Party hat and favors

New Years parties a thing of the past

Melissa Smalley reflects on celebrating New Years’ Eve with small children

Where there once was the sound of music, laughter and jubilation, now all that is heard is the whining of an overtired child and the snores of a husband who fell asleep two hours too early.

For myself – and I imagine many other parents – New Year’s Eve just ain’t what it used to be.

In my younger days, plans for the big night used to be weeks in the making. The perfect fancy outfit, tickets to the hottest venue in town and of course a collection of rowdy friends from far and wide.

And when the clock would strike midnight, the boisterous celebrations and tipping of champagne glasses did not signal the end of the night. Quite the opposite, in fact – the arrival of the new year was often just the beginning of the party, which would stretch on into the wee hours of the morning.

Since becoming parents almost 10 years ago, we have tried to keep the New Year’s Eve party atmosphere alive. We’ve hosted house parties, ventured to backyard bonfires and even tricked our little ones into believing they made it up til midnight by watching the east coast countdown, three hours early on this side of the continent.

Last year, in the midst of what has turned out to be an everlasting pandemic, we had a movie marathon with our two children in an attempt to make it til the official start of the new year.

By 11:40 p.m., my then-six-year-old-son declared, “I’m so tired I think I’m gonna to throw up.”

That put an abrupt end to our lofty midnight goals, and the entire family promptly passed out.

This year, we didn’t even bother trying. Perhaps we were feeling weighed down by word of the spread of the Omicron variant, and the hot-off-the-presses news that the kids wouldn’t be returning to school in a few days as hoped and planned.

Or maybe we finally wised up to the fact that staying up hours later than what we’re used to would only result in days of fatigue after the fact.

By 10 p.m. this Dec. 31, we were all snug in our beds, drifting off to sleep without so much as a hoot nor a holler about the impending new year before us.

Sure, it sounds a bit sad. But in reality, finding ourselves safe, warm and healthy in our beds isn’t such a bad way to start off the new year, when so many in our community and beyond don’t have that luxury.

If I’m being honest, it was the most enjoyable New Year’s celebration I’ve had in a long time.


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