December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve: Have Fun! (Or Not).

Keeping an Eye on the Clock Tonight?
Flickr photo credit

Let's finish out the year at Cranky Fitness with a post that's a little bit Cranky, shall we?

What with Merry Sunshine spreading optimism and cheer and brightening up the blog with Reindogs and such, it's time for some balance! Yep, the Crab half of the blog is overdue to crawl out from under its favorite rock, snap its claws a few times, and supply the requisite grousing.

Sure, I could try to be helpful and make suggestions as to how to have a safe, sane, and sensible New Years Eve, but what fun is that?

Instead, let's address a more fundamental question:

New Year's Eve: Best Night of the Year, or Holiday from Hell?

It all depends on your perspective, I suppose. Some people love New Year's Eve! They always have a grand time no matter what. I don't know any these people myself, but I do know they exist. Because every year the newscasters interview folks in Times Square who are freezing their asses off, waiting around in a crowd full of drunken strangers for some stupid ball to drop, and they all claim they are having an absolute blast and that it's the highlight of their entire year! Go figure.

What's my take on New Years Eve? Well, I think it's overrated. But even crabby types can find a few positive things to say about it:

So What's Good About New Year's Eve?

1. It's a late-night celebration that comes specially equipped with it's own day off to recover from it. Because the only real point to New Year's day is to do... nothing! Sure, for some, there is football to watch. Or if you're a shopper, there are sometimes super-discounted one-day sales to go to. (A great option for those of you who have always wanted to be chased by angry bulls in Pamplona but find yourself short on airfare). But for most folks, New Year's Day is a holiday without any holiday obligations. There are no presents to buy, eggs to hide, costumes to don, or anything else you have to do but nap on the couch.

2. There are sometimes fireworks.

(Personally, I think I'll wait for a warm evening in July to watch fireworks).

3. New Year's Eve comes a week after Christmas. Why is this handy? Well, by then many people have totally overdosed on the whole Sentimental, Wholesome Family Togetherness thing. It's the perfect time time for a rowdy, naughty, late-night, adult holiday! If there is ever a time and place for drinking too much, staying out too late, flirting with or even hooking up with someone inappropriate who will not remember who you are the next morning--New Year's Eve is the night for it.

4. New Year's Eve is a great Resolution motivator. If you were planning to tackle a bunch of tough resolutions requiring you to get tons of punishing exercise and refrain from any fun indulgences, then going way too nuts on New Year's Eve is a great send-off. With any luck, you can stockpile enough guilt and self-loathing to power right through the first day or two of the New Improved You! (After that, you're probably on your own again.)

5. How sad is it that I can't even think of Five Good things? Oh wait. Champagne is very tasty. There we go!

What's Lame About New Year's Eve?

1. There is nothing all that exciting about the pinnacle of the New Year's Eve celebration: Wow, the clock goes from 11:59 to 12:00! Yes, there are the obligatory screams of "Happy New Year," and the sound of those weird horns outside that people always seem to blow (you know the ones, they sound kind of like walrus mating calls). Otherwise, it's pretty much the same thing as a clock going from 2: 16 to 2:17 p.m. People seem to get all excited and invest a bunch of significance in it, but I've never managed to care much and always have to fake it. Anyone else?

A notable exception: if midnight comes and you get a passionate and unexpected kiss from someone you fancy, that's pretty awesome. But that would be awesome any night of the year! You do not need to be at a party wearing a silly hat to enjoy that scenario.

2. You're supposed to stay up at least until midnight in order to celebrate New Year's Eve. (I know, you young folks are saying to yourself, so what? But just give it a few decades...) Actually, midnight won't do it either, since it's considered poor form to brush and floss your teeth, put on your pajamas and go to sleep in the middle of a party, whether it's your own or someone else's.

3. Got babysitter? I haven't had to deal with this one personally. But I imagine if you've got kids and you found yourself invited to an Adult party that actually sounded like fun--what a terribly convenient thing that everyone else in the entire world needs a sitter the same night!

4. Drunk people drive on New Years Eve. Be very, very afraid.

5. There is way too much pressure to "do something" or "be somewhere." If you don't have anywhere to go on New Year's Eve, there is often the fear of being seen as a loser. Oddly enough, even people who don't want to go to out can still end up feeling self-conscious about enjoying a perfectly pleasant evening at home.

Are you are one of those people feeling pressure to find something to do? Cranky Fitness (noted authority on matters of Coolness, Lameness, and Threats to Self-Esteem) hereby declares:

Staying home and Not Doing Anything Special on New Year's Eve does not make you a Loser; it is instead a sign of Mature Self-Confidence.

So it's official! Grab a good book, slip in to your slanket, hunker down in your most comfortable chair or couch--and enjoy your New Year's Eve!

So what will the Crab be doing tonight?

There are two possible scenarios. First, the fun scenario:

1. This post was pre-written and she is already off with the Lobster camping somewhere on the coast of Northern California. They will enjoy a bit of champagne and will no doubt turn out the lights well before midnight.

The Not So Fun Scenario:

2. As I write this a few days before our scheduled departure, the poor Lobster is sick with the stomach flu. It is so sad to watch a loved one suffer a nasty bug! She is starting to get better (hooray!) but...

Unfortunately, the only type of virus I ever seem to catch is, you guessed it, the stomach flu. If so, my New Year's eve celebration might be taking place in the fetal position, curled up next to the toilet. This makes that whole freezing-ass Times Square Ball-Drop thing suddenly sound like a lot more fun!

So have a great New Year's Eve, however you choose to celebrate it (or not).

And what do you guys like or hate about New Years Eve?


  1. HAPPPPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU and the Lobster (whom I need to point out again I was fortunate enough to meet & shake her claw in person).


  2. So hear you about the “pressure” of it! I always feel like it’s some kind of barometer of last years friendship. How lame is that?

    I don’t drink which can make NYE really, really annoying depending on what party I go to. My husband and I planned on going to a sans-alcohol party this year to play Wii and board games (yea, 25 year olds acting like 80 year olds!) but the host got sick and canceled the festivities. We’ll probably stay home and relax since I don’t feel like scrambling for another invitation or figuring anything out. I’m lazy.

    I’m excited about the day AFTER NYE though: my husband and I always do something new and active on New Years Day. Tomorrow we are going to the Florida Cavern’s Park to look at all the cool underground caves and formations then going on a long hike. One of the benefits of not drinking = being able to enjoy your day off!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oops, can't type today, previous comment canceled due to multiple weird errors!

    I think in all my many New Years, I can remember two really good ones, a whole lot that really sucked, and probably just as many that weren't memorable at all. It's not my favorite holiday.

    And our plan is to hide out in the back of the house while my 14 year old and his PS3 friends oversugar themselves, hopefully falling into a video game stupor sometime around midnight so we can go to bed.

    (and here's hoping that Crabby's off doing something fun, rather than worshiping the Porcelain Goddess)

    Happy New Year to all!

  5. I'm definitely leaning towards the holiday from hell end of the spectrum. I never plan anything because, 1) it's overrated 2) as you mentioned, good luck getting a babysitter 3) you can't pay me to get on the road with a bunch of drunk drivers. But when I'm already in the middle of a depression spell, and I am, oh boy am I ever, then eventually sometime in the evening I have this realization that I'm alone and all over the world people are with people they love and I'm sitting on my crappy sofa with a bottle of wine watching them enjoy themselves on TV and once again, I have no one and that can get to even the most stable of people. Which I am not. I think tonight I'll finish the wine early and go to bed trying to not think about the clock changing from 11:59 to 12:00.

  6. I've tried the big deal celebration thing in the past (waaaaay in the past) and simply do not get it. The new year gets here whether I'm awake for it or not so I rarely bother. Perhaps a nice meal, glass of wine, that's about it.
    Happy New Year, Crab and Lobster.

  7. NYE is just okay. We are old (37)and so OVER the whole going-out-partying-thing. We usually just rent some movies, make some Rotel dip, drink a little wine, and by 10:30 we are asking ourselves, "is it midnight yet? Can't we just go to bed now????"

    But I love New Year's Day because it is a paid day off, and I can just sit around and do whatever the heck I want! LOVE IT.

  8. The Bag Lady is invited to a house party. That said, she spent most of last night in a close encounter with her Porcelain Goddess (waves at Lobster - "thanks for sharing! Hope you are feeling better!"), so her New Year's Eve celebration might turn out to be pretty tame.
    She just hopes she feels better by New Year's Day, which is all about family, friends and good food at her brother-in-law's house!

    Happy New Year Crabby and Lobster and Merry.... wherever you all may be!

  9. Happy New Year!! I used to feel pressured to go out and have as much fun as a human possibly can, but realized just hanging at home or at a friend's is a little more my speed these days.
    We will see if I make it to midnight! :-)

  10. I like having the day off to do something outdoorsy with the kids. I like to do a little self-reflection. :-) Not much for the party night stuff.

  11. I was never interested in New Year's Eve because as far as I'm concerned, the year starts in the fall. (I argued with my mother over this when she was trying to explain the calendar to me when I was four--"But that's WRONG!"--so naturally I was pleased to discover that Rosh Hashana is at the right time.) There was a period during the nineties when I went to parties that friends were having, but they weren't really different from the parties they had at other times--just what happens when you collect a bunch of musicians who don't actually need to practice right now.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  12. I've had rotten luck with NYE since my 20's, but lately I've been sort of getting into that. Yes, I have my years where I'm like April on the couch with the Asti Spumante, but last year I really enjoyed it, by myself, and then after midnight came across this (on Mojo, I think):
    (you have to cut & paste) and it made my night. :) (Which probably says really a lot about me for better or worse ;)

    Tonight, I'm going to an early dinner with the extended fam, picking up my daughter's girlfriends to sleepover with my mom & dad "supervising", and heading out to the meditation center to chant until at least 2am before heading back to catch some shuteye before fixing the girls breakfast and watching the Rose bowl Parade on HGTV (I'm addicted to HGTV). I haven't looked forward to a NYE so much since I was a teenager.

  13. All the best Crabby/Merry!!!

    Every New Years is a little different as we prepare for another ride around the sun!

    Hang on, cause here we go... :-)

  14. I am spending NYE with my sons and a Boy Scout video game all nighter...that lasts until 8am! Yikes.

    On another note, a comment. I love Dick Clark, but the guy needs to let it go. Really.

    Oh, and what's up with the word verification on the comments? Did I miss something?

  15. Happy New Year to Merry, Crabby, and the Lobster!

    i guess i'm one of the lame ones... even when i was in college. I remember one year that i went out to the bars with a bunch of people.. and i was sitting there, just WAITING for the clock to tick over, so i could head home.

    this year? dinner at the inlaws (depending on the roads, since it's been snowing all morning) and then my aunt will be coming over to our house. maybe we'll get crazy and open the board game i bought last month....

  16. I feel the crankiness come out on New Year’s too. Usually in bed early and because of "father time" I find that I now have to pee in the middle of the night. Usually get up by midnight to curse the next door neighbors kids for setting off fireworks. Have to nudge my wife to get her give up some of the covers when I get back to bed and think nothing more until morning.

  17. When I was younger and worked for the phone co. I had to work on NYE. I felt sorry for myself (I was young!) I walked out of work about 1:30am and watched a guy across the street slam into a phone poll. That was an eye-opener.

    I will be asleep most likely when the clock strikes. That extra second the great time gods are adding is just too much for me to stay up for.
    Happy New Year to all.

  18. I always joke that Jan 2 is my favorite day of the year because everything is FINALLY over. I've been known to go to bed before midnight on New Year's Eve in the past :-) This year I'm headed up to the CO mountains for the next two days to celebrate in Steamboat Springs.

    Happy New Year!!!

  19. I've never really understood the NYE thing (and I'm one of those young people!) Nope, I'll be sitting my happy self at home, asleep way before midnight and just enjoying the fact that I have a paid day off!

  20. Hope the Lobster gets well!

    New Years Eve is just an excuse to party and drink champagne. I'll toast to that.

    And am even getting my friends to come over to my place to celebrate so that I don't have to leave my apartment and venture out into the cold. That's the way to do it:D

    (Car keys will be taken away from lots of people too I expect. Wouldn't want to contribute to any drunks on the road).

  21. When I was in the restaurant and club business, NYE was one of the nights we derisively referred to as "Amateur Night."

    It's been a long time, but I've kept a lot of that mindset. Holidays that bring out crowds of people aren't for me, especially if those people don't normally go out and/or drink. The amateurs get obnoxious, they create needless drama, and they upset the usual culture at a place. Of course I'm not referring to everyone, but it only takes a few bad apples to create an unpleasant environment for everyone.

    Of course, with age comes a lowered tolerance for drama, and that's a big factor for me as well. What was fun and amusing when I was 22 is obnoxious at 42 and why spend big bucks and risk my neck on the roads just for the displeasure of being annoyed?

    I like the idea of camping on NYE, though. *sigh* Maybe I'll suggest that to my husband next year. We always have Christmas Eve through New Year's Day off from work, so it's quite doable.

  22. Any holiday where you have to keep an eye on the clock as you celebrate is not going to be an ideal celebration.

    Usually I spend the day before NY frantically cleaning the house so I can start the new year able to find the remote or the computer or the stove...

  23. (Note to self: remember to go back and see Leamur's video when you're not at work.)

    And: "folks in Times Square who are freezing their asses off, waiting around in a crowd full of drunken strangers for some stupid ball to drop..." What's more, they are standing there packed in like sardines, and will have to pee really badly without being able to get anywhere to do it, and so many of them just do it where they stand. How sorry is that.

    What I love to do on NYE is work on something I wanted to get done that year. This year my plan is to clean out the closet that the Christmas stuff goes in, since I need to be putting all that away soon anyway. AND, my daughter Sylvia is visiting, which means we actually will be partying some, I suppose! I do like Champagne.

  24. I'm not a fan of the crowded bars, so BK and I will be drinking champagne and eating pizza rolls in the comfort of our apartment. And we're both excited about the passionate kiss thing (we've never had the New Year's Kiss).

  25. At 23 I think NYE is a fantastic event because "you have a built in day off" and everyone else in my age bracket tends to be hyped about it. This year I had back up plans for my back up plans. I am forgoing the bar, a mascurade party, and an ex's birthday party. Instead, I am visiting the BF at his parents place, with his BFF, and we'll probably take in a few drinks at the pub then go home and play games all night. Lame by comparison, but I'm going to wear my party dress regardless.

  26. My hubby and I are having a private party for two at home. Going to start the new year with a bang, if you know what I mean. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

    Kids are coming over tomorrow for a day-long Simpsons marathon while munching on party foods.

    Driving around on New Year's Eve appeals to me about as much as bungee cord jumping with a frayed cord.

  27. I, too, am one of those lame (old) people who would much rather go to bed early than stay up to watch a ball drop. I stayed up until midnight last night, though. Is that good enough?

    Happy New Year everyone, and be safe!


  28. I'm sure we'll be home, but not sure what we'll be doing. I'll see if we can pysch the kids out and get them to believe that 9 p.m. is actually midnight. I know we could fool Thing 2 (age 4) but not so sure about Thing 1 (age 7). For sure we won't be beating last year when the cousins were visiting.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  29. I have never gotten into celebrating New Year's. I am in the stay home and go to bed at a normal time camp. Especially in New England where, no matter what it has been doing all week, like being 60 degrees out on Sunday, it will inevidably be in the single digits on New Year's eve. Which it will tonight, after it has snowed all day. Whoohoo.

  30. Sad about the Lobster and the stomach flu...I hope you don't catch it.

    And Happy New Year!!! And doing nothing is the new cool thing to do. ;)

  31. Happy NEW YEAR!

    Plans include getting food comatose on steaks & mimosas! Not sure if we will make it to 10pm, but here's hoping!


  32. Happy New Year! I'm excited to see what 2009 brings Cranky Fitness! And I'm with you - I find New Year's a bit anti-climatic. We'll probably be in bed by 10:)

  33. Listen, New Day's are much more to get excited about than New Year's. New Day's come EVERY day - I don't have to wait to fix up all my both-ups for another whole year. I don't have to have any resolutions (except to make none), but just a little 'to do' list. And hey, if I want (which I don't) I can drink Champagne every day - I don't think the New Year fairies would punish me - maybe they're too busy making sure there's enough champagne to provie many many hangovers over New year to notice.
    P.S. Hope you get to go camping and not crawl up round the 'said' bowl.

  34. Good karma has come my way and good friend is taking me to a Top Chef like restaurant. Swanky and culinary heaven. I will have a Lychee Martini!

    I'm happy to let go of 2008, and make room for 2009!

    Happy New Year Cranky and Merry!

  35. Your blog is great, I've been reading for awhile, but commenting for the first time. Happy New Years!

    New Years can best be summed up by Hugh Hefner - 'It's amateur night, I prefer to party the other 364 days a year'.

    That's pretty much how I feel...why should I pay a bar or club $50 to go there, when the night before they tried to lure me in with free drinks?

  36. happy new year!

    brandon and i went downtown for a date night to rodizio brazilian grill (one of those places where they walk around with meat on swords and you gorge yourself).

    then ... well ... dinner was done by 9:15. we were on the light rail home by 9:30. we were home by 10:45. we were in bed trying not to fall asleep by 11:15 ... and barely stayed awake until midnight to kiss each other and promptly roll over and fall asleep.

    so, quiet night, but enjoyable nonetheless. partying was out of the question this year anyway as both of us had to work today.

  37. I have a great neighbourhood and 8 families on our street get together each year at one house. We all bring some portion of the meal. Drinks flow, shooters get shot and nobody has to drive. It works for me. Hope you remained well and the Lobster felt better in time for camping. Happy New Year to you both. :)

  38. "...what a terribly convenient thing that everyone else in the entire world needs a sitter the same night!"


    I know it's 2009...somewhere in the back of my head. It's just a fact though, like in the same list as "I need to do laundry" and "must clip toenails."

    I've been an especially huge party pooper this year.


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