Why New Year’s Eve Sucks

You know what I do on New Year’s Eve every year? Not much. Sometimes I’ll go out to dinner or to a small gathering with friends, something I would enjoy just as much on any random night of the year. This year I stayed home, for obvious reasons. And the morning after I read this post from Conor Friedersdorf, which is pretty spot-on:

On December 31, mediocre restaurants throughout America string absurd velvet ropes outside their doors, inflate black and white balloons as decoration, and charge three times the usual price for the same old fare plus bad champagne. Is it any wonder that our elders, as they grow older and wiser, opt to stay home and turn in before midnight? America’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebration, the one that captures the attention of the whole country, has massive crowds gathering in New York City’s most garish neighborhood, where they watch a large ball drop as C-list celebrities narrate on TV. The typical NYC dweller can’t be lured to Times Square for dinner on an ordinary evening, so I can’t imagine how pre-New Year’s conversations go for those who attend. “Would you like to stand out in the freezing cold for hours with no place to sit or use the bathroom and drunks pressed against you on all sides?”

Even more bizarre is the fact that Californians watch a tape-delayed rebroadcast of the spectacle as the clock strikes midnight on the West Coast, with whole parties pausing to gather around the television. “Hey, quiet down,” people actually say, “Ryan Seacrest is about to come on!”

If you ever hear me utter the words “Ryan Seacrest is about to come on,” it will certainly be milliseconds before I change the channel. All the network New Year’s Eve shows are unwatchable, with the broadcast networks being so bad that Kathy Griffin on CNN is not, for once, the most annoying person to watch. Do we really need to hear Train, or worse Cee Lo Green, tormenting John Lennon’s Imagine? Are there people who really get excited when they hear, “We’ll be back after this commercial break with Pitbull”?

And even if I lived in New York, the thought of going down to Times Square to watch the ball drop is about as appealing to me as getting a hernia operation without painkiller. Okay, so the thought of going to Times Square, which has become the world’s largest mall, at any time is about that appealing. And yet I still love Vegas, which is even worse in that regard. What, you expect me to be consistent? And get off my lawn!

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  • freemage

    For the last few years, the wife and I have been getting together with several other couples and doing murder-mystery parties combined with an X-Mas gift exchange. We usually wrap the actual murder-accusation portion of the evening around 11 or a bit later, sit around gabbing for awhile, turn on the TV long enough to use it as a count-down, then turn it off again while we continue chatting and so forth (often dissecting the quality of the given year’s murder mystery game).

    The point is, the best way to celebrate NYE is to use it as an opportunity to do something you’d like to do anyway but don’t normally make the time for. Note the passing of the year (with a kiss if you’re with someone at the time, with a toast–even if it is non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider–if you’re not), and move on.

  • psweet

    Some of us conduct Christmas Bird Counts on New Year’s day — it’s a perfect excuse for not going out on New Year’s Eve, when you have to be up at 5 or so the next morning.

  • tbp1

    My wife and I did Times Square on New Year’s Eve once, in part just to be able to say that we did (we also went to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on New Year’s Eve once for essentially the same reason). Despite the obvious disadvantages, we actually enjoyed the buzz and the excitement, and although it’s very crowded everyone was actually very nice and did their best not to crowd each other more than absolutely necessary. I doubt we will feel the need to do it again, but I’m very glad we did it once.

    I also enjoy the sheer unabashed commercialism of Times Square, in small doses, once or twice a year, although I hardly ever darken the door of any place but a theater or the Visitor Center (which has nice clean bathrooms). There really is a buzz, to use the same word as above, that you don’t get anywhere else.

  • Rip Steakface

    Ugh, the thing that annoyed me most about Cee Lo Green fucking up Imagine was the fact I actually like him. Fuck You is probably the best damn pop song of the last 20 years, thanks to its old school Motown feel. The man’s got talent, and yet he does stupid shit like say “all religion is true.”

  • lldayo

    Ed, every year for the past 4-5 years the wife and I go to another couple’s house for a poker tournament. It usually goes for 4-5 hours depending on number of people and then play cash afterward. Not a bad way to ring in the new year!

  • sinned34

    My wife and I can’t be bothered to do much on NYE anymore, which started around 10 years ago.

    Back when we were younger, it was an excuse to hang out at a friend’s (or acquaintance’s) house, drink to excess, then hang around until you think you’re sober enough to drive home. On New Years day, we’d meet up at a local field for the Snow Bowl – a friendly, hung-over game of (Canadian) football, often held with 30-100 cm (1-3 feet for those of us in North America) of snow on the ground. Then we’d all head to Timmy’s for hot chocolate that we’d Irish up with some whiskey or Irish cream that someone would sneak in with a flask.

  • Usually, I stay up a little bit later than usual to watch the Twilight Zone marathon. Though this year, my pillow was calling.

  • ildi

    I was home for the first time in years (I usually go see my favorite local band play) and watched the CNN thing on the recommendation of a coworker; why does Anderson Cooper do it? Why?

  • Doug Little

    Actually I was a block off Times Square this year for NYE. It was OK as the area we had been confined too contained a bar with the bonus was that there was not that many people confined with us so the bar was comfortably full, easy to get drinks, no wait for the rest room. All in all not a bad night.

  • And yet I still love Vegas, which is even worse in that regard.

    Las Vegas is different. It’s a big celebration, yes, but it’s perfectly normal to attend that celebration in a t-shirt and jeans, possibly hungover, and not necessarily in the mood to “party” (highly questionable as a verb) with a load of loud strangers. Sure, you can do that, but you don’t have to. That’s what I like. It’s like a zoo, for people. With people in the cages. And you get into one of the cages if you want, for a while, and then get back out again when you’ve had enough.

    I don’t even gamble, but I like Vegas. New Year’s Eve can go screw.

  • timpayne

    Say what you will about the crappy tv, but I love the standing rib au jus, followed by 100 proof eggnog and a good cigar. For those with diet restrictions, I hear low sodium bean curds floating in carrot juice can also be very satisfying.

  • Yeah, New Year’s Eve is pure commercialized bullshit. We Pagans celebrate the REAL New Year (Winter Solstice) in a much more wholesome way, by keeping a fire going through the Longest Night to make the days grow longer again. Same total exhautsion the next day, but without the hangover, or the dangerous drunkenness, or the ridiculous expense thereof.

    (Cue the Christians yelling “Keep CHRIST in New Year’s!” in five…four…three…)

  • lofgren

    It really says something about a person when their list of reasons that a holiday sucks include the quality of the television programming and the price of food at crappy restaurants. By that criteria, almost every holiday sucks.

  • ericthered

    I’ve spent the last three years swing dancing the new year in at Lindy Focus in Asheville, NC. Not bad for someone with a social anxiety disorder.

  • magistramarla

    We have some very dear friends in Texas who have two great parties per year – NYE and Midsummer’s night. They invite a group of Celtic musicians, who jam in the living room all evening. We enjoy food, drink and fun, and at midnight a bagpiper pipes in the new year. One of the hosts has relatives in Ireland, who send him some authentic Irish whiskey each year. He makes wonderful Irish coffee after midnight.

    We will look forward to attending those parties when we go back there.

    We are temporarily living in another state while the hubby works on his PHD, so our holidays have been much quieter. We spent Christmas day enjoying a Dr. Who marathon. We spent New Year’s Eve watching a MacGyver marathon. We split a bottle of prosecco at midnight and watched MacGyver until 1 am.

    Ah, nerdy holidays!

  • congenital cynic

    I have never cared much about new years eve, and haven’t been to even a small gathering in years. I would much rather stay home with my lovely wife, have a nice meal, set the kids to watching a movie or two, tuck in early and do some serious shagging. That pretty much beats any other alternative I’ve seen on offer. And I don’t wake up with a hangover either. Works for me.

  • heathermighty-lambchop

    My night was pretty rad. My husband made us a 7 course meal and then we watched “The Voice UK” until midnight. Granted, we only watched said program for Tom Jones. All in all, a lovely evening.

  • Crudely Wrott

    Every second has a beginning and an end as does each minute, hour, day, week, month, season, year, decade, century, millennia epoch and eon. They each begin where the previous one left off and when they are over the next one begins.

    Mind you all, these divisions of time are for human convenience only. Their sole purpose is so that if I tell you that I will meet you at some future point in time you have a reliable way to know when that moment will be and therefore you will be ready. The chances that you will be early or late or confused are reduced to insignificance. The same applies to retroactive references. The same constructs have proved useful to describe with accuracy how long something takes or how long it takes or how fast in happens.

    Time passes continuously and is, apparently, only sped up or slowed down by mental perception, extremely strong gravitational fields or travel at ludicrous speed. Of these three only the first is common in daily life.

    I used to go out on NYE until the yahoos and screamers took over. I dislike yahoos and screamers intensely. Therefor I stay home and keep my own time. Peace and comfort, unbroken by artificial measures. My only lingering habit is the purchasing of a couple of new calendars with engaging photographs for each arbitrary division of thirty or so arbitrary days made up of . . . well, that should be clear by now.

  • Crudely Wrott

    err . . . second paragraph, last sentence should say “. . . how long some thing takes or how long it lasts . . .”

    Happy Yew Near, Tpyos.

  • dingojack

    Personally, I like to spend the afternoon of the 31st (usually hot, say 35 degrees [or 95 F, for you USians] plus), taking a nice cool ferry ride around the Harbour, then go home and watch the fireworks across the basin on the Parramatta River from my deck (with a cool drink) and on TV at midnight (with the sound muted).



  • nd yet I still love Vegas, which is even worse in that regard. What, you expect me to be consistent? And get off my lawn!

    Yeesh… and here I thought I was grumpy. 😉

  • But I do agree on the celebration thing. Overrated to the hilt. I went to bed at 10:30 that night.

    I guess it comes with getting old. The problem is, I was in the bed before my 68 year old DAD! O_o

  • bubba707

    I consider NYE to be amateur night. All the drunks make it a pain in the arse. Honestly, to me NYE is no big deal just to welcome in a new year that’ll be as screwed up as the old one.