–not that much fun for us any more!