We asked readers to share their NYE tales, with the promise that one participating reader would be picked in a random draw to win a beautiful bottle of Taittinger champagne graciously provided by Bishop’s Cellar. Whether it was the champagne prize or the natural urge to commiserate over plans gone wrong, loads of stories came in. Here are some of the best. Thanks for everyone for sharing, and congratulations to Pamela Gray for winning the champagne. Her story “Big night, big nap” is below.
Changing the music
My friends and I went on a road trip to New York City to ring in 2010. I won tickets to see Chuck Berry play in an overpriced blues restaurant, but the 83-year-old had trouble remembering how to play his songs. After he played "Maybelline" for the third time, we left and found a tiny karaoke bar where we sang all night with a rowdy crew of guys from Philadelphia. —Stephan MacLeod
Lost and found
Last year, after our friend drank way too much Goldschlager by 10:30pm and had to get off the bus, puking, my best friend and I knew our night was not going to go as planned. By the time we had gotten the puker sent home in a cab, got drunk ourselves and managed to get into the city, it was after midnight.
Next thing I knew I had been separated from my friend and the people we were supposed to meet up with. Suddenly a tall, handsome man in a lumberjack jacket and a dark beard approached me asking, "Excuse me, have you had your new year's kiss yet?"
My best friend eventually found me 20 minutes later making out with this random guy against the Alehouse wall. Believe it or not, I gave him my number and he asked me on a date the next week. To this day we are still together and very much looking forward to our one-year anniversary of drunken new year's shenanigans. —Lucy Dykhuis
Big night, big nap
It was a dark and stormy night. The Lord and Master (hereafter the L&M) had just flown in from the UK. A romantic suite was booked for the night at a pleasant downtown hotel. We were all togged up in our finery: he in his tux, me in my posh frock. Cocktails at the club at 6:30, followed by sumptuous dinner at 7:30, stretching until who-knows-when—and then dancing until the magical midnight hour.
Surprise, surprise, the L&M felt snoozy after dessert and decided to nip across to the hotel for a quick zizz so he'd be fresh for the festivities at midnight. Time passed. No L&M. More time passed. Still no L&M. Midnight came. NO L&M! Cinderella was left all alone amid a sea of couples kissing the new year in. Needless to say, Cinderella was not amused and stumped over to the hotel, only to find the L&M f-a-s-t asleep. Guess who was banished to the sofa for the rest of the night and condemned to the Cone of Silence for the next 24 hours?
The excuse for the inexcusable? The hotel had failed to rouse the L&M at the time he'd requested (11:30 pm) and he'd snoozed on. Time heals all, and eventually, all was forgiven. Oh, and the hotel generously made amends. —Pamela Gray
The terrible blizzard meant that I had a massive crew crash at my downtown apartment. Luckily there were lots of festive spirits in hearts and in glasses, and the afterparty went well into the next day. But so did the blizzard. After driving people home I got FROZEN out of my apartment on New Year's Day and had to lick the lock to get in! Happy New Year! —Kristen Sutherland
The Grape Pop
Every New Year's Eve while growing up we would go to my aunt's house for a cousin sleepover. It was my year to pick the movie, and based solely on the cover, I chose Spike Lee's Crooklyn (every eight-year-old's favourite). It was turned off as soon as the characters started sniffing glue, and everyone was mad at me for the "wasted" movie. The night, however, continued. It was full of pizza, games, my brother and three male cousins getting up on the couches to sing and dance a choreographed number to "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" and running around Willow Street with pots, pans, noisemakers and silly string at midnight.
When my aunt finally wore us out and the sugar high started to pass, she conned us into bed with the promise of Baby New Year bringing whoever fell asleep first a present in the morning. My brother and I lucked out that year and got to take my aunt's big comfy bed. We had finally settled in when my brother complained of feeling sick, as we had eaten a ridiculous amount of candy, junk and grape pop. However, neither of us realized how sick he felt until he projectile-vomited bright purple puke EVERYWHERE. We both just sat there drenched in puke crying and screamed until everyone ran into the room to see what happened. After a lot of cleaning, we eventually fell asleep, and in the morning everyone woke up to Ninja Turtle action figures from Baby New Year and lots of laughter referring to the Grape Pop Incident as it will be forever known as. —Corinne Abraham
A Canadian welcome
> I will never forget New Year's Eve 2006, when I immigrated to Canada. Snow storms forced my husband and I to travel on the holiday. It was clear skies when we started from my parents' home in New Hampshire and headed north, but the snow started coming down heavy by the time we reached the border. A good friend helped us move, and we all kept in touch via walkie-talkie, sharing jokes and keeping each other awake as we followed a plow. At the border I was nervous, afraid I wouldn't be let in for some unforeseen technical problem. Did I have all my papers in order? But the customs officer invited us in to the office happily. He was so glad to see us. He welcomed me to the country, and practically had us stay for tea—a true Canadian welcome. Once across the border, we pulled into a hotel for the night, shared some drinks and played Scrabble. This is how I welcomed my first new year in Canada. —Briana Corr Scott
When the last day of 2007 rolled around, I mostly just wanted to avoid it entirely. My boyfriend and I had just gotten over a really rough patch in our relationship and I wasn't feeling well, so the idea of setting out on the town with a specific fun-having goal was nauseating.
We watched Super Troopers in my south end apartment. Once the movie was done, we did the obligatory New Year's time check: 20 minutes until 2008 arrived. With a feeling of why-the-hell-not, we put on our coats and went out into the night in search of fireworks.
We strolled down the southern part of Barrington at a normal pace. As we became more and more aware of time, our steps quickened. Eventually we were sprinting through the streets of Halifax towards the muffled sound of people counting down from 10. We arrived at Grand Parade just in time to see the coloured lights set off into the sky.
I will probably never get tired of fireworks. I can't think of anything else that better combines a sense of wonder and beauty with a sense of impending doom. Small children were all around, checking their parents' faces to make sure they shouldn't be afraid of what was happening. I knew they had probably spent the whole day planning around this moment, witnesses of a stylized apocalypse. My boyfriend and I stood at the curb, clasping hands and staring up at the sky. Maybe that's the hardest feeling to recreate—the feeling of actually letting go of a night's expectations. To instead find yourself under a lit-up sky, holding someone's hand tightly, with a full heart. Understanding what you have, after coming so close to losing it. And remembering to celebrate that, instead of just the last day on the calendar. —Kristin Slaney