As a kid, I used to hate these couple days following Christmas. I always felt a little lost and confused. A holiday we had just spent one, long month revving up for was suddenly over. No more waiting for Santa; no more fresh Christmas cookies; no more Christmas movies on TV; and no more pretty Christmas tree in the living room.
Luckily, I always cheered up pretty quick as we switched gears into the next best celebration — New Year’s Eve.
I’m not sure how my childhood friend and I started our own crazy tradition of taking turns spending New Year’s Eve at one another’s house, but it became one that lasted until we were in our early 20s.
It started off as just two young girls spending the night, watching movies, eating snacks at each other’s house. At that time, I don’t even think we stayed awake until 10 p.m.
But as we got older and started to realize “the real fun” came at midnight, we started staying up later, until we made it all the way through the Dick Clark show.
As we moved into our teens, we got more creative with things to do throughout the day and night of celebration and shenanigans. We’d kick New Year’s Eve off early making our own homemade confetti out of construction paper, and party poppers out of twisted recycled toilet paper rolls and tissue paper. Our moms always prepared the best “finger foods,” which we chowed down throughout the day and into the night.
We’d move the living room furniture around to create dance floors for when out favorite “boy bands” performed at the big Rockefeller Center party on TV. As the night would draw closer to midnight, we’d get more rowdy; our boom box radios got a little louder; and our dancing got more “funkier.”
And when the time would finally arrive, we’d get into position in the very front row at the TV, as the clock would tick down to one minute until the ball drop. We’d prepare our poppers and started to scream as we counted 10, 9, 8, 7 … We’d hug each other and shout a little louder. 6, 5, 4, 3, pick up popper, 2, 1 … HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’d always shout at the top of lungs as we’d yank apart our poppers and throw confetti all around our parents’ living rooms (we always promised clean-up duty the next morning). One year, her parents, I’m sure a little reluctantly, let us take pots and pans outside and bang them together at midnight as we welcomed neighbors into the New Year.
While these “hoppin’ parties” only consisted of the two of us on that one night, the times we shared and the many hilarious memories we made, will never be forgotten. When I look back at those crazy nights, they are filled with no worries, no cares, just laughter, Chex mix and that famous strawberry-kiwi punch.
We “lived it up,” as they say.
Eventually my childhood friend and I went off on different career pathways and began to live different lives, which unfortunately have since kept us a part on New Year’s Eve in our adulthood. While I feel so lucky to have been able to experience such great memories as a kid, I now have a hard time attempting to “beat the fun” we had as just two teenage girls.
These years, as the clock ticks down closer to midnight, I always look back, think about where and what my friend might be doing, and for a minute, place us together in her parents’ living throwing confetti and dancing around like fools.
While I’m sure it’s completely unacceptable for a 25 year old to go screaming up and down the driveway banging pots and pans together, a part of me just feels the urge to do just that this year. I’m sure my quiet neighborhood would not appreciate it, but hey, New Year’s Eve only comes one night out the year… Right?
BCR Staff Writer Goldie Currie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.