New Years Eve
There are lots of reasons to stay at home for New Years Eve. Triple time babysitters, unreliable taxi services, not being able to get into that slinky dress after the chocolates bender and not finding oneself ringing in the New Year with a kiss from a stranger are all reasons to eschew the glitzy party. “Staying in” on the biggest ‘night-out’ of the year need not necessarily be the poor-mans option. Once your children are old enough to understand that seeing in the New Year is a celebration, they will want to stay up and be part of the action. This weekend marks the passing of time - one year into another – as a significant event in our lives and so it is only fitting that we spend it in the company of our significant loved ones, including our children. Our eldest is ten, and for the first time this year, it seems truly bizarre that we would think of leaving him in the care of his grandmother so we can party with other people. Perhaps it is the year that is in it, but the Auld Lang Syne sentiment of garnering strength from the shared experiences of friends and family has never seemed more significant. New Years Eve and Day give us a second opportunity to do the Christmas entertaining thing but without the pressure of cooking sprouts and buying presents. A week into the holidays, most of us feel a bit sick. Certainly due to over-indulgence, but also a bit sick of our nearest and dearest and of slinging about the house and – for many of us too – sick with the thought of what lies ahead next year. The temptation is to just skim over the whole thing, either by going on one last bender or putting our heads under the covers and forgetting about it altogether. But it is worth remembering that the grind of “real-life” will be back on in a few days and the loved ones gone again for long enough. So surely it’s appropriate to treat this time as a celebration of having loved ones to love, and homes to love them in – a reminder of all we have got in our lives that we’ll be carrying through to 2012. Later today, I am going to look through my photo diary and drag a few photos across from my laptop to download onto a CD and share with everyone before midnight. I am always astonished looking back at how much our family have done in the past twelve months. School concerts, achievements at work, holidays – as the next year approaches it’s important to focus on how much life has happened since we last underwent this ritual. Time flies, but as well as the worry and the stress, family life is rich with love and laughter and it’s important to remind ourselves of that too. Even though I’ve got half a ham glowering at me in the fridge and am exhausted from Dealing With The Leftover Turkey - I’ve made a New Year menu. I’m splashing out on the expensive exotic frozen party nibbles I normally reserve for “visitors” and have called in the rib-eye order from my favourite butcher, Charlie in Killala, for New Years Day. I’m going to make everyone get dressed-up and play party games and be a proper family for one last time – on this last day – of 2014.