Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: How Are You Ushering in the New Year?

This was a dumpster fire of a year and while I’m under no illusion that things will magically get better the minute the clock strikes midnight on Thursday, I do think we’ll collectively be in a much better place this time next year, and for that bit of hope I am grateful. And I also want to make a little bit of effort to usher in the new year in a way that might help open space for more joy and indulgence. To that end, I ordered a fancy dinner for two from a neighborhood restaurant that was a favorite when we moved to Brooklyn – it sits just at the end of the block of our first apartment, and before we had kids, we’d eat there at least once a week although we haven’t visited in recent years. It reminds me of easier, simpler times when we could make spontaneous dinner choices without securing a babysitter, and before similar restaurants sprung up all around our neighborhood, vying for our business. We’ll have filet mignon, a chocolate tart, plenty of champagne – albeit, in the comfort of our own home, alongside our kids, who will probably be eating re-heated empanadas or pigs-in-a-blanket.

Drew asked if we should get dressed up and I said, “Hell no, look what happened last year!” He asked what happened last year and I reminded him that we got all dressed up and then 2020 was shit. This NYE we will dress as we have nearly every day for the past almost ten months: leggings, sweats, slippers, I may or may not wear a bra. We’ll watch movies, although I’m not sure which ones yet. Something the kids will like until 9-ish when we’ll convince them – well, Joanie, anyway – that it’s midnight and we’ll play the New Year’s countdown on Netflix and put her to bed. Jackson will be harder to convince that it’s time for sleep, so he’ll probably stay awake until we bore him to sleep with an old black-and-white movie or whatever Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen are up to. And around 9, I’ll break out some fancy snacks, like this one I’m excited to make.

For New Year’s Day, I plan to make some homemade cinnamon rolls, a quiche, and some soup and a salad for dinner. I want to continue our week of R&R with the family – it’s SO NICE not to worry about remote school this week!!! – with puzzles and games and hiding in my bedroom when the kids start screaming at each other. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can get a long walk in – or, if my kids have their way, a short walk. Whatever, they can be bribed.

I have missed so much this year, and grieved for people and places lost forever. But I won’t miss much on New Year’s Eve. The quiet, cozy ones have been the norm since becoming a parent nine years ago, and some years I’m in bed long before midnight. I’m past the stage – or, maybe in the middle stage – of NYE high jinks, and I don’t long for the days of more. Not on NYE, anyway. But I am longing for a better 2021 than the 2020 we got, and that’s exactly what I’ll toast to Thursday night – over my filet mignon, wearing my sweats and maybe a bra or maybe not.

Happy almost New Year, everyone! We’ve made it. How do you plan to usher in 2021?

And, if you’re missing the drama, here are a few posts from the archives that deliver up some NYE angst.

“My Boyfriend Is Spending Christmas and NYE with His Wife and Family Instead of ME!”

“He Still Hasn’t Made NYE Plans With Me”

“My Boyfriend Didn’t Kiss Me At Midnight on New Year’s Eve!”

“My Boyfriend is Ditching Me on New Year’s Eve!”

“A Friend Groped My Wife At a New Year’s Party”

“My Boyfriend Left Me On New Year’s for a Vacation with His Friends”

“Should I Spend New Year’s Eve with My Friends or My Boyfriend?”

30 comments… add one
  • Miss MJ December 29, 2020, 10:11 am

    I cannot wait to see the door close on the shit show that has been 2020.

    We’re staying in, as well. I’m going to make lobster bisque and crawfish monica, and we can eat it off the fancy plates I took down for Christmas and haven’t yet put away. It’s supposed to rain, but if it doesn’t, we can see fireworks at midnight off the balcony and maybe share an outdoor toast with neighbor friends.

    Here’s to a brighter 2021, everyone! 🥂

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  • Kate December 29, 2020, 10:17 am

    Get ready for my Instagram post of me, my husband, and the dog in party hats and cocktail attire. But yeah, we’ll be eating fancy takeout at home and going to sleep by 9.

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  • ktfran December 29, 2020, 10:56 am

    On our last trip to Calistoga, January 2019, we fell in love with Tank Winery. They’re non-traditional in that they mix some shit and see what sticks. We’ve ordered a lot from them over the last two years and only once has a bottle been so/so. Their wines have fun names and they commission local artists to work on their labels. So… to end 2020, they came out with a red blend named Middle Finger. The label is a gold hand sticking up its middle finger. Yes we ordered some. And yes we will say goodbye to 2020 with a big effing middle finger.

    I’m also wearing a dress.

    That’s how the husband and I are celebrating the new year!!

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    • ktfran December 29, 2020, 11:02 am

      This is the description:

      “Finally, a wine that’s over the bullshit.

      Middle Finger is about embracing what matters while telling everything that doesn’t to get fucked. And honestly, we couldn’t think of a better way to cap off a year like 2020. So for this wine, we dreamt harder and went bigger than we ever have before. It’s like every moment in our 6-year history lead up to this.”

      It goes on. It’s a fun read.

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      • Miss MJ December 29, 2020, 8:20 pm

        I just looked this up and it’s sold out. (Knew I couldn’t get it by NYE, but I thought it’d be fun for Inauguration Day.) Bummer. But the description is fantastic!!

      • ktfran December 30, 2020, 8:52 am

        That’s a bummer. The 20th would have been perfect. I wish I could get all of us a bottle for that day!

  • veritek33 December 29, 2020, 11:27 am

    Staying home and my only request is cocktail wieners and sparkling cider. Husband of Veritek will probably make an elaborate dinner because he’s been looking for recipes the last few days. But we’ll be in sweatpants and I’ll surely be in bed before midnight as the child I’m gestating won’t allow me to stay up past about 10:30 p.m.

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  • Helen December 29, 2020, 2:35 pm

    I’ll fool my kids with the Netflix countdown around 9. We don’t usually stay up till midnight. My husband will start the black eyed peas, collards, and cornbread for the next day. Is that a tradition outside of the south? Its universal down here. Even if you don’t like black eyed peas and collards you choke down a few bites on Jan 1st for good luck & abundance/money. I definitely won’t be skipping it this year!

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    • Kate December 29, 2020, 4:08 pm

      Haha no, that’s definitely a southern thing! I don’t think there’s any tradition up here about food you eat on NYD. Except maybe a sausage egg and cheese.

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    • ktfran December 29, 2020, 4:16 pm

      We grew up eating sauerkraut on NYD. According to my paternal grandparents, you’ll have money in your pocket all year long. I’ve kept the tradition alive.

      If you were to see the family line of last names, you’d know I’m very german.

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      • TheLadyE December 31, 2020, 12:58 am

        I’m from Pennsylvania and we eat sauerkraut on New Year’s Day as well! 🙂 It’s definitely a German thing. My mom is here with me this year so I’m going to have her make dumplings with it. Mmm.

    • Copa December 29, 2020, 4:43 pm

      My mom is Mexican, we grew up eating 12 grapes at midnight.

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      • Helen December 29, 2020, 5:17 pm

        I have sauerkraut and grapes! I’m going to eat those too! I can turn this into something fun to do with kids. Any other lucky New Year’s Day food?

    • Kate December 31, 2020, 3:34 pm

      Here are 15 NYD food traditions from around the world, including the grapes.


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      • ktfran December 31, 2020, 5:16 pm

        It looks like my NYE will be Russian. Dirty martini and caviar.

  • Ange December 29, 2020, 5:09 pm

    I don’t know what we’ll be doing, probably not much as it has rained and stormed here for the last god knows how long and doesn’t look like it’s letting up any time soon. We’re in the middle of a La Niña weather event here in Australia so it has been wet, cold and dreary. Christmas day was so cold we had to wear long pants and hide inside. I guess it’s better than last Christmas and new year where we were blanketed by smoke and could hardly breathe but man, what a waste of a holidays. Aside from that can anyone else believe those devastating fires were still in this YEAR?! Oh my lord 2020 can’t go fast enough.

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  • Part-time Lurker December 29, 2020, 6:15 pm

    I can’t believe it’s been a year since the fires started! Lord it seems like it was only a few weeks ago.
    I grew up knowing black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread were a thing on NYD, but for the most part my family never actually did anything. Personally, I love collards with bacon and sausage so I make it a few times a year.
    Mr. PTL and I will probably just watch some TV, revel in the quiet, and head to bed around 10ish – we’re sooooooo exciting LOL On second thought, we live next door to some frat houses so we may have to end up spending the night on drunk patrol to prevent any property damage and avoid puke in the window wells. {sigh}

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  • allathian December 30, 2020, 2:45 am

    We’ll be staying in, eating hotdogs and potato salad. We may or may not stay awake until midnight, but we do have a half-bottle of sparkling wine. We don’t want to get drunk with a kid in the house, but a drink or two is fine. Our 11-year-old will probably stay up with us and drink cask-aged apple soda, a specialty here. This will be the first New Year’s for ten years that we haven’t celebrated with friends, because we’re so lucky in that both my parents and in-laws love to have our son stay the night.

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  • hfantods December 30, 2020, 8:50 am

    We are making some appetizers. Right now thinking baked Brie and pigs in a blanket. I thought about dressing up but honestly I’ve gained weight during the pandemic and I don’t really feel like putting on nicer clothes. I do want to put on lipstick!

    @Wendy, what is your recipe for cinnamon rolls? Do you start them the night before? I was thinking of making cinnamon rolls or a sweet roll during the holidays and NYD seems like a good day!

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  • d2 December 30, 2020, 9:43 am

    For years (starting in my teens) I usually worked on NYE. It paid well, but I hated it because of exceptionally drunk people, disgusting clean up, etc. That kind of killed my interest in going out so, with one exception*, I have not gone to NYE events as a participant. I either spend quiet time at home alone, or with a group of friends. This year it will be alone at home with a good dinner, champagne and maybe a movie.

    *The one exception was when a group of friends and I traveled across a couple of states to go to NYC to be in Times Square at midnight. We were all 19 or 20 at the time – what could possibly go wrong?! Those were more innocent times.

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  • Copa December 30, 2020, 1:40 pm

    We’ll be cooking a nicer-than-usual dinner and making our all-too-common-these-days cocktails. One of my boyfriend’s old friends organized a virtual trivia night that we’re going to participate in. I’m sure after that we’ll watch a movie or TV or something.

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    • Copa January 1, 2021, 12:42 pm

      We made crab cakes and cocktails for our happy our, then our nicer-than-usual-dinner plans went to shit because we weren’t hungry. We ended up making a frozen pizza and tater tots at like 10. Had more fun than I was expecting for virtual trivia. I actually started crying a little at midnight, which surprised me. We went onto our rooftop and saw fireworks all around. We could hear people cheering and chanting “fuck 2020!” We yelled it back. I know things will feel the same for awhile, but felt a little hopeful and a little happy and still so sad for the year we had and I cried. I’m sure the alcohol helped.

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  • Bittergaymark December 30, 2020, 4:17 pm

    Ignoring it. 100%. Honestly? There is nothing to celebrate. More -1 I fear 2021 will only be oh so much worse.

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  • Hazel December 30, 2020, 5:11 pm

    My 80- odd year old mother who lost her partner this time last year is in our bubble (she lives 200 yards away and none of us has been anywhere )so we will be singing and zooming and doing whatever the hell it takes make her feel less alone. And feeling so damned lucky that we can be with her. Also I plan to eat my own weight in tasty snacks as due to lockdown/menopause/lalala other medical stuff weight gain I have been denying myself; but for one night–bring on the veggie sausage rolls and samosas and crisps.All the crisps. God I have missed crisps. And cake. Cake might be involved. I’m Scottish so this is way, way, bigger than Christmas. I need to make this good for my Mum .There will be inebriated singing of Auld Lang Syne. also being scottish there may be a hint of alcohol at some point.

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  • TheLadyE December 31, 2020, 1:02 am

    I’ll be at home with my dogs and my parents, who finally visited for Christmas/the holiday. We always made this boozy frozen dessert called bourbon slush every year so we’ll make that, and play games, and have sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and probably hot dogs (turkey for me) on NYD. I’ll kiss both of my dogs at midnight. Hopefully in 2021 I’ll get to kiss my boyfriend again, before too terribly long.

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  • allathian December 31, 2020, 5:31 am

    I just took a look at some of the NYE posts Wendy linked to in this one. OMG, I can’t believe how emotionally immature some women are. Maybe it’s easy for me to say because I’m in a happy and stable marriage and I’ve been with my husband for more than 15 years. But even when I was dating, I don’t remember it being this hard to just open my mouth and ask about the other person’s plans and if they included me.

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  • Hazel December 31, 2020, 8:24 pm

    happy New Year everyone. Wishing you all good things,X

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed December 31, 2020, 9:53 pm

    Happy new year! We made steak and this potato recipe https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/crispy-cheesy-potatoes-stacks/ (absolutely amazing!). Just drinking some Prosecco and watching movies over here.

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  • ron December 31, 2020, 11:16 pm

    With hope and quite a bit of trepidation. I will feel more confident when Biden is actually peacefully inaugurated, but expect another tough year.

    We spent the day at home, with a long Zoom call with extended family.

    In a year like we’ve had, winter is the worst.

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