New Year’s Eve can be the most difficult holiday to get through after a divorce, especially when people are paired off as if on Noah’s Ark. You may have gone out with your spouse to parties for the last decade or two and are at a loss what to do now. The first step is to decide if you want to be celebrating New Year’s Eve with others or if watching the specials on TV with your cats is preferable. If you dread being alone and the children will be with their other parent, here are some ideas:
1. Ask other singles what they are doing on New Year’s Eve. My divorced friend’s singles group at her Anglican Church does lots of fun activities, including on some holidays. See if you can tag along with someone else and go to their club or church’s holiday gathering.
2. MeetUp.com is global and has a variety of groups and activities: social, hiking, book clubs, divorce, dining, and so much more for varied interests. In general – one meets new people (single gender or mixed), and this is a great way to have stimulating conversations and build up a social network. See what get-togethers are happening on the holidays.
3. Consider making New Year’s Day your main event instead of the Eve. No pressure to get a date or overindulge. There are coffee shops and cafes open (check ahead of time) so one can enjoy eating out whether solo or with the kids. Pub lunches or eating in restaurants where you are friends with the staff is another way to share the day with folks that you like. My sons are out with their buddies on the Eve, so we make New Year’s Day our family celebration. We have quiche from a bakery, watch parades on TV, go to the cinema, and top it off with a simple but elegant dinner at home. New Year’s Eve can be almost a non-event, if desired.
4. Check your city’s community events calendar. There may be a great concert, gathering, classic film, or other events on New Year’s Eve. If you are out and about late on New Year’s Eve, be careful of impaired drivers.
5. Indulge yourself with a special meal or treat from a fabulous bakery. Some friends get a boxed set of CDs for a TV marathon and enjoy staying in. This could be a spa night while watching the ball drop at midnight. Your well rested, glowing skin will be a nice contrast to the others who look like zombies on January 1st.
6. Feel free to drop some old New Year’s Eve/Day traditions and replace them with even better ones after your divorce. Get rid of the rituals that you did out of habit with your spouse and do what you want to do. Going to a movie and having a latte is high on my post-divorce list.
7. Several single friends have had New Year’s Eve parties at their homes. They had a potluck full of food and booze. One friend supplied everything but had a hat on a table, in case people wanted to contribute a little for the cost. A simple spread of cold cuts, cheese, condiments with high quality rolls is elegant. Including two desserts and serving champagne (or sparkling wine) with beer and some non-alcoholic beverages makes an easy party. You buzz around talking to many and do not need a date.
8. Particularly if you are feeling worthless from an abusive marriage, consider finding meaning in your life by helping others. This may be working at a soup kitchen so disadvantaged people have a wonderful holiday meal, or helping the homeless in some way (rescued cats for me) to have a special day. Giving back to the community boosts one’s self-esteem when seeing how one’s efforts make a difference in others’ lives.
Remember New Year’s Eve and Day is only two days out of 365.