Every year we embrace New Year's Eve with a renewed sense of optimism. We buy into the promise of a clean slate at midnight, believing that all we need to transform into bigger, better versions of ourselves is a list of resolutions. We'll accept an invitation to the New Year's Eve party we attend every year - the one where the cling film is unwrapped from yet another platter of grey sausage rolls - finding the night a little, well...tiresome.
New Year's Eve: it's a let down.
So why do we put ourselves through it, when we could be finishing the last of the Christmas wine with the Sky remote tucked safely down our side of the sofa?
Well, that's a realisation a handful of holidaymakers have cottoned on to. Rather than digging out something from the back of our wardrobes to attend the most over-planned and underwhelming night of the year, it seems the smartest among us have found a better way of celebrating New Year's Eve...
Last year, Megan Salter decided that New Year's Eve was going to be different. With her daughter and partner willing to oblige, Megan packed up the car and headed for the peaceful hills of rural Yorkshire. Opening the door to their charming little holiday cottage, Megan sunk into the sofa and spent four blissful days and nights in total relaxation. For £260, the family of three enjoyed a cosy retreat exploring Nidderdale's breathtaking countryside.
"New Year's Eve in a cottage was so different" Megan recalls. "Adam and I spent New Year's Eve cuddled up peacefully in the comfort of our holiday home while Izzy slept soundly upstairs. We lit a roaring fire and watched the countdown to midnight on TV, wearing our pyjamas.".
"It was my favourite New Year's Eve ever" Megan confirms. "It tops the others, and I'd definitely do it again. It would be nice to hire a holiday cottage with some other couples too, so perhaps that's what we'll do this New Year".
Hiring a holiday cottage with other couples is something that Hannah and Simon Penson did a few years ago before their children were born. "Our friend had a house in the South of France" Hannah recalls "... so we headed over there to meet up with a few other couples we were good friends with."
"The men decided they'd cook for us all" Hannah explains "so we left them in the kitchen while they prepared us an amazing meal. But unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out that way..."
"Late in the afternoon, it became quite apparent that the boys had been helping themselves to the wine while they were cooking and were no use to anyone!".
"In the end, us girls took over. We made a lovely dinner and had a really nice night eating together. Unlike spending New Year's Eve at a party, we could actually hear one another speak, and we were able to pick our own music" Hannah explains.
"It was such a great New Year. Us girls huddled together by the fire, drinking wine and spending some proper quality time together".
So, would she recommend that older couples, or couples without children, get together to split the cost of hiring a cottage? "Definitely!" Hannah confirms. "It was very relaxed, and so much fun. It would have been great with the kids too, just perhaps a little less...boozy!".
So, would you consider hiring a holiday cottage this New Year's Eve? If so, Adam Ludnow from Classic Cottages has a handful of tips to help you pull off booking one at short notice:
- Consider your dream location. A cottage nestled in the countryside is perfect if you want to pull on your wellies and find a charming, traditional pub. Or, a cottage beside the sea is ideal if you want to devour some fish and chips to soak up that champagne!
- Get your friends and loved ones on board. If you're holidaying as a group, you'll need everyone to be cooperative so you can do a head-count. Ask for confirmations as soon as possible so you can figure out how many bedrooms your cottage will need and the sleeping arrangements.
- Order your food online. Take advantage of online delivery services by doing your food shop in advance so that your groceries arrive at the cottage when you do. After all, no-one wants to pack party food in a suitcase.
- Don't forget to pack the fun stuff. Bring food, music, wine, games - whatever a good New Year's Eve looks like to you.
- Sign up to email alerts and newsletters. If you're on the mailing list, you'll be told when there are good deals up for grabs, including late availability and last minute breaks.
- If you can't book somewhere in time for this New Year's Eve, use advance reservations for 2017. This will ensure you have first refusal on your favourite cottage.