I've always loved Christmas, both for the fact that it is the season when truth and goodness and light in a completely pure and unadulterated form entered the world (I could sense this even when very young as I think all children can), and also because it is the time when families get together and there is (usually) a feeling of real good will that may not be so prominent at other times of the year. I have even gone back to believing in Father Christmas as a kind of nature spirit representing the best of paganism, but baptised and Christianised as all paganism now must be if it is not to lapse into an atavistic spiritual dead end. Of course, I don't mean I literally believe in Father Christmas, but as a personification of a spiritual truth, why not? Now that my children are getting older Christmas is not so magical a time for them, and therefore me, as it was when they were younger, but it still maintains something of its wonder. That wonder is centred on light in darkness which is why winter is the natural season for Christmas.
By the same token, I've always disliked New Year's Eve and all the hyped up celebrations that surround it. This is a relatively recent thing, I think. The excessive nature of it certainly is. January 1st only became a public holiday in England in 1974 (presumably to allow people to recover from their hangovers). What are we actually supposed to be celebrating? I do understand that the idea of a fresh start and new beginning does have some meaning but this must be a spiritual thing, an entry into a higher realisation of life, real growth and opening up to a deeper reality, not just a hope for the same as before but with greater personal happiness and prosperity.
Because we live in a world without God, we live in a world without meaning. Consequently we try to project meaning onto things that don't have it such as the idea of a new year that begins at a totally arbitrary time, not linked to any astronomical or natural or religious factor. A purely materialistic thing with no inner meaning. Therefore our celebrations are empty, and I imagine we subconsciously know this which is why they revolve so much around excessive noisiness, drunkenness and false bonhomie.
The instinct to celebrate the new is a good one but it is totally misplaced when directed at the new year as it now is. This is yet another example of a materialization of a spiritual truth, another example of the corruption of the good. That is why it is fundamentally so empty and needs copious amounts of alcohol to sustain it. I'm not against wine and beer and so on. I think they are one of God's great gifts to a fallen world. But like all magical powers (which is what they are if you think about it), they need to be treated with respect and not abused or taken as a means to escape emptiness.
Fundamentally all our celebrations are a search for meaning. There is more meaning in Christmas than anything else except perhaps Easter. There is none at all in a materialistic new year. You might say that it doesn't matter what our search for meaning is directed at. It is the quest for meaning that matters. But to look for meaning in something that doesn't have it will just lead to disillusion and living an artificial existence. It really is a false celebration of nothing. When will we wake up and realise this? When will we look for meaning in the only thing that has it which is God?