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New Year's Eve and the Duck

So New Year’s Eve is approaching—a very stressful event. You always feel like you should be having an exciting evening. Even if you are a big fat loser for the rest of the year, you feel that, somehow, it is absolutely critical that you are not a loser on that one night. And it is no good telling yourself that it means nothing to you, and it is just another evening. Deep inside, you still know what it really means: that you are a loser and that a whole year went by, and nothing actually changed—only you are older and fatter and closer to death.

So, you ask your friends about their plans.

“Oh, we are invited to our friends’ place!” They say excitedly. “With a few other couples. For a sleepover with children!”

Or “Oh, we are going to a party on a huge yacht!”

Or “Oh, we are going to Barbados!”

For years in my younger days, I would feel like a lonely loser if I had not been invited to a big party on New Year’s Eve. With a lot of good looking, young and trendy people laughing and celebrating all night long. It did not even matter that, realistically, I might not have wanted to go. It is like being asked to marry someone. You might not want to get married, but it is still nice to be asked.

But, I will let you in on a secret. None of this is important nowadays, because, a few years ago, I accidentally discovered a magical solution. It might sound simple to you, but trust me it is simply amazing.


I bought a duck.

All of a sudden, it was not just my husband and I anymore, sitting in our suburban home in England, watching Jools Holland. It was me, Husband and the duck.

There is just something immensely satisfying about having a duck for New Year's Eve. Honestly, who needs cool friends and cocktail parties if you have a duck?

A duck makes everything OK. It also makes your New Year's Eve sound a lot better.

Just compare this:

"So, what did you end up doing for the New Year?"

"Oh, nothing really, we just stayed in."

With this:

"So, what did you do for the New Year?"

"Oh, we stayed in and had a duck."

Straight away, you are elevated from the potential loser position to a position of someone cool, who might have had a few party invitations, but decided that she preferred a quiet, cosy evening with a duck.

And just like that, I am no longer afraid of someone asking me about my plans for New Year's.

Alternatively, it helps when you have visitors coming from abroad. We had friends from Singapore last year, and the year before some others from London. Why those friends chose to come to Doha and spend New Year’s Eve in our clubhouse is beyond my comprehension. Yet, I can work with that. I can make it sound cool.

"What did you do for New Year's?"

"Oh, some friends of ours came over from Singapore."

I mean, you can’t be a total loser if people spend a lot of money to fly over to spend their holidays with you, can you?

But, this year, we have no scheduled visitors for New Year. So, thanks to a random Carrefour pricing, I secured a lovely, fatty looking duck, which I am keeping safe in my freezer. You know, as a back-up plan just in case the compound party does not happen and/or I receive no exciting invitations anywhere else.

Happy Holiday Season! May you not feel like a loser on New Year’s Eve, or any other night of the year.

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