You would be going out on a limb (pun intended) at this late date if you called your tried and true friends and cancelled. I can sympathize with you wanting to do something new and different to start the New Year. Who knows, maybe the others feel the same way.
If this were September my advice would be different. I'd tell you to approach the gang and suggest that by New Years Eve everyone is worn out and bored with the same old holiday tree, dips, hoopla and tradition.
Since it all starts with Thanksgiving I'd suggest you ask them about changing your traditions and getting together in early December or better yet the first week of February (something definite).
At those times all of you will be ready to party and not be thinking of taking the tree down and having family over the next day. They may be relieved. I bet over the last 18 years they too have passed on some special invitations.
But it is not September. It is late December and the hostess is expecting you. Being a small group, two people make a big difference and it would be rude and unkind to beg out.
If the new people are worth knowing they will be impressed with your loyalty when you tell them the truth.
I do not believe in doing something you don't enjoy just because you always did it. People change and so do circumstances. Tradition is wonderful as long as it remains special and not a chore.
Just remember the old saying, it holds many truths. Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver but the other is gold.
I wish you and all our Readers a Gold and Happy New Year,
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