'Stuff Mom Never Told You' Examines New Year’s Traditions


Anney and Samantha talk about New Year’s Eve on this episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You, examining the various pressures applied to the holiday: The pressure to get dressed up and go out, the pressure to spend money, the pressure to make resolutions, and the pressure to kiss at midnight. Samantha feels that midnight-kiss pressure is all about having a partner; her own mother would spend holidays crying about how she was going to die alone, she remarks dryly. But Anney’s had a few where the kiss was a pressure in and of itself: At one party, after obliging a male friend with a kiss, more male friends started to line up for “theirs;” another time, she kissed a female friend because she didn’t know any of the men there and got in trouble for “depriving them of a kissing partner.”

Anney shares the research she found about kissing at midnight, which includes a 1963 New York Times article about German traditions, but it’s likely it was popularized in the U.S. by the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally (or possibly Godfather Part II). “It seems like people just wanted to kiss so they came up with a reason to do it,” Anney concludes – but whether it’s related or not, rates of sexual assault are higher in the U.S. on New Year’s Eve than any other night of the year. 

They talk about the higher expectations put on women – by themselves and others – to strive for more organization around their family responsibilities, meal preparation, and workloads that make resolutions seem more challenging, but also how the constant weight-loss overtones can add extra stress to the process. For Anney, it feels a lot like “dismissing what you’ve already done, and then adding more.” She shares some advice for managing expectations around goals; then they talk about their own memories and traditions around the holiday (onesies are very important), recall some 2020 resolutions that didn’t age well, and much more; listen to this episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You for the whole conversation.

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