1. If you’re ordering take-out, plan ahead: And by plan ahead I don’t mean call in with your order at 18:00 instead of 20:00. Call the day before and check whether your chosen outlet will actually deliver on New Year’s Eve. The reply is likely to be “yes, but we only take orders until XX hours”. On one particularly memorable occasion I called extremely early (or so I thought), only to be informed that they had stopped taking orders the previous day. That NYE was memorable for the wrong reasons, because I ended up with the cheapest take-out burger in the history of all NYE fails. But it was accompanied by honest to goodness champagne, so that was okay.
On another equally memorable occasion, the orders had once again closed but by dint of whining I managed to convince the chef to accept our order. Editing a food and drink magazine does land you the occasional perk. Secure in the knowledge that I had saved the day, my friends and I sat down to a movie (Pulp Fiction, if I remember correctly) and got the wine flowing. The wine flowed. And flowed some more. It continued flowing until about half past eleven in fact, by which time we were drunk as skunks and I ran down the stairs to much giggling and shouting as soon as the doorbell rang – only to fall headfirst through the door straight into the arms of a highly amused deliveryman, pretty much doing a Naomi Campbell (with underwear on, I hasten to add) in his face. That was another New Year’s Eve I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
2. If you invite your friends for a movie night, make sure the version you “obtain” is compatible with your DVD player. Otherwise you might very well end up watching some crappy Italian variety show on the most important night of the year. Or squinting at Inception on your laptop screen. Your friends, of course, will never let you live this down and will make it a point to bring up the story up every blessed new year’s eve. No matter what activity you suggest the following year it will automatically be turned down by the posse simply on the strength of the previous year’s failure. The exchange is likely to go something like this:
“Hey, there’s a street-party in Valletta this year. Shall we try for that?”
“Nah. Last year your DVD idea totally sucked.”
“But..but…what does this have to do with it?”
“Well, based on your track record it’ll probably be another epic fail. Ideas, guys?”
And no matter how hard you employ your persuasive skills, your absolutely brilliant idea will be left out in the cold while the gang votes in favour of something stupid. Like watching an Italian variety show on television, for instance.
3. If you opt for something a tad brainy like boardgames, make sure there’s enough booze to smooth over the disagreements. Because there will be disagreements aplenty, most likely fuelled by said alcohol. When people drink and play boardgames, they tend to cheat. And they tend to become sore losers. I’ve seen the most easy-going group suddenly transform itself into bloodthirsty harridans just because someone popped an eye open during their Sensosketch turn in Cranium. The solution to such setbacks usually is to offer more booze in order to facilitate the transit from “irritable drunk spoiling for a fight” to “grinning like an idiot drunk”. Just make sure you have enough blankets for when you realise that there’s no way you want this lot’s attempt at driving back home on your conscience.
4. If you’re after an NYE that’s successful in the romance department, forget about impressing your date with an elaborate home-cooked dinner: You’re planning your first NYE together and you sure as hell don’t want to spend it at some open bar event with rioting teenagers puking over your feet while your date ogles that trashy blonde in the red and gold sequinned number. So you hit on the perfect solution – invite him over for an evening of R&R and you hit three birds with one stone. Flattering candlelight, a comfy sofa and privacy mean that post-prandial “cuddles” are guaranteed. You don’t get ripped off with some hefty bar tab that comes with diluted, unmarked booze and hors-d’ouvres of a highly questionable nature. You can actually have some witty conversation while enjoying the real champagne at midnight. A winner across all fronts. Well, with some creative adaptation the idea does work. What doesn’t work is spending the whole day toiling in your kitchen to prepare a three-course offering. By the time your guest arrives and your Yorkshire puddings have browned nicely, chances are that you will be a frazzled mess, won’t even have had time to get your hair done and will be ready for bed by nine. And by bed, I mean sleeping. Even if by some weird chance you have the stamina of a lion and you’re still an effervescent ball of energy by the time midnight strikes, you will still have to deal with the fact that your date is now nursing a happy and warm bellyful of food and booze. Which means that he will end up snoozing on the sofa anyway. Goodbye witty conversation and cuddles.
The solution if you really want a sophisticated night of witticisms and romance? Order sushi from beforehand and go easy on the wine. And don’t forget to book that appointment at your hairstylist and at the nail technician. Nobody wants a frazzled domestic ungoddess.
5.If you’ve decided to celebrate at someone else’s house party, always make sure you have a glamorous wardrobe backup plan. You never know where the evening/early morning will end. I was the victim of a “let’s have a quiet girls’ night in” that went awry some years back. It all started well enough. Lots of pizza, lots of DVDs, lots of guy bashing (it was that kind of phase) and lots of squealing and cheap wine. Of course, you don’t turn up for that kind of evening wearing your slinkiest mini. You turn up in jeans and a scruffy sweater. At least that’s what I did.
Only problem is that by one in the morning, when everyone had had more wine than should be legal, girly squeals started to sound annoying. Everyone voted Paceville. Everyone had gotten makeup and seemed to think it normal to dress up for a house-party – except for me. Driving home to get an outfit at that hour, with that traffic was out of the question. I only had one option, short of returning home tail between legs (hell, no). Borrow make-up and a glitzy top from my friends. Which I did. Only problem is I’m not exactly used to wearing bodylicious, plunging, glittery tops that scream “hey, I’m available”. I hoped guys would think I was wearing it ironically and treat me accordingly. I was wrong. Apparently there’s nothing ironic about plunging necklines.
Cheese alert: Here’s to good times, good health, good food, good movies, good friends, good music and good everything all through 2012.
This post appeared on The TV Guide (The Times of Malta).