The middle-aged couple's guide to pretending you still give a f**k about New Year's Eve

NEW Year’s Eve was bad enough when you were young and carefree, but now you’re middle-aged with kids the magic is dead. Fool yourself that it’s still 2005:

Have friends over

Nothing says ‘Let’s party our way into 2024!’ like a huge piss-up, but it’s fraught with risk. You’ll have to lay on a spread, so that’s half the day in the kitchen when you could be doing f**k all in front of the telly. You’ve got a proper salary now so you’re expected to have booze in the house for others, not just you, so expect to spend a fortune on bastards who turn up empty handed. 

Then you’ve got to work out how to make the f**kers leave the moment Ben Ben stops chiming. Pointed yawning from 11pm onwards then scooping up their unfinished drinks and fetching their coats might seem rude, but at least you’ll get to bed at a sensible, middle-aged time.

Go round to theirs

You’ve been invited to a New Year soiree and your stupid mouth accepted before giving your brain chance to think up an excuse. In truth you’d rather die than drag yourself out of the house into the cold, so plan your escape ahead. Lying about getting back for the babysitter only works if you’ve got young kids, so a safer fib is having to let the dog out for a piss. 

It’s trickier if you haven’t got a dog, but just pretend you got one for Christmas and later say you sent it back to the animal rescue centre because it was too much responsibility. Try not to get so immersed in this lie you feel guilty for abandoning your imaginary dog.

Actually go out

Only for the hardiest middle-aged souls. You haven’t gone out for New Year for as long as you can remember, so maybe it’s not as traumatic as you imagine. Your worst fears will be lurch vividly to life when you find yourself in a pub packed with 20-something dickheads downing shots and already singing f**king Auld Lang Syne at 8pm. 

Make your excuses well before 10pm and leave for the sanctuary of home and the patron saint of the middle-aged at New Year, Jools Holland. 

Stay in and blame it on the kids

You’d love to accept the invitation to go out and celebrate, but you can’t get a sitter, so what can you do? Pull suitably disappointed faces and hope no one flags up the fact that the twins are 16 now, and you were perfectly happy to leave them to their own devices for a dirty weekend in Brighton in August.

‘We’re just having a quiet one in together’

Probably the safest option, even if all your friends correctly deduce what tedious old farts you’ve become. You’ll be tucked up in bed by 10pm, but record the midnight celebrations on the BBC so you can join in the conversation about how spectacular the fireworks were again this year.

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The Handmaid's Tale, and other shows that probably shouldn't have a Christmas special

WOULD Father Christmas visit Gilead? It seems unlikely. Here are some other shows that wouldn’t suit a festive Christmas special either.

The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s hard to say whether Commander Fred and his pals would be pleased by the notion of a virgin birth or if their fragile male egos would feel threatened into suppressing it. Either way, Christmas in Gilead would be a miserable affair. The women would manage a small sing-song in the Colonies, before being discovered enjoying themselves and dragged off to be tortured. Not very joyful.

Sons of Anarchy

Christmas isn’t usually associated with bike gangs, violence and murder, but maybe the Sons of Anarchy could take a day off killing each other and join the town of Charming in celebrating the birth of Christ. That’s until one of them accuses another of ratting them out to the police and has their eyeballs removed with a butter knife, before setting them on fire like a brandy-soaked Christmas pudding.

Line of Duty

‘Happy Christmas, mate’, Steve would mutter sadly to Kate as they ate a disappointing turkey dinner together in the AC-12 canteen. This would be followed, as is traditional in all episodes of Line of Duty, by a very long and intense interview scene, enlivened by the fact that Ted Hastings is wearing a crown he got in a cracker.

Game of Thrones

On the one hand, Game of Thrones has some Christmassy elements: snow, feasting, families that want to kill each other. On the other hand, the staple themes of the show don’t really lend themselves to feel-good festivities. No one wants a helping of incest and eye-gouging alongside their cheese and sherry, thank you very much.

The Book of Boba Fett

This Star Wars series describes itself as a space Western, and it seems unlikely that Christmas exists either on alien planets or in hardscrabble cowboy towns. However, it’s easy to imagine The Twins – Jabba the Hutt’s cousins – enjoying the gluttony and overindulgence of the festive season. Perhaps they could have their own tedious spin-off.