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.