It's cool to hate New Year's Eve, since what's there to love, really? A day off from work, an excuse to hang out with your closest friends, a convenient opportunity to reflect on your life over the past year and consider how to improve it in the next, champagne, dressing up, dancing, fireworks sometimes, drunkenly singing Auld Lang Syne. Give me a break. If you dislike New Year's, it's because you're doing it wrong. Come, take my hand—I just washed it, that's why it's wet—and we'll navigate this journey together.

Figure Out Who Your Friends Are

The first step and MOST important part of a successful New Year's is having your people locked down. Assuming you like your friends, you'll be equally content at a hectic rager or a woodsy cabin or the state jailhouse you wind up in after grossly underestimating the impact your fireworks would have on the walls of your woodsy cabin. After that, who cares? If something truly dreadful happens, it will make a good story to retell for years to come. As an anecdote: I've spent each NYE, with limited exception, with the same people for the last 15 or so years. Significant others have joined in the fun, significant others have been broken up with and summarily joined the ranks of the effigies (see below), but always, always, I know that without fail that these will be My People. It helps enormously.

Figure Out Where You'll Be Going

Vague plans are the archenemy of a fun New Year's. There are some excellent events going on in and around NYC this year, and you can certainly partake of one of them for a reasonable sum. The Rub is having what promises to be a ripping party at The Bell House for 50 clams, but there are plenty of other similarly priced options out there. Buy a ticket to something you'd be happy to do, but don't spend so much as to negate the possibility of blowing it off early for a better party. Do not plan nothing and assume it will work out, because when's the last time that didn't wind up with you stuck on an MTA bus two minutes before midnight? Never. Exactly. I rest my case.

Don't Put Too Much Pressure On It

It's 2016, not fucking Y2K. (Remember when we called it that? Jesus.) Not every detail of your evening has to be memorable and perfect, just like much of your 2015 was probably neither memorable nor perfect. New Year's isn't ruined if there's traffic or if the train doesn't come or someone sprays vomit on your festive pumps. If it is, maybe you should use the new year to commit to becoming more zen.

Dress Up

It doesn't matter where you're going or whether it calls for finery: How often does life present you the opportunity to wear a sequined top hat or a getup you initially mistook for a bathing suit balled up in the corner of a Forever 21 fitting room? Only on New Year's, and your wedding day. Lifehack: Wear the same outfit to both.

Plan Your Hangover

When you get old in life, things get taken from you, like your ability to drink until 4 a.m. without repercussions. You know the drill by now: When you get home, stuff your face with a couple of your preferred pain meds and as much water as you can handle without throwing up. Wake up, eat something hair-raisingly greasy, and go back to sleep. After your second nap, wake up for real this time and make yourself go outside and get moving. Eat some vegetables and get to bed early. WikiHow has extensive advice on this topic, but as you know, the only area at which WikiHow truly excels is how to clean up ghosts, so take their advice with a grain of salt. Mine, as ever, is infallible.

Burn An Effigy

It's normal to get a bit maudlin during New Year's. Another year of your life is dunzo, and it's weird and a little sad because you remember, like it was yesterday, what you were doing last year at this time. Perhaps you've undergone lots of changes; perhaps you haven't undergone enough. Perhaps you've undergone the exact correct number of changes and just want to light some shit on fire. Let's talk about effigies.

Ecuadorians have some solid New Year's traditions (wearing yellow underwear for prosperity, eating twelve grapes at midnight for...additional prosperity) but the best by far is Año viejo, in which people build large, hay-stuffed dolls resembling either those they dislike or notable figures from the past year (or both!). At midnight, everyone lights the effigy on fire and watches it BURN. Baller. Your effigy can be a little more modest, but there's something very calming about seeing the embodiment of everything you dislike melting before your eyes. Tip: Kraft American cheese is supremely easy to press into the precise shape of Donald Trump's hair.

Bring A Warm Jacket

The only thing that can utterly destroy a New Year's is being cold. If you're in NYC, you'll probably have to wait outside for a cab longer than you would on a Tuesday morning, sorry. Wear a coat and remember that it doesn't matter what time you get home—odds are, you don't have to work in the morning. If there's some chance that you'll fall asleep on the beach on a remote island off the coast of Panama and it starts pouring and the only cover around is a palm frond that all the Germans are already hogging, you'll wish you'd brought a jacket. If you're stuck in a warehouse commune in a remote part of San Francisco and you have to wait until your friend is done hooking up with a guy named Tad before you guys can leave and get some damn brunch, you'll want a jacket. A large part of the New Year's magic is that anything can happen. Don't ruin your own good time with your uncontrollable shivering.

Happy New Year, everyone. Be safe, and make sure not to pass out before your effigy is fully extinguished. See you on the other side.