Happy new year! I hope that, whatever you've been up to, you have enjoyed the last few days of the past year and welcomed the new year in a way that suits you and makes you happy. Surely that's the way to start a new chapter, right? Start as you meant to carry on. Come to think of it though, even writing this makes me feel just a little uncomfortable because it seems to place so much importance on that one night. We make New Year's Eve so significant that things near-on inevitably fail to live up to expectations. I have for a long time felt uncomfortable with this night. The pressure to "make it the best night of the year", to have fun, to make plans and resolutions for the next 365 days has never felt natural to me.
For a start, I'm not very good with big parties and lots of people I don't know. All the "so, what do you do" small talk before the embarrassed silence on discovering you have absolutely nothing in common apart from being at the same party. If that night really is 'the most important night of the year', then why would I want to spend it with people I don't even know? Making it significant (if that's what I aim to do) to me means spending it with people I love and feel comfortable with. I prefer a quiet and small gathering which can range from family only to having a few close friends around. Again, if we're meant to start the year the way we are looking to carry on, then why would I want to do something that I wouldn't contemplate on any other day? One of the loveliest New Year's eves I recall has been with just the three of us, a cheese fondue, some bubbly and playing Scrabble all evening. Having cheese fondue has over many years become a tradition for us on the 31st December. It's the kind of dish that really is about sharing and being together around the table. The same table we share over the year with small touches and candles, placing more importance on warmth and comfort than glitz and show. So this New Year's Eve wasn't much different to other nights - apart from the sparklers on the table, waiting to be lit - and in a way I feel it's exactly that "normalness" (that's not a word, really, right?) that carries the kind of significance we might be looking to place it onto that one night. The significance of being with the people we love on that night and throughout the year.
Happy New Year!