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By Ellen Bell

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Making Peace with New Year’s Eve

I have a confession to make: I have always dreaded New Year’s Eve.

It’s not that I don’t love a good party. I enjoy an old fashioned, joyful holiday celebration as much as the next guy. It’s just that this particular holiday is burdened with a magnum full of high expectations. No other night of the year carries more pressure to come through with the perfect blend of fun, frolic and festive merriment than the 31st of December.

In my opinion: New Year’s Eve is overrated.

When you’re young and single, the pressure begins to build right after Christmas. Like the old song, everyone wants to know “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” But when the big night comes, the mega-parties never quite live up to their billing, leaving a residual, post-party hangover of vague disappointment.

After our kids were born, my husband and I tricked New Year’s Eve altogether by celebrating with friends on the 30th of December; New Year’s Eve… Eve. No problem finding babysitters or making reservations on that night. On the official holiday, we watched old movies safe at home in our PJs, avoiding the party crowd.

As the kids grew, we took ski trips to Mammoth over the New Year’s holiday. One year, we secretly turned all of the clocks in our condo ahead three hours and celebrated at 9pm, telling the kids we were observing “mountain time.” An hour later the kids were sound asleep as we toasted to the New Year by the fire.

Now our “kids” have their own New Year’s Eve plans and they certainly don’t involve hanging out with their parents. We enjoy dinner with old friends at Antonello, ring in the New Year at a neighborhood party, and then walk around the block back to our house.

I’ve made peace with New Year’s Eve.

I put on my cone-shaped party hat, pop poppers, and bang pots and pans with gusto. I’ve learned to adopt a more realistic attitude. It’s one night of the year: a night to enjoy friends and family, to reflect on the blessings of the year that has passed and to hope for the year to come. It doesn’t require mirror balls, jumbo shrimp cocktails or too much champagne. (Although I personally find nothing wrong with any of these things)

A good meal. Some entertaining music with friends. A Monopoly Marathon. A safe drive home.

However you choose to observe it, the advent of a new year is certainly a cause for celebration. Whether your night is simple or sparkly, domestic or dazzling, spent in sequins or in a sweater,

I wish you and those you love, a very Happy New Year.

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