AMATEUR NIGHT. That's what those of us who go out the other 364 days a year call Dec. 31. A rip-off. That's what diners think of the inflated prices restaurants and bars charge that night. A hoax. Other naysayers ask, of all nights, why this one?
Now, we're no end-of-2011 grumps. But this year, we're feeling the urge to avoid the coatless army of novice, money-blowing partyers who fill sidewalks and barstools. On Saturday night, we'll be fine with staying in, and, yeah, kinda hating on typical New Year's Eve customs. Here's why - and how.
Use the money you won't spend on NYE nonsense to envelop yourself in cozy comforts that'll feel great Saturday night - and all winter long.
* Faux fox, mink, coyote, raccoon, beaver, bear, chinchilla, even polar bear and koala fur throws, all backed in silk, by Montague & Capulet, $350 each at Kellijane, 1721 Spruce St., 215-790-0233. A conscience-clear, totally chic and entirely cuddle-worthy splurge from a fancy Rittenhouse boutique.
* Mack's Pillow Soft Ear Plugs, $5.79 at CVS stores or www.cvs.com. So quiet, you'll think you're underwater.
* Snuggie, $19.99, 866-642-6881, www.mysnuggiestore.com. The leopard print MicroPlush is on-trend and nearly sexy, but the bright penguin print is just too fun. Also available at Target.
* Royal Velvet White Down pillows, 400-thread count, $39.99, Bed Bath and Beyond, www.bedbathandbeyond.com. Cheaper than a bottle of fancy French bubbly. Doubles as a backup noise-blocker if you forget those earplugs.
Cheaper, lower-key options that won't make you regret your night the next morning:
5. For active semi-haters: The Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn's Landing. Get some fresh air and exercise. If you happen to enjoy the nearby fireworks, well, that's not our fault. Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street, 215-925-7465, www.riverrink.
com. $9, open until 1 a.m. New Year's Eve. (Skate rental $3, parking $10.)
4. For almost-homebodies: Organize a progressive dinner with a couple of your neighbors. One house makes appetizers, another entrées, the other desserts. Eat your way from one to the other. Walk home.
3. For would-be photojournalists: Snap before and after photos of Two Street. Take first one Saturday around dusk. Return same time Sunday. Marvel at the difference.
Oh, and if you go during the day, stop by Federal Donuts (1219 S. 2nd St., 267,687-8258) for fried chicken and doughnuts, open at 7 a.m. New Year's Eve and Day. They're doing a wing special!
2. For the truly out-there: Attend the "We Are Not Alone" conference of the Main Line Mutual UFO Network at Tredyffrin Public Library, 582 Upper Gulph Road, Radnor, www.mainline
mufon.com, noon-5 p.m. Saturday, $20. Then, look for a flying saucer among the fireworks.
1. For expert-level NYE haters: Completely ignore holiday. Stay at home. Should you attempt this, be prepared. (See "Don't Dress Up.")
On every other Sunday, we wait in brunch lines for hours, our bellies rumbling in anticipation of omelets and home fries. But just think, with everyone else in hangover stupors, your aversion to New Year's allows you to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the first brunch day of 2012. Here are some spots that will be open on New Year's Day:
* Local 44 (4333 Spruce St., 215-222-8991, local44beerbar.
Coincidentally, this is also their anniversary. To celebrate three years in West Philly, there will be lots of specials, and brunch will be served all day so even Johnny-come-latelies can partake of beermosas.
* South Philly Taproom (1509 Mifflin St., 215-271-7787, southphillytaproom.com).
Steak and eggs Benedict. Do it.
* Khyber Pass Pub (56 S. Second St., 215-238-5888, khyber
The revitalized Old City spot just started serving brunch. Why not start off the New Year with a beignet?
* Morning Glory Diner (735 S. 10th St., 215-413-3999, the
There's always a wait for our beloved frittatas at this maddingly tiny Bella Vista spot. But it has no liquor license, which means that partyers won't stumble in for some hair of the dog.
* Honey's Sit 'N Eat (800 N. 4th St., 215-925-1150, honeyssitneat.
Given that this spot in Northern Liberties - land of the cute brunch spots - is full most every weekend, this alone makes staying home on New Year's Eve worthwhile.
* Trestle Inn (339 N. 11th St., 267-239-0290, thetrestleinn.com).
The once creepy, now swanky cocktail spot debuts its brunch service on New Year's Day. We can't vouch for the breakfast fare, but if their cocktails are any indication, you'd be remiss if you didn't order a Bloody Mary.
Planning to go out? These fast, dreadful facts might persuade you otherwise:
* According to PennDOT, there were 873 crashes and 11 deaths around Pennsylvania during the 2010 New Year's holiday; 172 of those crashes were alcohol-related, as were 10 of the fatalities.
* Champagne's not all that bad for you (about 90 calories per three-ounce glass), but throw back a Bailey's Irish Cream whiskey or two, and watch your cholesterol skyrocket. One 1.3-ounce serving (a smallish shot) packs in 45 percent of your daily limit of cholesterol.
* Without New Year's Eve, we would have been spared the horrific film "New Year's Eve." Robert De Niro, we weep for you. Other cultural travesties: Barry Manilow's "It's Just Another New Year's Eve."
* Remember last year, when 3,000 birds randomly fell out of the sky in Arkansas? Birds don't even celebrate and they hate New Year's Eve.
Who needs a party when there's television to be watched? Many channels will run marathons on New Year's Eve, continuing into New Year's Day, to the benefit of us haters. Here are some:
A&E: "Dog the Bounty Hunter."
AMC: "The Walking Dead," starting with the pilot, starting at 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve.
BIO: "Celebrity Ghost Stories."
Bravo: "The Real Housewives" . . . of various places.
Cartoon Network: "The Boondocks" and "Bleach."
Food Network: "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
GSN: "Family Feud."
HBO2: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Season 7 repeat starts at midnight Jan. 1.
LMN: Pick-a-Flick movie marathon.
SyFy: "Twilight Zone."
TVLand: "Everybody Loves Raymond."