New Year’s Eve

Now if any night of the year is a mixed bag and a mixed blessing—-New Year’s Eve is definitely it!!!! For years, I’ve gone back and forth about what to do about it. Most of the time, no matter what you do on New Year’s Eve, you feel that you may have done the wrong thing—unless you had a really great one!!!! When I was married, we used to go to bed early and didn’t do anything on that evening. Single, like so many other people, I feel obliged to do ‘something’. But which something and where? Seeing the new year in, entirely alone, and watching TV or old movies (or even new ones) alone in your nightgown seems a little too easy going and could easily be depressing. So for several years, I have done a black tie dinner for about 20 people on New Year’s Eve. I did it very elegantly at first, with everyone looking very elegant and grown up. And then….one year…..

Several years ago, I was about to give my traditional black tie New Year’s eve dinner party, when there was a BIG rain storm in San Francisco. I mean REALLY big!!! Fierce winds, trees bending, some fell over, flood warnings, and torrential rains. I was waiting for the cook to arrive, when he called me. He lived on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and he called to tell me that the bridge was closed, and he wasn’t going to be able to make it that night—–and all the food was with him. So, no cook, no food. It was nearly 7pm by then. My guests were due 2 hours later, and I had no dinner to give them. Noisemakers, horns, sparkly sunglasses with the year on them, paper and glitter tiaras and top hats—-but, oops!!! No dinner!!! Uh Oh!!! BIG problem!!!! And I thought that if I cancelled, it was too late for anyone to make plans and 20 friends would be upset and very disappointed. And I didn’t want to let them down, but I couldn’t starve them either.

I got on the phone and called every caterer in the city. And of course they had no one to send me. So, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And I decided that the only thing I could do at that point was buy fast food for dinner. I made a list, and sent everyone out to buy burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, Chinese take-out, KFC, pizza, french fries galore. We had every kind of fast food I could think of. When the guests arrived, they looked fabulous, and expectant of an elegant evening. When dinnertime came and we sat down at the table, I explained the dilemma, and the solution I’d come up with. Faces lit up, eyes danced, and out came the fast food I had picked up for dinner. I thought people might be annoyed, or worse than that, having gotten all decked out in their finery,—-and what were they going to eat for dinner??? Hot dogs and corn dogs!!!! I saw people eat more that night than they had in years. The curly fries were more popular than caviar. People who might otherwise have been on their best behaviour were suddenly loosening up and having fun. Jackets came off, ties were loosened, paper tiaras were slipping, as people called from one end of the table to the other ‘pass the mustard’ ‘who has the onion rings?’. The evening was a huge success, and people loved it. So much so, that the following year, I decided to do it again, on purpose this time. That year, I invited people in black tie, warned them that they would be eating fast food, and added a poker game, which was a huge hit too. So now, that’s our tradition. Black tie, poker, and fast food on New Year’s Eve. It solved a problem for me too, as it coincided with the years I’ve been alone. So instead of feeling like a wall flower at my own party, and watching others kiss and dance at midnight, I’m eating corn dogs and pizza, and onion rings, and hoping to make ten dollars at poker, to bring in the new year. We have a DJ after all the food and card games, and we dance a little. But to be honest, the best part is the fast food and the poker game. It’s an irreverent way to spend what can easily be a dull or painful evening. But with curly fries in one hand, and a winning poker hand in the other—-what could possibly be better. I no longer cry at Auld Lang Syne at midnight, I just want to go back to my poker game, to double my winnings (to a big fat $20.00). And now I actually enjoy New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year!!!

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13 Comments so far
  1. Pam Vance December 29, 2009 2:55 pm

    I just want to say how much I enjoy your books. My grandmother used to read your books and got me interested in them. Everytime a new one comes out I buy it ready to read. I really enjoyed Jewels, Zoya, No Greater Love and Message from Nam. I am hoping that you will write more books similar to those. Those are my favorites.

  2. kimmi December 29, 2009 3:51 pm

    What a fun solution and now a tradition you’ve given to yourself and others. It sounds perfect! Joyous New Year, Danielle.

  3. Joann December 30, 2009 12:57 pm

    Great idea…I’ve always wanted to throw a big elegant dinner myself, but fast food, and poker sounds great. We might even throw in a game of Pictionary or Monopoly for fun. I love the fast food idea. Thanks for the idea and I wish all the best for you and your family in 2010.
    Happy New Year!!! 🙂

  4. Lorraine December 31, 2009 7:50 am

    HAPPY NEW YEAR,DANIELLE! That sounds like
    so much fun, we’ll all be over, ha!!
    I’m finally at an age/stage where NYE is just
    another night, and that is fine. No expectations
    or letdowns anymore!!!!!!!

  5. simone rael December 31, 2009 10:23 am

    Thanks for this blog Danielle Steel. I always look forward to your blogs. I want to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year. I hope you also find that man of your dreams, the one you always seem to be waiting for. However, I will say this with all the success and resources you have you really don’t need all that bother and hassle. For so many people marriage is a bother and a hassle, some people even get married for all the wrong reasons and on top of that faithful, honest and loyal men hardly exist these days just look at the whole Tiger Woods scandal….

    I feel disappointed to think that you could feel sad, lonely or depressed because you don’t have a partner to ring in the new year with. I think it’s important for women to know that they don’t need a man to be happy or to feel valued. Millions of people around the world value you for your charitable work and wonderful novels. And i’m certain your family and friends value you as you are on your own. There’s no reason to feel like a wall flower and I just want to get the message out to you that it’s okay to be alone it does not diminish the special person that you are. It mind sound cliched but learning to love yourself is truly the greatest love of all. I’m not saying that you should give up on the idea of finding love again, i’m just saying that finding that special person isn’t the be all and end all of a woman’s life or your life for that matter.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more books and blogs.

  6. Kim Cuthbertson December 31, 2009 8:41 pm

    I think you are the best writer ever. I am 36 and started reading your books when I was 16. I cannot wait until you have a new book out I am either buying it or holding it at the library. You give me inspiration. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas & a Very Happy New Year. I am spending mine with my 7 year old daughter confetti hats glasses and all. God Bless you!!!

  7. Darla Allard January 4, 2010 8:58 pm

    I love your philosphy (in life & pen) That even though you may be going through the hardest time in your life, hang in there & you’ll get your happy ending!
    Thank You

  8. maggie January 8, 2010 9:35 pm

    It makes me happy you, who create such joy for me, are able to look beyond and find happiness in a situation as being “alone” on new years. Im reading JEWELS for probably the 6th time right now. I open your books and all is forgotten…oops. I just want to say THANK YOU MS. STEEL. And have a blessed New Year! You are my ultimate favorite and I love your art!

  9. Beenu January 11, 2010 9:32 am

    Thanks for this blog!

    I want to express my heartiest thanks and wishes to Danielle…

    I have been reading your books since I was 18 and must say each book of yours comes out to be an inspiration for me. Whenever, I feel sad or low, I think of what would you say/think at this situation and I follow you.

    Please keep us updated and let us know when’s the new one coming in the market.

  10. Nkosinathi Mofokeng January 14, 2010 10:43 am

    WOw!!!!!!!!!! its a great idea love it. Have a succefull 2010 here in SOUTH AFRICA we call 20 turn around. Ms Steel Hope u will Visit Our Beatiful Country During Worl Cup Or Even after It.

    Many Thanks Nkosinathi P Mofokeng

  11. shirley hyamm January 27, 2010 10:23 am

    Why can’t more people be like that,it only proves that everyone wants to have a good time and not have to be so up tight.
    Ms. Steel, I have read a number of your books I wish I could say that I have read them all.
    You are a wonderful and beautiful lady, I do hope that you have a great New Year.

  12. Dawn Hollund January 30, 2010 12:43 pm

    Your holiday and New Year’s Eve’s sound fun ~ I should try it sometime. Lots better than the movie watching, alone, and going to sleep before 12!..the wrong guys have alot to do with my choice to stay home!

  13. Kitty February 15, 2010 8:30 pm

    What a trooper you are. You could have frantically phoned everyone and canceled. You have a wonderful heart and are obviously okay with your SELF.
    Happy New Year to you, too.

    ps pretentious people aren’t much fun.