New Year’s Eve was always a bit of a trauma wasn’t it? It was prohibitively expensive, full of drunken dramas and there was never a taxi home in sight. It was hard work, and involved a lot of personal shame. (Personally I’ve been reduced to weeing behind a bin on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and snogging a man dressed as a chicken as the bells bonged at midnight.)
With the pressure of expectation – the pressure to have the BEST TIME EVER - someone always had a meltdown and you had to hold their hair back as they puked into a Greggs carrier bag. Or you got separated and someone didn’t get your text and had to walk home 5 miles on their own in high heels and never spoke to you again. Ah, the hilarity.
And then you have kids, and going out on New Years Eve seems about as likely spending the evening cavorting around naked on the International Space Station with Benedict Cumberbatch. For a start, who the hell can stay up until midnight anymore? Don’t be so RIDICULOUS! These days your body completely shuts down straight after Midsomer Murders.
If you have plans to entertain though, as well as the superhero ability to stay up, things will probably not go as you imagine. Maybe you’ll draw on some eyes with eyeliner and throw on a dress that doesn’t have stains on it. Maybe you’ll arrange some nibbles on the kitchen table and invite some close friends round. You might have a vague idea of bringing the New Year in round a roaring fire, having some mulled wine and playing some amusing board games. (You saw it on an advert once for after dinner mints and it looked good).
In your fuddled, Christmas addled mind, the kids will take care of themselves and play nicely until falling asleep naturally under cosy crocheted blankets. You will welcome the New Year in with a feeling of warmth and friendship and your Syne will be Lang and Auld. If you have a dog, it will fall asleep in the warm glow of the fire, farting gently to itself.
In reality, though, the kids will be in exactly the same mood as your old friend in high heels who had to walk home on her own. They will refuse to go to bed, act like mini Kim Jong Uns and eat far too many cocktail sausages. The roaring fire of your dreams is actually a gas flame effect with melted Elsa from Frozen figurines on top of it. The mulled wine is cheap red heated in the microwave and served in Tommee Tippee mugs. The board games keep getting hijacked by overtired, ratty, tantrumming children who keep trying to stab each other with the tweezers from Operation. And the dog gets spooked by all the noise and does a poo on the rug.
If you do venture out of the house, though, it could be even worse. If you manage to find a nearby abode which will take your onesie clad, over excited children, chances are you’ll spend the evening wondering how the hell you’re going to going to carry them home over icy pavements after you’ve had some cava. You realise that you have one of three options. Either one of you will stay sober and upright, and spend the evening glaring at the other and passive aggressively snapping breadsticks in half, or you’ll both stay sober and upright (NIGHTMARE) and have a massive row at 11.52 and see in the New Year in a massive huff. OR you’ll both get supercalifragilistically smashed and try to convince the hostess to let you all crash in the spare room, and you will never be invited back again.
This is the reality of New Years Eve. You put on your pyjamas at 6pm and pretend it’s like any other evening. You put the kids to bed at the usual time, then you lie comatose in front of Jools Holland’s Hootenanny eating large amounts of cheese and drinking wine and listening to Swahili Nose Flute music accompanied by guy with no neck on a tinkly winkly piano. Then you fall into the deepest sleep of the year, only to be rudely woken at midnight by a shedload of annoying fireworks and the whole world singing Auld Lang Syne really badly.
Your children also be woken up and refuse to go back to sleep while you tend to them through your cheese coma. Eventually, at 4am, the house is quiet and everybody is asleep. Then at 6 am, your children get up for the day and jump on your head and you stare down the barrel of 2015 with a headache and six extra pounds of lard around your waist.