2011 New Year's glasses

What do you think about the 2011 New Year's glasses. Photo: Jolie Novak, AOL

Don't worry party-goers, there will be 2011 New Year's glasses, even if they were a little harder for manufacturers to pull off this time around.

The ubiquitous glasses that just scream I-am-a-party-animal were a perfect fit for 2000 through 2009, with eye-holes in the two middle zeroes. And even 2010 worked well with the "1" as the nose piece.

But here comes 2011, with just one circle to work with. Don't worry - where there is a party need, there is a way.

Most 2011 New Year's glasses designs feature lenses in the 0 and as part of the first 1. Others have wide, boxy numbers, with a 1 large enough to become a lens itself. Some nestle the second lens between the two 1s.

Manufacturers and sellers say they had to solve the challenge -- the trend is hotter than ever.

"If anything, it's gotten stronger every year," said Keith Varner, a marketing support manager for the Beistle Company, a Pennsylvania-based major party-goods manufacturer, adding that the glasses have become one of their biggest-selling New Years items. "It's become a staple for New Year's, just like a horn or confetti."

Demand for the glasses was so high – not only for New Year's but also for high school and college graduations – that Varner said his company didn't even consider giving them up. Employees brainstormed various designs, he said, including one with the numbers above the eyes and another that played on the word "New Years," but ultimately went with the glittered model that has the eyeholes encased in the two middle numbers.

It's the version that was chosen by Shades of Fun, the online novelty glasses retailer.


"We've got a beautiful design that a lot of people are responding very well to," said Pat Shea, the general manager. "The novelty of having the glasses on New Years that began in the late 90s has now turned into a tradition, so it's expected that people are going to have glasses."

It all started in 1990, when two Seattle musicians hatched the idea for glow-in-the-dark glasses with eye-holes nestled in the tops of the two nines. Their glasses went on the market the following year and became an instant hit.

The trend sailed easily into the 21st century, with double zeroes that seemed tailor-made for glasses. But as the naughts came to a close, some feared the glasses trend would be over, too. Three-hundred and sixty-five people like the Facebook page, The New Years Glasses Makers Will All be Out of a Job Come 2011.

Not so. Varner, of Beistle, remembers chuckling on New Year's Eve 2009, watching the festivities on television and hearing hosts remark that it was the last year they'd see the New Years glasses.

"We already had 2010 designed," he said. "We'll keep going as long as we can be creative."

(And to see New Year's looks from many years ago, see these beautiful photos from the Life archive.)