Universal Advice for New Year's Eve

Partying, kissing, drinking, shooting; rioting, singing, driving, looting

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One thing you tend to notice, the more holiday conversations you have with each passing year, is how strongly some people both delight in and detest New Year's Eve. On the one hand, there are the classy, sparkly parties, lots of champagne, a sense of hope. On the other, there's a boatload of expense and pressure, as well as the subtle awareness that the holiday is, technically, just an accident of calendar organization--not nearly as concrete a way of marking time as a birthday or a religious holiday. Nevertheless, New Year's Eve is upon us, and the web is bursting with commentary for the occasion, offering up the free advice for which the Internet has always been famous. Here are a few of the suggestions we've seen--for everyone from the cynical to the clueless--on how to pull off a successful New Year's Eve:

  • Best Cities in Which 'to Be Single on New Year's'  Richard Florida loves figuring out which type of people are where. Watch him do his thing at The Daily Beast, crunching numbers to produce two separate lists: "Best Places to Be a Single Man on New Year's Eve" and "Best Places to Be a Single Woman on New Year's Eve"--nearly all of which, in the latter case, are somewhere out west in the desert. Best of luck, ladies.
  • 'How to Kiss on New Year's Eve'  Esquire's Tom Chiarella advises men who, presumably, have already stumbled upon Richard Florida's advice and are looking for the next step. The key paragraph:
It occurs to me that you can't do anything until you can kiss properly. There are foods you won't know how to eat, words you won't know how to say, constellations you will not be able to name. Sexually, you won't know where to turn. Nipples will confound you. Oral sex is out of the question. I'm not even sure you can drive a car if you don't know what it is to kiss. So get it right. Just don't ask me.
  • For God's Sake 'Don't Kill Anybody'  Hampton Stevens thinks "New Year's Eve is an awful, awful holiday" but decides, on The Atlantic's culture site, to help you navigate the night anyway. For starters: "The tradition of shooting guns to ring in the new year is as ancient as gunpowder," he writes. "But that doesn't make it any less stupid. Every year a few people get hurt or even killed by a supposedly harmless falling shell."
  • And Don't Wear an Embarrassing Hat, Stevens continues. "A proper New Year's partier needs noisemakers, balloons, novelty sunglasses, and, especially, silly hats"--but there are silly hats and silly hats. "Get a purple plastic bowler with pink feathers, or don a shiny green cardboard top hat. Anything but a cone." Take a look at his expanded list of suggestions, both on headwear and how not to screw up the countdown, here.
  • Do Yourself a Favor: Stay Home  Apparently The Guardian's editorial board is on Stevens's side when it comes to the matter of New Year's Eve.
Whose idea of a good time is this? Ticket prices so inflated they would make a Weimar German balk. Door queues long enough to feature as a traffic incident. ... A battery farm of party-goers ... The Olympic sprint to get as drunk as possible (despite the extortion at the bar) before The Big Moment. And of course, the bit when everyone cheers the bongs of midnight, as if they carried any more real-life significance than any other midnight. Why do we do this? ... The silent totting up of how much this expedition has cost. ... The grey daylight peeping in through the curtains. The certain knowledge that a quiet night in with the radio would have been better spent. The solemn resolution that next year you will do just that.
  • Or Have Some Good, Old-Fashioned Fun  Business Insider's Anika Anand rounds up the "world's biggest fireworks displays," complete with photos. Sydney, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Dubai, Helsinki, London, Arkanes  (that's in Iceland), Rio de Janeiro, New York City, and Waikiki in Hawaii are apparently all good bets.
  • Try the Back Porch  At The New York Times, Jason Logan draws a map of a typical New Year's Eve party.  Important feature: "the frozen deck," carrying "the better champagne" and "the smokers who seem to be having all the good conversations."
  • Beating Back the Cynicism: Be Grateful for People--Good Friends and Passing Acquaintances Alike  The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan explains the meaning behind the song Auld Lang Syne:

The question it asks is clear: Should those we knew and loved be forgotten and never thought of? Should old times past be forgotten? No, says the song, they shouldn't be. We'll remember those times and those people, we'll toast them now and always, we'll keep them close. "We'll take a cup of kindness yet."

"The phrase old acquaintance is important," says my friend John Whitehead, fabled figure of the old Goldman Sachs, the Reagan State Department, and D-Day. "It's not only your close friends and people you love, it's people you knew even casually, and you think of them and it brings tears to my eyes."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.