I’m not hugely enamored with the idea of big New Year’s Eve celebrations. I certainly don’t need an excuse to drink Champagne – any old Wednesday night is reason enough for me.
We hosted a New Year’s Eve party a few years ago, and it was great fun. We made tapas, drank lots of sparkling wine, and toasted the New Year with friends. The guests left by a reasonable 1:00 AM, and I was up until about 3 AM doing dishes. On New Year’s Day the post-revelry cleaning continued for a few hours. That part is not so bad, it is after all, part of being a host.
My husband made several attempts to rally on New Year’s Day. Hours before, while I was busy hosting and getting tapas to the table and topping off champagne, I failed to notice that he was doing an extremely fine job at entertaining the guests, exactly as a host should. Having a great time, enjoying the champagne. It should have been a red flag when after the guests left, as I was putting away the food and clearing the living room of dishes and champagne flutes, he poured himself a tall bourbon and decided that it was a good idea to smoke a cigar outside on the porch – at 2 AM. Why not!?
He got out of bed around 5:30 PM New Year’s Day. It was dark outside. Not a great way to start the New Year.
We have all endured the repercussions of over-indulging in it’s many forms. I have had my share of what-was-I-thinking and how-did-this-happen day-afters. Thankfully, they have become fewer and farther between as I age. Perhaps a testament to wisdom gained over the years, but probably not.
A holiday dedicated to getting hammered (and I realize that New Year’s Eve is not the only one) just doesn’t make sense to me. Even if it is on high-quality booze. Champagne is the sneakiest of inebriators – the carbon dioxide in sparkling wine accelerates the absorption of alcohol, leading to more rapid and severe intoxication. I am a huge proponent of wine consumption, and I am especially fond of Champagne. It’s celebratory. It’s sensorial. It tastes good. I am also a huge proponent of feeling well the next day, especially if that day represents newness.
As in the past few years, I bought two bottles of Champagne to celebrate the change of 2008 to 2009. We will have one tonight to toast the successes of 2008. We will have the second one in 2009. Not to be opened at midnight, but with our mid-afternoon New Year’s Day lunch, a nod to starting the year with good food and good wine.
Will we have Champagne left in our glasses at midnight? Probably not. On any other night, I would have finished my herbal tea well over an hour prior and my husband would have to wake me for the countdown. And there’s always next Wednesday (or Monday, or Thursday…), to drink more Champagne. I think tonight, however, I may open the late-harvest apple cider that a friend gave me for Christmas to welcome 2009 at midnight. We do, after all, have a lot to celebrate this year. Cheers!