At this festive time of year, many magazines feature countdowns for a variety of events and celebrations — Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hanukkah, Christmas, the dreaded fruitcake arrival and so on. These “timelines to success,” as they’re so appropriately called, help carry us through the holidays in a managed, thoughtful, stress-free way.
Personally, I like them. The calculated to-do lists keep us focused, they ease our anxiety and they enlighten the world to just how hard we are working. Note to self — remember to post countdowns on fridge this year.
Curiously, though, I’ve yet to see a countdown for a New Year’s Eve party. I can only guess it is either because (1) magazine writers can’t devote a comma more to one more blasted countdown or (2) the occasion itself is perceived as not “countdown-worthy.”
That is so sad. New Year’s Eve is indeed countdown-worthy, and I, for one, should know, having recently thrown a New Year’s Eve party. Seriously, without my trusted countdown list — which incredulously I had to construct myself, no thanks to all the lazy magazine writers — I don’t know how I would have survived.
Since New Year’s Eve parties get tougher to pull off with the older crowd, I’ll just be sharing a countdown for parties held for baby boomers and beyond, my set. You youngins don’t really need a countdown anyway. A couple dozen cocktail wienies and a big ol’ beer ball and you’re good to go, right?
New Year’s Eve party checklist for the sensible-shoe crowd
One month before: Create guest list. Shake your head in disbelief that it only fills a Post-it note. Stick the Post-it note to your spouse’s forehead, and exact a promise that both of you will spend the month making new friends.
Ponder menu. Consider the plethora of eating and digestive issues that seem to plague so many and plan accordingly — nothing too fibrous, nothing too binding, nothing too inflammatory, nothing that might dislodge a crown, nothing to set off a migraine, nothing, nothing, nothing. Put off menu decisions.
Buy alcohol. Bravo! Toast to your success.
Two weeks before: Write down engaging conversation topics that will get people talking. Think outside the box. Nix the ho-hum — greatest fears, most embarrassing life moments, politics, net worth — and go for glory — nap habits, favorite cereal, toenail fungus cures, thermostat settings.
One week before: Strategize how to get people to leave, preferably before midnight.
Buy more alcohol. Where did it all go?
Select outfit. Make sure elastic waistband hasn’t lost snap.
One hour before: Dim lights to hide dirt. Who has time to clean anymore?
Add more cayenne pepper to six-bean chili. High-five spouse for devising this brilliant strategy. You’ll be in bed by 9 p.m.
Review names of new friends who will be coming. Mall-walkers sure were friendly.
Ten minutes before: Set out fat-free, sugar-free, fiber-enriched Jell-O shots.
Slip on shoes with nonskid soles, and get this party started.