Hogmanay and New Year: The ultimate survival guide

Revellers enjoy Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Revellers enjoy Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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No matter how meticulously you plan your Hogmanay party-going, nothing ever goes quite as expected. Chance encounters, unusual customs and the dreaded winter weather can all play havoc with your best-laid plans.

So we have compiled a handy guide to prepare you for every eventuality. Follow these simple steps to a fantastic start to 2013.

Plan your night

If you can’t stand the thought of a night in front of the TV and party games with your extended family, you need to know what’s happening where you live. You might not want to plan every detail of your night, but you need to know your options…

Go to WOW247.co.uk.

Choose the type of event and date.

Set your location.

Pick an event.

Think about your options in advance. If you’ve been invited to two parties, try to be ruthless and just go to one. The same goes for public events, bars and clubs. Opt for places that aren’t at opposite ends of town. Even if you have to disappoint a host, it will save you having to rely on public transport on one of the busiest, most congested and expensive nights of the year.

Eat, drink and be merry

It goes without saying, but drink sensibly and pace yourself. Many towns and cities will have extended opening hours, with some bars and clubs staying open until 5am. Don’t take this as a challenge to set your boozing personal best. Equally, if you start too early, you may find yourself slumped on the sofa by the time everyone’s enjoying the countdown to the bells.

Make sure you have a decent meal at some point in the evening. If you think all those canapes and cocktail sausages will keep you going, think again.

What to wear

Always a tricky one, given that much of a New Year’s night out is often spent outdoors for a view of the fireworks. How to glide effortlessly between a street party and a cocktail party? How to stay warm without looking like a walking sleeping bag?

Bright colours are a good idea, especially if you’re trying to track down your friends in a crowded area in the dark. We’re not saying you need to wear a glow stick, but one easily distinguished garment can set you apart.

For the ladies, a simple rule: layering good; chunky knits bad. Go with colour, add a touch of sparkle, and under no circumstances compromise your hairstyle. Keep footwear smart but practical and, if you can’t face wearing heels all night, keep a pair in your bag to change into before a party.

The advice is similar for the chaps (apart from the heels bit). If you wear chunky knitwear you’ll be fine outside but too warm for the after-party. Instead, wear layers of fine knits. Choose a coat that’s both smart and warm and go for practical, sturdy footwear – dark coloured boots are a good option. Keep warm by wearing a pair of gloves or wrapping up in a stylish scarf.

Just remember the golden rule: no fancy dress, no matter how tempting those big 2013-shaped glasses seem after a few drinks.

What to bring

If you’re planning to attend a street party, a small hip flask topped up with a fine single malt whisky will keep you toasty- in moderation of course.

If you know you’ll be outside for any length of time, then it goes without saying that a hat, scarf and gloves could save you a lot of shivering, wherever you are in the UK.

In Scotland, first footing is still common. So if you’ve been invited to a friend’s house, or even if you’ll be dropping by unannounced at a neighbour’s place, the tradition is to bring a lump of coal for the fire, or a coin or cake. These days, whisky and shortbread will suffice. Whether you fit the “tall, dark stranger” billing is another matter.

What to sing

Wherever you are, you’ll probably find yourself in a circle singing Auld Lang Syne at the bells. Penned by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, the familiar music and lyrics have become synonymous with New Year celebrations and ring out at gatherings across the globe. Practice with this video, and bookmark the full lyrics so you’re not miming on the night.

A few more tips

We all know from experience that New Year’s Eve doesn’t always live up to our expectations. Whether it’s the eye-watering entry charges for the nightclubs or the challenge of finding a taxi home at the end of the night, there are plenty of obstacles standing in the way of a good time. Best to treat it like any other celebration and let the good times roll.

Don’t make any hasty New Year Resolutions on the night. Leave it a day. Or two. Or maybe three.

Stay off social media, unless you’re completely, utterly, 100 per cent sure that you won’t regret reading what you’ve posted in the morning.

The strike of midnight can make people react in strange ways. Don’t do anything foolish, dangerous or madcap. Displays of affection or spontaneous teary outbreaks are perfectly acceptable, on the other hand.

Most importantly, have a great night!

Finally, if you find yourself with a nasty hangover on New Year’s Day, there might just be a cure for you.