Do This Don't: Stay In Alone on New Year's

I declare December 31 a holiday just as fit for quiet and reflection and snacking alone as for partying until you are sick.

Dec 29, 2011 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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This New Year’s Eve, I’m probably just staying home. Alone.

And you know what? I’m totally OK with it.
 
There was a time when this prospect would have depressed me extravagantly. But I'm 30, single and newly moved to the DC area after years in New York and London, both towns where I wouldn't dream of staying in on a party holiday.

My last 7 New Year’s Eves have were epic in scope and location: the one in Arizona spent it drunk in a hot tub, the epic Brooklyn loft rager where I fell down a slippery flight of stairs, the French pub in Highgate where the owner locked us in and ushered in the New Year by blasting “The Final Countdown.”

I loved it -- the bitter cold, the swilling of Andre, even the getting-frenched-by-a-bald-orthopedic-shoe-salesman at Midnight. Shudder.
 
But this year, my friends are all spread out now and in different states and cities. I’m kinda broke from Christmas gifts and travel, and again, I just turned 30.

I'm not thinking of it as being alone or deprived, but taking one mellow, self-imposed holiday from the holidays. Pamper myself a bit and reflect on my 2011 with dignity, in glasses and pjs. I’ve never not done something for New Year's, the last, most exhausting of the holidays. Perhaps it’s time!
 
Here’s my plan for solo New Year’s Eve, which I'm declaring as a holiday just as fit for quiet and reflection and, yes, snacking alone as for partying until you are sick. 
 
1) Take a long bath with a good book.
 
I think there’s very little in life that can top a hot bath and a good book for 30-60 minutes. Pour in some bubble bath (or shampoo, my favorite suds to soak in), light a candle, put your hair in a high ponytail and relax. If you wanna take a cocktail with you? No judgment.
 
2) Make myself an elaborate meal.
 
Snacks are awesome, and I know some people aren't into cooking. But making something difficult can have a really nice, therapeutic effect, like making birdhouse you can put gravy on. Pour some wine, put on some music, maybe make something that takes five hours and makes your place smell good. I’m thinking something that requires a recipe and maybe tricks from my good friends Ina Garten or Julia Child. I’ve always wanted to attempt beef bourguignon. I’m going to go to a Whole Foods or somewhere local and splurge on the best ingredients. I’ll also be saving a fortune on travel and bar tabs.
 
2) Mix up a drink
 
Whether your poison be bourbon or wine, beer or vodka…treat yourself to a few drinks without going overboard. It is New Year’s Eve and the end of the Holidays. You deserve it. Yes, being alone on late-night holiday means you can theoretically drink half a bottle  of a bottle of Maker’s Mark, but that's a recipe for depressed drunk dialing and a hangover. So I’m going to say a couple glasses of wine or a few nice cocktails. Just enough to feel a little buzz and sleep luxuriously, after. If you don't drink, a milkshake will put you right the hell out and have the same dopamine-rich effect.
 
3) Run a marathon.
 
Of television, duh. Avoid Dick Clark/Ryan Sechrest/Anderson Cooper and watching a big ball drop, if you can (hello, anticlimax). I like to recommend mini-series that absorb you and would completely alienate your significant others or friends if you subjected them to watch. Personally, I bought myself a present for Christmas: the 30th anniversary edition of “Brideshead Revisited.” I will ring in the New Year with Jeremy Irons and eccentric Oxford men who walk around with Teddy Bears. Swooooooon.

And you know what? When you're alone, there's nobody stopping you if you want to go to bed early. The holidays are draining, and sometimes the best midnight kiss is a faceplant into your duvet. I mean, come on. You have work on Monday.