1 Get Married. That way you have a date for New Year’s Eve. And it’s a great tax deal – you can claim your partner for the whole year. If a big bash seems daunting (churches and party rooms booked months in advance), try a civil ceremony. Dress up in ordinary clothes and, along with witnesses, take a bus down to city hall. It may prove to be an uproarious and memorable ride. Then throw a reception for family and friends in your apartment. The downside is, it may be cold – 30 below when we did it, and that was on the old thermometer which didn’t include wind chill. Another negative, you miss all the great parties that your friends toddle off to after leaving yours.
2 Have a Baby. Again it is 30 below with a nonfactored-in wind chill (this is Edmonton before climate change). Also, this is before the days when you scarcely crawled off the delivery room table before being shown the door. You got to stay in a nice warm bed in a nice warm building and get a good nights sleep, the last irresponsible moments of your life before heading home to face a lifetime of sleep deprivation. Another positive: you don’t have time for mid-winter blues or seasonal disorder or whatever. In your sleepless fog you don’t know what season it is.
3 Go to a movie. Join all the other singles who don’t have a date. Some theatres have special activities, whistles and party hats. And there’s the chance that your soul mate will be sitting in the seat next to you. No violence please. This is the night for romance. Something like the recent La La Land will get you in the right frame of mind for a new year.
4 Keep your friends up past midnight. It’s your responsibility. One year we were invited to friends for dinner and they tried to hustle us off home at about ten. We had to dig in our heels. Offer to play board games, whist, crazy 8’s. Scrabble is a good one if you’re up to a mental challenge. Even if you yourself are flagging keep at it. It’s only an hour or so of your life in a good cause. I recall lying flat out on the carpet with my feet up on the couch leading a round robin of story telling. You may get hustled out rather quickly after popping the champagne cork, but next morning, you can give yourself a pat on the back. You saved your friends from a boring New Year’s Eve.
5 Attend a big ticket corporate or private social club party. You owe it to yourself to go to one of these in your lifetime so you know you never want to do it again. Treat yourself to an evening of lineups – coat check, drink tickets, drinks, food, washrooms. Treat yourself to a mad rush at the buffet table with polite elbowing and malevolent eyeing from the person behind because you’re not moving along fast enough. Some companies try to impose order by calling table numbers. Yours will inevitably be the last. It’s a competition with an inflated entrance fee and entertainment by other guests. Once, toward the end of the evening, a woman at the next table threw her drink into another woman’s face. Ah Calgary, I thought at the time, only a thin veneer between what we like to think of as our high society and our rough and ready frontier roots.
6 (bonus). Get Away from it all, preferably to an exotic destination. In Costa Rica take a New Year’s day-trip ferry to a sandy beach with the added questionable bonus of an indefatigable mariachi band. You may never ever want to hear a mariachi band again in your lifetime, but you are warm and sandy. Then there is always Hawaii. One memorable New Year’s Eve we had a table on an ocean front terrace with the sound of the surf gently lapping against the sea wall while we danced under the stars to, what else? the Hawaiian Wedding Song.
And I can’t resist one more.
7 Wait for the world to end. Or at least for all the computers to crash, which would be the same thing. What were you doing at midnight at the end of the millennium when it was predicted that computers would not know how to turn over their clocks? From our balcony, we watched for the airport lights to go out. When they didn’t, we were only slightly disappointed and opened another bottle of champagne.
Well, folks, wherever you were, whatever you did, I sincerely wish you all the best of health, peace, and success, whichever way you personally translate that word.