Hogmanay 2023: embrace the FOMO and see in New Year 2024 by doing absolutely nothing - Gaby Soutar

As we approach the close of 2023, the pressure increases. We must track down the hottest Hogmanay party in town. Preferably the one that’s a short walk from your house, involves spending zero time shivering in the cold, and has no jostling or slobbery kisses involved.The Champagne is vintage, and the canapes are not from Iceland. Your shoes are highly impractical, but you don’t get a single blister. There’s a chauffeur to whisk you home at 2am, and it’s all completely gratis. Sadly, no such event exists.

Thus, I will be spending this New Year’s Eve indoors, again. There will be no first footing. You can keep your lump of coal.

I am not complaining. I’m used to it, and now accept that I will suffer from FOMO. Everyone does. It’s not a pleasant sensation. The recipe includes a sort of premature regret, mixed with mild anxiety. There's a pinch of tight-chested envy chucked in, like the raisins in a black bun.

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The secret is to feel it, but stick indoors anyway. It’s a transient and predictable emotion. Let it pass. Forget it, like an auld acquaintance.

This sensation peaks at 11pm-ish, but has vanished the next day, when you wake up feeling smug and hangover-free for 2024.

Yes, perhaps I could be persuaded to see Pulp at the Concert in the Gardens at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, but it’s sold out.

Also, I’d have to sit through the fireworks, which are totally overrated. Whenever I watch a display, I make all the appropriate noises - ‘ooh’, ‘aah’, ‘hot diggity’ and ‘wowzers’ - but am wondering when it’ll all be over, because I’m so bored of standing.

As the loudest whizz-poppers go off, I wonder about all the frightened and trembling dogs of the city. In Edinburgh’s New Town alone, there must be hundreds of miniature dachshunds, hiding under duvets like multiple pigs in blankets. I wonder if the Ross Fountain pigeons think it's the end of the world, and accept it willingly since their gammy feet have been playing up and they’re tired of eating Greggs crumbs.

Even though we’re not going out to see the fireworks concert, we rarely stay in our flat.

That’s just too depressing, now that I work here too. My desk is the elephant in the living room.

Our tradition is to rent a cottage for two in the East Neuk.

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We invest in the finest wines known to humanity, and enough cheese to satisfy a survivalist mouse nearing Armageddon. We’ll have steak for dinner, and leftover Christmas pudding, since it takes me a few weeks to break the habit.

There is a smorgasbord of crisps, and telly marathons galore. Jackie Bird and Jools Holland are banned. Maybe we’ll watch something Scandi and murderous, or Korean and murderous.

We do a bit of walking along the Fife Coastal Path.

Often, I’ll go to bed at 10.30pm. Then I can dodge the worst of the FOMO, which persists, even though we’re officially on holiday. I do try to keep my eyes open, but midnight can seem like an impossible stretch.

It’s been so long since we went to an actual shindig. The last was a ticketed Hogmanay party at Edinburgh’s Summerhall, and it didn’t go well.

I was there to dance, but my husband is allergic to throwing shapes. There was a stand-off, and, at midnight, we had huffs all round. We couldn’t find a cab to get home, so had to slide back on the ice, like two grumpy huskies who’d lost their sledge.

The last memorably decent one was probably 1999/2000 and I had tickets to an Edinburgh College of Art party in the sculpture hall. I was a few months from graduating, and the world felt like my lobster.

We hit midnight as I stood on the corner of Lady Lawson Street, and my best pals and I whooped. It was the days before smartphones, but, on my disposable camera, I took one picture of us all, accidentally from the waist down. I treasured it, as proof of a good night.

Since then, we have usually spent the dregs of the year inside. The last time I attempted to go out was to visit a restaurant a few years ago, but then an Exorcist-level bout of the lurgy surfaced and I had to cancel. When I phoned to do the deed, they were utterly raging. Fair enough. It’s tough to lose a booking at this time of year. It felt fated and I don’t want to chance that again.

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The secret to avoiding the worst pangs of FOMO is to switch off your phone.

There will always be one of your friends at a glamorous location, like New York’s Times Square, live posting as the ball drops. I hope they have a smashing time, until they need to go to the loo.

The reality is that going out will never measure up to staying in. There is nothing more blissful than no commitments.

I suppose the only downside is that you can’t make memories. Nobody really reminisces about that brilliant Hogmanay when they binge-watched Only Murders in the Building, and ate 10 bags of pickled onion crisps and a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

But that’s okay. If you’re looking for permission, I’m granting it. Do absolutely nothing. Ignore the pressure.

Join me by bringing in 2024 while fast asleep.



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