Fireworks? I'd prefer honey cake
I hate New Year's Eve. There, I've said it.
Call me a party pooper, an old fogey, whatever you like. But there's nothing guaranteed to get me more "bah humbug" than a chorus of Auld Lang Syne. Oh, and that awful telly round-up of fireworks exploding in London, Sydney, some small Fijian island and various other random locations in time zones that are slightly ahead of our own but that surely have little or no relevance whatsoever at that time of night.
Don't get me wrong - I'm as keen as the next person on a knees-up when the mood takes me. But enforced gaiety based on nothing more than the midnight move from December to January is really not my thing.
Personally, I like a New Year celebration to involve honey cake, new fruit, a roast dinner and an early night. Indeed Rosh Hashanah could not suit me better. But staying up until midnight just to hear Big Ben chime, clink glasses and wish happy new year to a few chums who would clearly also rather be in bed seems increasingly pointless.
When I think back to New Years' Eves past I have to concede that this is nothing new. I cannot blame my advancing years for turning me into the Grinch who hated Hogmanay. And even in my wildest youth (actually "wild" may be stretching it a bit… or quite a lot") I was always mostly looking forward to the bit where everyone called it a night and I could go to bed.
I am the Grinch who hates Hogmanay
In order to give my perspective on New Year celebrations some sort of scientific gravitas, I have conducted a straw poll of a carefully chosen selection of people representative of a cross section of modern British society. (Or possibly those that I've run into over the last couple of days.)
"Wild parties and lots of booze. Brilliant," enthuses the university student, instantly transporting me back to heinous gatherings where I would have to pick my way through piles of vomit simply to make my escape.
"The perfect chance for us to get together with friends," says a neighbour - something I have no truck with whatsoever. Unless we can we do that and still be in wrapped up warm in bed with a hot water bottle by 11pm.
"A chance to stay up really late," say the pre-teens excitedly, oblivious to the ensuing over-tired irascibility that will blight their parents long into the early days of January.
"Do we have to go out?" groans my husband, proving once again why we are so well-suited.
I count it as good fortune that we are acquainted with enough like-minded people to be able to celebrate this year in exactly the way we'd choose. Large group of adults and under-fives. Dinner at four in the afternoon. Partying till seven. Bed at any time you like after that.
So, if it's all the same to you, I'll be raising my cup of cocoa to you all at some time before the clock hits double figures and wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012 from underneath my duvet.