The holidays are here again! YAY! It's that time of year where we put aside the rat race for a few days in order to remember what's really important: food, booze, and blood relations we barely see the rest of the year. This being a ramble, we're here to provide a guided tour through the holidays, Backyard-style. So, sit back and relax: you're in good hands, we swear.
Thanksgiving Eve. It sounds dignified, doesn't it? Almost religious in its significance? While every day obviously has an Eve, we don't typically refer to, say, September 29th, the day before my birthday, as "SalitskEve," although we should totally start doing that. ("What are you doing for SalitskEve this year, dear friend? I hope you shall be paying tribute to the founder and namer of the holiday, as all good citizens do," has a very nice ring to it) No, a day has to be of greater societal import than my birthday to receive an "Eve." Christmas gets an Eve. New Year's gets an Eve. Halloween actually is an Eve, and it even sort of gets its own Eve in addition to being an Eve itself, if you count Devil's Night. Oftentimes, the Eve overshadows the event it is building toward- honestly, who in their right mind prefers the inevitable hangover of New Year's Day to the Party-Like-It's-1999 vibe that New Year's Eve has going on? Nobody, that's who. And, while the dignified-sounding Thanksgiving Eve is not really referred to as an Eve by everyone, it is referred to as an Eve by Scranton drinkers and service workers, who, for the purposes of this blog, are the only people that matter.
So, with the necessary expository paragraph out of the way, let's get to the meat and potatoes of the piece: I love Thanksgiving Eve. I think everyone should love Thanksgiving Eve. It is a fun, no pressure night that is big enough to make a mark on your calendar but small enough that it's not a big deal if you happen to stay in and miss it. (Obviously, you can't ever truly "miss" a day, but you can miss the public celebration of said day, so there you are) In Scranton, it brings our prodigal sons and daughters back to the homestead, giving us all a chance to catch up with each other in ways that seemed important before social media came along to take all the fun out of everything. ("Oh, you got married a month ago, did you? Good for you, even though this conversation is completely superfluous because I saw it in my newsfeed three minutes after you said, 'I do,'" just isn't as much fun as being genuinely surprised and happy for an old friend in a surprise moment) Also, it's an excuse to get so drunk that your hangover destroys any chance you had of enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, a meal you wait all year to eat. Such is life.
Provided you took our advice on Thanksgiving Eve, you will hate Thanksgiving until about 3 in the afternoon, when your Ibuprofen kicks in and you start sampling the wine your alcoholic Aunt brought back from her trip to the Finger Lakes a month ago. You finally drink enough to feel normal again and immediately begin feasting upon leftovers, provided you can avoid talking to your drunk Uncle who won't shut up about Obamacare. You drink enough to feel like going out again only to remember that most bars are closed, which prompts you to drink more blackberry merlot and eat more leftovers until you pass out in an armchair with a turkey leg stuck in your wine-stained, purple teeth. Be thankful your liver hasn't shut down yet, because this is only the warmup for the main event coming next month.
CHRISTMAS EVE EVE
This is another great one, for the same reasons Thanksgiving Eve is great: booze and merriment. Head down to the Backyard and enjoy the best beers the season has to offer, like Anchor's Our Special Ale, which is a true winter classic.
Christmas Eve is pretty great, for the most part. The bars are closed after about four o'clock, unless you like to hang out at the sketchiest places in town, and you enjoy a few cocktails in order to make with the merriment. You still have the orgy of consumer delights to look forward to the following day, and everyone is generally on their best behavior, even your dickhead Uncle, lest Santa put him on the naughty list again this year. Enjoy this night, for it is the calm before the storm that is the rest of the holiday season.
Christmas morning is great until ten minutes after you open your gifts, when the realization that you once again did not get what you really wanted again this year sets in. (Or, alternatively, you did get what you really wanted, but it's not nearly as cool as you thought it would be) The remainder of Christmas day is spent eating with relatives you avoid the rest of the year for good reason, and your patience is stretched to the limit. Thankfully, when the sun goes down, Christmas night will come around to give you a taste of what you really wanted.
Here we go. After enduring the family you never wanted for a seeming eternity, the Ghost of Christmas Present works one last miracle and gives you the night out you always wanted, provided you enjoy drinking with friends or strangers in a bar lit up for the occassion. Everyone is in a good mood because, hot damn, it's Christmas Night! Take the time to send goodwill toward your fellow men/women by buying a drink for a stranger, and who knows? If they're in a simliarly merry mood, you may end up getting what you really wanted after all.
THE WEEK BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S EVE
This is where things get hairy. Maybe you're in from college and want to catch up with all your old friends, maybe you have a few precious days off from work to remember what is was like to be a human being with some free time to call your own, or, maybe, you still have to work but burn the candle at both ends and spend the week perpetually hungover at your job. Whatever your situation, there are a few certainties: you will drink too much, you will eat too much, and you will grow tired of it all before New Year's Eve rolls around, and you remember you need someone to kiss at midnight. Good luck, my friend- you're going to need it.
NEW YEAR'S EVE
This is it: the night the entire year has been building toward. New Year's Eve should always be the best night of the year, and, as a result of that, it very rarely is. I can't tell you how many New Year's Eves I have spent thinking I was about to have a truly exceptional night and ended up only getting exceptionally drunk and making an exceptional ass out of myself. If you're in a relationship, you'll have a good time, provided you spend the holiday together. If you're single, welcome to hell, my friend- everyone is looking to get drunk and laid tonight, and, provided you are a heterosexual male, women will be able to smell the desperation coming from you like the stink of a rotting corpse. The only way to survive is to remind yourself that it's just another night and treat it is such; otherwise, you will inevitably be let down by one last, shitty, expensive night out. Happy New Year!
(Or, you can do the sensible thing and come down to The Backyard Ale house, where $65 gets you your pick of 28 drafts, liquor, wine, most of our 500 bottles, and the Full Monty catering package, which includes an assortment of Hot & Cold Sliders, Meatballs, Homemade Mac'n Cheese, Pizza, Stromboli, Buffalo Wing Bites, & House Cut Potato Chips & Dip. Now, I'm not going to guarantee that you'll have a great time, but I can assure you you will be in the best possible position to have that great night in the city of Scranton. Take your pick)
NEW YEAR'S DAY
Your hangover will once again render your mother's efforts to make the perfect meal useless, as the jackhammer pounding in your skull will be too loud for you to enjoy anything. Drink your champagne toast, eat as much as you can to seem polite, and retire to the couch to sleep through most of the college football games on TV. While you dream of returning to work the next day to catch up on the two weeks of work you inevitably put off because you were too busy drinking, remember to make a whole bunch of resolutions you won't keep while another year flies by, finding you in the exact same spot you were in this year. And that, my friends, is how we do it in America. Happy New Year indeed!