Partiers on New Year's Eve in Chicago (Metromix file photo )
I feel like ever since I woke up from my Thanksgiving food coma, all anyone asks me is, "What should we do for New Year's Eve?" Considering Dec. 31 probably is in second place for most over-hyped holiday right behind Valentine's Day, it's a pretty tough question to answer. To help you figure out what to do, I've decide to weigh the two options we all have: going out vs. staying in.
Chicago has a lot of bars and clubs. New Year's has to be one of bar owners' favorite nights of the year because it's the one night they can charge you even more exorbitant prices to go to the same place you already go and drink your usual, but for much more money. Sure, different types of people you usually won't see out will be there, but couldn't you just change your bar choice on a typical night out and have the same effect?
Staying in should theoretically cost you no more than any other night you stay at home. Just pull out that same ol' $3 wine from Trader Joe's, pop in Netflix and make it another night in. However, if you do decide to have friends or a boo-thang over, then have them contribute to the night and make it a potluck. Whatever you decide, staying in will, 9 times out of 10, be cheaper than a table on Hubbard Street.
Winner: Staying in
MIDNIGHT KISS LIKELIHOOD
Being at a bar at the stroke of midnight means your chances of finding someone to smooch are a lot higher than if you are at home with your cat. Being in a bar with a few hundred people has to statistically mean you will have some sort of chance, right?
Unless you are already dating someone or have a boo lined up -- or maybe some great booty call who is also at home watching Netflix -- your chances for a midnight kiss are pretty slim. I guess if you are home alone. you could go knock on some neighbors' doors and see what you can find. It could be like playing "The Dating Game" show, but the more desperate edition.
Winner: Going out
Dressing up can be fun, but it can also be a huge pain. The type of place you're going to will dramatically affect what you wear. Going fancy and spending New Year's at a steakhouse followed by a nightclub means wearing something more expensive. Going to your local pub that is charging a $20 cover for its bash means wearing whatever you want.
Since it's your home, you can wear whatever you want, which entirely eliminates any anxiety one might have about dressing for New Year's. I mean, you could even be naked. Just don't be naked by any fireworks or open flames. Please.
Winner: Staying in
THE DAY AFTER
Let's be honest. There is a large likelihood that you will wake up not alone. You might find a new "friend," fast food wrappers or (most likely) just a really horrible hangover in bed with you. But, hey--at least it's something. No matter what happened--or didn't happen--during New Year's, at least you gave it a shot and made some memories ... many of which won't come back to you until later in the evening.
You wake up and crawl out of bed, making your way to the kitchen feeling like a boss. You aren't afraid to check your bank account, and your memory is fully intact. Welcome to the first day of 2014. The only downside is that you binge-watched "Breaking Bad" again, making the past 12 hours just like so many other nights in 2013.
Winner: Going out
OVERALL WINNER: Going out for New Year's Eve. Sure, it may get a little costly, but maybe 2014 is the year you hit the lottery or marry rich or do something else that dramatically increases cash flow—so none of that really matters. (Note: Never hire me as your accountant or psychic.) New Year's is a celebration of the fact that you made it another year, through all the crap that life threw at you, and that really is something to celebrate. See you out in the cold!