Like millions of other young, nubile Americans, we hold wild, drunken, boisterous NY Eve parties. Okay, not exactly. Like millions of middle-aged or elderly Americans we struggle to even stay up 'til midnight, determined to see in the New Year as a point of honor. Once my husband and I can no longer stay awake until midnight that will mean we're officially old, according to every definition of the word. As long as I have breath in my body I'll make sure I'm awake when the clock strikes 12:00, even if it means using toothpicks to prop my eyelids open or having the kids give me regular pokes with a sharp stick. Determination is what makes this country strong!
Or something like that.
My in laws come over every NY Eve, to enjoy food, games and general conviviality. We've observed the tradition since the children were tiny, sometime back in the 90s. Memory not being what it once was, invariably we'll have this discussion tomorrow night, "How long have we been coming over for New Year's Eve?" Blank looks. Weak guesses. Change of subject, then back to the food.
I do remember being together when the country was on red alert, as the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, convinced the end of the world was imminent, all computers would fail, and the world as we know it disintegrate into hysterical mobs running about carrying torches. When nothing happened we were all relieved, then realized how completely ridiculous the worry was in the first place, hindsight being revelatory of idiocy and all that. How long before 1999 we've been getting together no one seems to remember.
We'll enjoy a dinner consisting solely of hors d'oeurves, the theory being appetizers are actually more yummy (and easier) than a big meal. Plus, one can graze all evening, eating from small plates, so we can keep games going on the kitchen table. Games which my father in law inevitably wins. Not that I'm feeling particularly bitter or anything.
At midnight we'll ring in 2009 with Asti Spumante (preferable to champagne in oh so many ways), counting down with one of the local television stations. Ching, drink, kiss, confetti and all manner of noise and mess-making NY Eve paraphernalia, photos, then back to the games. We trot off to sleep when we can't hold our eyes open any longer, generally around 2:00ish. The kids inevitably complain they could go a few hours longer, but as soon as they hit their pillows they're out.
The next day the in laws arise hours earlier than we do, leading to the inevitable, "Were you going to sleep all day?" The answer, "Yes, if you'd let us."
Coffee, coffee cake, and other breakfast goodies make their brief appearance and disappearance. Then the ubiquitous conversations break out, always related to politics (especially this year, and I fear potentially inflammatory), speculation on the New Year, etc., before games and/or general conversation break out again.
The day ends sometime after lunch, with the departure of the in laws. The rest of us pull up a sofa and fall asleep. Sweet, gentle sleep. Another NY Eve come and gone. Three days to recover before work, school and getting on with life as usual after the holidays. Huzzah! I'll be glad to put this one to sleep for another year.
Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing, I hope you enjoy the holiday.