THE LIFE STYLIST
If you’re exhausted by the thought of digging out the formalwear and trudging to some nondescript, overly expensive party, take a cue for the Life Stylist and ditch convention.

Text + photography by David J. Witchell

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I’ve always held that how you usher in the new year will go a long way toward dictating how you’ll live with it. Which is why my New Year’s Eve is an Event—but far from the conventional sense. I shed the tuxedo and the artificial glamour a while back in favor of a simpler night, one where I’m decked out in pajamas and surrounded by my closest friends and family, all of us savoring each other’s company and a home-cooked meal.

The hosting duties rotate among us. They’re falling to me this year, and, naturally, I started planning months ago. My father was born on New Year’s Eve, and every New Year’s Day, we staged a birthday feast, so the occasion was already a big deal for me. I keep the décor simple. I’ll pare down the Christmas decorations—so last year—and trim the remaining stuff in white, silver and a touch of gold. The dinner table follows the same aesthetic. If I can find them, a few bunches of white tulips are my go-to for the centerpiece; white roses, if not. And pajamas are the extent of the required attire. (It’s proven to be a good excuse to buy a new pair for myself and few more for the guests who “forget” to don theirs.) For the cynical among us, it’s only odd to be sitting around a candlelit dinner table in pajamas if you’re the only one wearing them.

Where Christmas is meant to exude a deep-seated sense of tradition, New Year’s Eve/Day should be pure and fresh and free of such a heavy burden. I’d like to enter the new year the way I’m sure most of us would: with a blank canvas. Easier said than done, but framing it as such can’t hurt. It’s certainly better than waking up to a mess of glitter, half-filled champagne flutes and cigarette butts. Come midnight, I’ll be toasting Janus, the Roman god after whom our first month is named.

Janus presided over both the beginning and the conclusion of conflict, which is why he’s often described as a two-faced god. To Janus. May you reflect upon our year that was and gather insight to help us find our way in the year ahead.

David J. Witchell is the co-owner of David J. Witchell Salon & Span, in Newtown and Lahaska, and The Boutiques at 25 South, in Newtown.


The Case for Throwing a New Year’s Day Party

By Scott Edwards

What was your best New Year’s Eve like? Only remember bits and pieces of it?

Sounds about right. That’s the thing: Even if your New Year’s Eve plans meet your every outlandish expectation, you’re still waking up the next morning with a debilitating hangover and a spotty memory of what just transpired. All you do know for sure is that you’re a few hundred bucks lighter in the pocket for it.

This pressure, internal and/or external, to do something on New Year’s Eve is totally unfounded. It’s a holiday celebrated by twentysomethings and eccentrics who need to be penned into Times Square for hours on end. The rest of us are just trying to reenact, what, some overly glorified memory from our youth, a rom-com that led us to believe there’s magic in the air, and we just need to open ourselves up to it?

Instead of fixating on these few precious hours, let’s envision another scenario: You go to bed at a decent hour, the clock ticks past midnight like it always does. You sleep in late and wake up bright-eyed and increasingly energized as you realize you haven’t dry-heaved the day away. In the afternoon, a small group of handpicked friends and family collects in your living room and kitchen and talk and laugh, talk and laugh, over a few simple snacks and a round or two of drinks. No formalwear required. No insatiable urge to over-drink in an effort to justify your outlandish reservation. No expecting the earth to shift on its axis at midnight.

When the sun goes down, they go home and you drift off on the couch, warmed by a bit of bourbon and the satisfaction of a once-lost day well spent.

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