Grant Woodward: My New Year resolution is to give tonight a miss

The only place to celebrate the New year is in Sydney, writes Grant Woodward. Do you agree?
The only place to celebrate the New year is in Sydney, writes Grant Woodward. Do you agree?
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SORRY to be a party pooper, but I really don’t see the big deal with New Year’s Eve. If you ask me, it’s a ruddy inconvenience. A classic example of bad planning.

We’ve been eating and drinking ourselves silly for the last week and now feels about the right time to knock it on the head. At least that’s what my liver keeps telling me, anyway.

Except we can’t, because we’re expected to endure the forced jollity of New Year’s Eve – and I, for one, am going to need a few stiff drinks to get through it.

I’ve tried, but I just can’t get summon up any enthusiasm for this supposedly important date on the calendar. I’ve done the over-expensive organised bashes. I’ve done the parties at people’s houses. I’ve done the traipse into the city centre.

But I’ve discovered that what you do or where you go on New Year’s Eve can’t make up for the fact that it’s just not conducive to having a good time.

My main bugbear is the fact that there is so much pressure to enjoy yourself, but organised fun of this kind has never really floated my boat.

Then there are all those people, the rip-off prices and a shortage of taxis that makes things ripe for an early hours punch-up or three. In fact, the whole thing is a bit of a ruddy nuisance.

Personally, I blame a bloke called Aloysius Lilius. After all, it was he who apparently came up with the idea for the Gregorian calendar we still use today.

But what he hadn’t considered was the fact that when New Year’s Eve rolls around many of us have had our fill – not to mention that our pockets are feeling considerably lighter (the only part of us that is).

And don’t even get me started on the nonsense that is the New Year’s resolution.

According to the hackneyed tradition, tomorrow is meant to usher in not just a new year but a whole new way of life – and all on the back of a simple promise made to ourselves as the clock strikes midnight.

Only it rarely proves that easy, does it? A few years ago, a study by researchers at the University of Bristol studied 3,000 people and their New Year’s resolutions.

Around 90 per cent failed to keep them and the majority broke their resolutions within just nine days of making them.

The problem, in my book, is that the promises people make to themselves tend to revolve around the same two themes – losing weight and getting fitter. While there is nothing wrong with either of those two goals per se, you have to question if the post-Christmas period is really the best time to pursue them.

January, that most gloomy and often cash-strapped of months, isn’t the time then to be denying ourselves the little treats that make life bearable, provided we can still afford them.

So what to do to make New Year’s Eve tolerable? Well, the best one I’ve ever had was watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia a few years ago. This, I guess, is hardly surprising.

But what made that one so special was not that I was in Australia (although that did help), but the fact that it was mercifully different to all the others that have been spent sheltering from the drizzle and trying to squeeze into a packed pub.

New Year is meant to be about renewal, a fresh start. So how do we celebrate it? By doing the same thing we do every year.

My second favourite New Year was probably Millennium Eve, when I decided to shun a non-existent invite to the Queen’s rave-up at the Dome and ignore all the other invites from mates who were doing something really exciting – like going to an all-night disco in Rotherham.

Instead I stayed in with a good book and went to bed at 11.59 precisely.

And it was great. Plus it meant I didn’t have to listen to Prince’s 1999 until my ears bled.

Give me Christmas any day over this rigidly observed artificial ceremony supposedly marking the ending of one period and the beginning of another.

It’s not as if we wake up the next day and it’s suddenly summer, is it?

It’ll still be dark and cold tomorrow, it’s just that we’ll be negotiating it with a gigantic hangover.

If you ask me, things would be far better if New Year’s fell at the end of May.

Anything to break things up a bit and avoid the clash with Christmas.

And I really do love Christmas. The festivities have more of a freeform feel to them. Yes, there’s Christmas dinner but after that it’s pretty much up to you. Plus the telly’s always better.

I realise that this probably isn’t the majority view. Maybe everyone else loves New Year’s Eve and can’t wait for tonight’s festivities.

If so, I really do hope you have a wonderful time.

Me, I’ll be taking it easy at home and enjoying an early night.