A little creativity can go a long way in turning those stale happy new year salutations into fresh ones that inspire genuine smiles and good feelings.
Year after year we dole out the same thing. After the clock strikes twelve and after the collective release of new year cheer dies down, we extend the standard to each individual that crosses our path. In return we receive compensation for what we just let go. Happy new year. Hey, happy new year to you too. And so on and so forth.
Another common one is the preemptive happy blah, blah. Knowing full well we won't be seeing a certain individual at the party and that we won't get a chance to speak with them before the madness begins, we'll extend our best wishes prior to the event in question. This way we can sleep better at night with the knowledge that we snuck it in there and thus can't be talked about for leaving anyone out.
Also noteworthy is the belated happy blah, blah. Lacking the presence of mind to say it before New Year's Eve we instead say it after the fact, either by our own effort or if circumstances allow. Basically if you're not important enough to get a preemptive "happy" you'll get a belated one. Then, based on your ranking in the tier two category of importance, we'll either purposely seek you out to give you your happy blah, blah or, if you rank as low as Rosie O'Donnel would if we knew her personally, wait until we run into you by pure happenstance and then break out the happy blah, blah, just to be civilized.
It's always the same. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. So if you're interested, here are some tips for breaking the routine:
Text messages. Yes, the world of LOL's and TTYL's is an uncouth one, but everybody has a cell phone. Besides, where is it written that U have 2 submit 2 those casual infelicities anyway? A quick and short "Happy New Year!" sent to the object of your attention, be it across the room or in a different time zone, will undoubtedly be regarded as sweet or thoughtful, depending on your relationship with the person. So within the first few minutes of the new year take a moment to text. To save time you can even have it saved in your drafts, so all you have to do is send the bloody thing. It's simple, different and effective.
If your list is too big or if you're just not tech savvy, why not host your own party? Nothing says happy blah, blah better than free food and drink. You don't need to break the bank. It'll largely be a BYOB affair. But serving up some cheddar and zinfandel (insert some beer, champagne and a small assortment of finger foods here) is the only way to be a good host. And a good host can wake up the next morning feeling happy, having not left anyone out (you invited everyone, even those you knew wouldn't come, right?) and having said a happy blah, blah to the entire lot. To boot, you didn't even have to open your mouth, just your wallet.
Finally, if the happy blah, blah is a sacred affair for you, and you really feel the need to do something different this time around, why not consider giving New Year's gifts to your loved ones? Make a short list of family members and close friends who will be on the receiving end of your graciousness. Spend a few moments reflecting on each individual and jot down a short list of cheap but highly personalized gifts that would suit them. Once your notes are finalized, settle on ONE gift per person, no exceptions. Also, set a limit on how much you will spend. $20 is a good number. Go out then and pick up your gifts. On arriving home, and when you're ready to tackle the wrapping, take each gift and reflect once again on the individual it's intended for. If they're special enough to have made it onto your list, they're special enough for you to tell them all about it. A short note, either written on a small card or on a sheet of lined paper even, telling them how much they mean to you and wishing them nothing but the best in the coming year will surely bring about a smile and a gust of good feelings. If nothing else they'll think it's different. And personally, I believe that's rarely a bad thing.