‘We’ve got to be optimistic’: UK readers on their New Year’s Eve plans

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As the world ushers in 2021, many will be looking forward to putting 2020 behind them. From a cocktail-making contest to a MasterChef-inspired cook-off, the Guardian spoke to four people about their plans for New Year’s Eve.

Elinor and Richard, both 32, from Glasgow.
Elinor and Richard.

‘I think he’s making a daiquiri but he’s not very good’

“I’ll be making a raspberry mojito,” said Elinor, speaking of the cocktail-making contest she and her partner, Richard, both 32, have planned for Thursday night. “I think he’s making a daiquiri, but he’s not very good,” she added.

Elinor, who works as an engineer in Glasgow, said the idea came to them as they drew suggestions from a hat. Both of them will also be attending an organised online murder mystery event. “We’ve done one before and they work quite well – you go into Zoom rooms to be questioned then come back together and watch the scenes play out,” she said.

“In Scotland we have a tradition to ‘first foot’, which means being someone’s first visitor after midnight – normally bearing gifts such as shortbread and whisky. You’re not supposed to cross your threshold to leave your house until you get your first foot [visitor], but with Covid I do worry how some people will balance their superstitions.”

The last two years both of them had norovirus, so this year is seen as an “improvement”. “We would normally have drinks at a friend’s house, but we just hope we can stop the number of people getting sick. It’s horrifying at the moment.”

‘We’ve got to be optimistic’

In Preston, Janet and her husband, now both retired, have got together with neighbours every year for the last 18 years for a Christmas party. Coronavirus has prevented them celebrating this year but they are determined to see in 2021 together.

In their cul-de-sac, people from five houses are planning to take fire pits and patios – and their drink of choice – to their front gardens at 11.30pm for a safe, socially distanced party. “If all we can do is toast each other and shout across the road, that’s what we’re going to do.” said Janet. “I will bring champagne and my husband will have a glass of red wine.”

Janet’s family has been affected by coronavirus during the past year and though her brother recovered from the virus, another relative died. However, she believes it’s important to celebrate what you can.

“I just hope everyone else can have a good time in a small way. It’s making the best of what you’ve got and who you’ve got around you. I think we’ve got to be optimistic.”

Hasan Kilani.
Hasan Kilani. Photograph: Hasan Kilani

‘We need to appreciate what we have’

In London, Hasan Kilani, who is studying for a master’s in transnational queer feminist politics at Soas, is planning a long quiz night with friends on Zoom. “I moved here from Jordan in October and for tonight I’m preparing some questions related to British-Jordanian relations in pop culture,” said the 31-year-old. “Did you know that in 2019 Coldplay chose to release their album in Jordan?”

Kilani and his partner are slightly concerned the internet may crash as others plan similar New Year’s Eve events. “I feel the entire world might be doing the same thing,” he said. “We have our own champagne, disco lights, and music playlist so we’ll have our own party and countdown if that happens.

“I’m an Arab Muslim so I normally spend this time of year travelling outside Jordan. It’s been a bit disappointing since I arrived in the UK as you always hear that London has a lot of cultural things to offer, but I’ve not been able to experience that yet. I hope next year I’ll be able to see more of the city and that people will be nicer to each other and less toxic. We need to appreciate what we have.”

Helen and her boyfriend, Rory.
Helen and her boyfriend, Rory.

‘On balance he may be a better cook than me’

Helen, 29, who works in marketing in London said she was “really gunning to win” the MasterChef cook-off she has been preparing for against her boyfriend, Rory, 26. “We’ve been watching the show a lot and started to enjoy cooking more due to lockdown,” she said.

While preparing her meal, Helen said she planned on taking the crown by cooking Japanese pickles, gyoza, spicy fried chicken and sushi “if I get time”. “We’ve been at this all day,” she said. “He’s a very, very good cook and on balance may be a better one than me. He’s a recruiter so he’s definitely competitive.

“We would probably be with friends normally but not necessarily out as it can be a bit mad on New Year’s Eve. I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel now with the vaccines and that’s what we’ve all got to focus on. The main thing is everyone staying safe, well and at home. Hopefully the new year will bring a bit of normality.”

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘We’ve got to be optimistic’: UK readers on their New Year’s Eve plans

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