SOMEONE once told me that Christmas is for the kids, and Hogmanay, the adults.
Growing up in Scotland, you can believe it. As a nation, we’re often reminded that our New Year’s celebrations are of legendary status – not to mention the fact that the world over, they’ll be singing a song by one of our own. But better than Christmas – really?
My relationship with Hogmanay has always been fraught. It’s a love-hate thing really, because as much as I appreciate the odd firework or two, I can’t help but feel that I must have fun on December 31 – or else.
It’s one of those prescribed nights where, if you have no plans then you’ll end up wondering where your life has gone, is going or could go in the year to come.
And even those of us who have plans find that they never live up to expectations: like an ill-fated night out which begins with the description of “best night ever”, New Year’s Eve is bound to let you down year in, year out.
One of my most memorable Hogmanay celebrations was aged 13, when I was too young to be out on the tiles, and too old to be tucked up in bed.
I ended up first-footing for both grandmothers (in true soap opera family style, they lived next door to one another), and was rewarded with a cheeky tipple.
Of course, I sat wishing I was painting the town red, party hat sitting slant and a glass of champagne in hand – because true to form, you always want what you don’t have.
Now in the later half of my twenties, I find myself longing for a woolly jumper, a cold walk across the road and a glass of Baileys sipped from Gran’s Christmas crystal.
The art of first-footing has all but disappeared – perhaps because I live in a tenement where my neighbours are faces, not names, or perhaps because we’ve all been in a bar since 7pm, just to make sure we have a place to go for the bells.
So, my plan for Hogmanay this year, you ask? Honestly, I haven’t a clue.
The 2012 be lls were rung in under Edinburgh castle between Primal Scream songs, the 2011 celebration was a similarly cold affair (with fireworks) – but this year, I’ll see where the wind takes me.
And who knows, maybe if there is no plan – no detailed itinerary for the best night ever – it might just turn out all right on the night.
Regardless, I’ll still raise a glass for Auld Lang Syne in the end. I’m just too sentimental not to.