After celebrating 31 New Year's Eves, I feel as if I have some knowledge to drop on the subject. Particularly because last year was the first NYE I actually got right. If you're wondering, I'll be doing the same thing this year. Read on to discover my take on ringing in the new year while being a grown-up, keeping it together, and having an actual blast.
1. Advance Planning
If you wake up on December 31st without plans, it's already too late. A few days will do, a few weeks are better. Root around for a house party or (my favorite) a prix fixe dinner at a favorite restaurant. Make a reservation. RSVP. Set it in stone. Just commit. If you don't you'll have the following to deal with: Sold out events, unavailable tables, and lines to get in. FYI, it's supposed to be 25 degrees on NYE.
Last minute plans are for Thursday nights and 23-year-olds. A grown ass NYE takes foresight, effort, and commitment. Totally worth it. Sidenote: Rope in a partner in crime for your advance planning. Trying to find a last minute date for NYE is harder than finding a Horcrux.
2. Non Binding Clothing
Yes, that sequin bodycon number is just perfect for NYE. But you're only going to wear it once, you'll spend too much money on it, and you pretty much can't sit, eat, or move in the damn thing. Let's re-evaluate, hmmm?
Select a fun frock or perhaps some sparkly pants you can wear with a top you've already got in your wardrobe. Ace bandaging yourself into a glitter covered horror show isn't going to do you any favors and getting in and out of a cab in one of those things is akin to a "Fear Factor" mission.
A word on the topic of rompers. Yes, they're adorable, yes they often come with just the right amount of sparkle or in the universal inky hue that lets us pair them with virtually any accessory in our closet. But try to go to the bathroom. On NYE. When you're drinking. A lot. Unless that bad boy has a snap crotch, leave it at home.
3. Commit To A Location
This goes hand in hand with advance planning, but really it's more intense than that. Bouncing from location to location presents obstacles a-plenty. How will you get there? Taxi? BWAHAHA! Have fun catching one. Train? Have fun walking to the stop in the cold. Drive? Have you been drinking missy??
Stay in one place. All night. Have fun. Resist the urge for a change of venue. It will only cause stress, shivering, and blisters. Also trying to acclimate yourself to a party vibe 30 seconds before the ball drop is just too much pressure.
4. Know Your Exit Route
How are you getting home tonight? My favorite method is walking, but that admittedly does present lots of limits on where you can go for NYE. Pick a friend to share an Uber, a cab, or buddy up with on what I'd imagine will be a very festive train ride home. This is an issue of NYE crowded transit but also safety.
5. Eat Well
Too many of my NYEs have come with virtually no noms at all, thus ending in my inevitable drunken demise. Now, as a grown up, I select a prix fixe dinner at my favorite restaurant, and kick off the new year with something scrumptious that also helps prevent feeling like death on the first day of the new year. The whole prix fixe idea also gives me a clue as to my NYE budget, which, if year's past are any indication, can fly off the handle.
Trying a new restaurant can be fun, but I prefer to go someplace I know well, where I know I'm sure to have a good time. Bonus points if that restaurant also has a bar area that becomes a dance floor later in the evening. This whole idea paves the way for having fun at a table of people you love, eating food you love, and not stressing about one damn thing.
6. Drink Well (If You Drink)
I should have really renamed this section "take no shots." Drink a good glass of champagne, split a good bottle of wine, or have a craft cocktail or two. If you're imbibing, do it well. Enjoy your drinks. That's what they're there for. Getting drunk is, actually, just a side effect. For grown-ups anyway.
Shots are NYEs antidote. They end the fun early. They're senseless. They're expensive. They're full of peer pressure and they taste of sugar and bad decisions.
7. Recover Well
I have a little pre-party ritual that I'll share with you now. The only thing, literally the only thing that has ever prevented or aided my hangovers is a trick I learned from my friend Emily who is nothing short of a saint. It's Pedialyte.
I buy little individual packets of Pedialyte (yes, the thing for kids) that you mix in water. Before I leave for the evening, I set one next to a glass near a sink, together with a piece of fruit or some other healthy snack option that might, I repeat might prevent me from eating like a gross heathen when I return home.
Granted, I have to remember to actually drink it, but if I drink this little miracle before I go to sleep, I wake up in much better....erm...spirits. Also before leaving the house for NYE, I confirm the next day's brunch plans, as I imagine cooking for myself will be asking just a bit too much.
I make a few tiny resolutions every year. I figure if they're tiny, I'll have a better shot at keeping them, or won't feel too bad when I don't. This year:
1. Start keeping a planner. I never write plans down. I keep them in my head and this is just asking for trouble.
2. Like my apartment more. There are some minor adjustments and redecorating projects that will be going down in 2014. I'm excited.
3. Set up a small recurring monthly donation to favorite charity. Right now I'm thinking Charity Water but if you have some favorites please share.
For that matter, if you have an ideas on how to have a grown ass NYE, or make grown ass resolutions, let's have 'em.