I have a confession to make – I hate the concept of New Year’s Eve. After many years of pretending to enjoy it, I finally made peace with this but on the face of it seem that I am in the minority. The internet is full of posts and articles about how to have the perfect outfit, the perfect meal and the perfect night out, blah blah blah- no pressure there!
But dig a bit deeper and confess to not liking it you find you are not alone. I mentioned to a friend a few months ago that I wasn’t a fan of New Year’s Eve and she seemed to visibly relax. Quietly she said that she too hated it and had never actually found anyone who also admitted to this. I told a friend I was writing this and it hit a note with her too, which surprised me. My 26 year old physiotherapist told me that he was ‘over’ New Year’s Eve and the pressure to have a great time and that for the first year since he was 16 he was going to have a quiet night in with his girlfriend.
I think I was ‘over’ New Year’s Eve well before I was his age. As a family it was never really something we celebrated in any real way. As a teenager I would go out with friends for the obligatory ‘best night out of the year’ but I always found the evening to be rather anti-climatic. I think the best one was the day after a great party for my friend’s 21st when we all admitted in the pub by about 10pm that we would rather head back to get in our PJs and have a cosy girls’ night in rather than forcing ourselves to party. We had some bubbly, gossiped and laughed about silly stuff and went to bed just after midnight. And who can forget the hype around the millennium eve – how the millennium bug was going to bring the world to its knees – the evening itself was both overwhelming and underwhelming in equal measures. I think that was the last year I went to a party on the evening – my husband and I have since been happy to enjoy a night of indulgent food and drink on our own.
I have never really been one for resolutions – if anything I find a relaxing summer holiday is the time that I make decisions to make changes to my life not a change in numbers in the year date. If you want to make a real change in your life do it when it feels right not just because it’s the day everyone does it. Resolutions are usually something you don’t want to actually do and are abandoned before January is over. But I do like to reflect on the past year, usually on New Year’s Day, and I will admit that after a pretty rotten 2015 personally there is a feeling that a new year brings a clean slate. It’s also a good time to set positive goals.
Since moving to Copenhagen eight years ago I have seen a different side to New Year’s Eve. For Danes ringing in the New Year involves feasting on lobster, steaks and a marzipan cake tower washed down with champagne, often in someone’s home rather than out in a bar or club. From about 11pm onwards, Danes wrap up and head to the streets to shake off their usual conservative ways and madly set off huge boxes of fireworks anywhere they fancy – the middle of the road, a street corner and just the pavement. This madness reaches a crescendo at midnight. Popular street corners will attract a queue. Place like the city hall square are a danger zone with crowds of people setting off fireworks in a very confined space – not for the faint hearted or those who value their eyes.
The firework safety code is unknown here as people stand mere metres from the industrial strength boxes that they fire off close to apartment buildings and cars, they return to used fireworks and only in the last few years have I noticed children (or anyone for that matter) wearing safety glasses. Fireworks can be bought by anyone from pop up shops and tents from the 27 December until around 5pm on New Year’s Eve. From that date onwards post boxes are locked and the sound of bottle banks exploding can be heard.
The first year I found this love of crazy fireworks to be novel and exciting, if a little dangerous, but as the years have gone on I have started to find it a little annoying. So now added to my dislike of enforced fun and sharing of pointless resolutions on New Year’s Eve I now have to live in a war zone for the evening. Last year we decided to rent a little wooden cottage in the middle of a forest north of the city – it is the perfect way to make New Year’s Eve as relaxed and non-pressured as I like it. We are doing the same this year, just us, sunset on the beach, sparklers with my son in the garden, some great food, champagne, board games and in bed by midnight with the muffled sound of distant fireworks – just the way I like it.
This post was published in the Huffington Post here