Friday, December 28, 2012

The New Year's Party

I don't remember how it started, or even when it started.  It started as these things do.  Many of our friends don't like to go out or travel on New Year's Eve because of all the drinking and driving {apparently} going on.  So, we invited some neighbors over for New Year's Eve.  We told the adults to bring a snack-y-appetizer-y thing to share and we told the kids to bring sleeping bags.  Each year these parties have grown, this year we are adding more friends to the fun and I can't wait!

There was a time in my life when I tried to make everything all picture-perfect, magazine-worthy and just caused myself a lot of stress and back ache.  Now, I keep things simple.  In fact, I have chosen "Simple" as my word for 2013.  Since all the guests bring snacky food to share and I make platters of cookies for New Year's Eve when I bake for Christmas and then freeze the already assembled platters...I keep my prep simple.  We don't serve dinner.  This is more like a cocktail party.  This year I bought some hummus, some pita chips, some veggies; cheese and crackers and some fancy olives from the olive bar; and because I was in the mood, Ruffles Ridges chips and french onion dip (I think those ridges just hold up better in dip, don't you?).  A few bottles of wine, a couple cases of good beer, some vodka and cranberry juice--so festive! and a few bottles of champagne...and some sparkling cider, juice boxes and water bottles for the kids...and that is about it.

We usually start the shindig around 7pm, but some of our friends have already said that they go to bed early and would leave early, so we told them to come around 5pm.  I am kind of excited for that, too.  I am excited to entertain in groups.  Obviously, these are all our friends and I love and know them all well, but knowing I will have quality time with everyone seems really cool going into it.

The adults hang out upstairs, either chatting in the living room or playing games in the dining room.  The kids take over the basement, playing in the play room or watching a movie or playing Wii.  I will set up bowls of chips, pretzels, dip and popcorn downstairs.  Maybe some cheese and crackers and raw veggies, too and a cooler of juice boxes and water bottles.  The kids range in age from 8-15, so they are fairly self-sufficient and the older ones usually keep the younger ones in line, if necessary.

Most of the adults stay until midnight and we do the countdown for the ball to drop, then we take the kids outside and have them make some noise.  Usually the adults come back in and we may spend a few more HOURS talking before everyone leaves.  Thankfully, Jason is an early riser and usually has our house all cleaned up by the time I wake up on New Year's Day.

At some point before midnight, we help the little ones set up sleeping bags all over our family room floor...some of them crash...others wait for the ball to drop...many spend the night.  I make french toast in the morning...easy peasy, a few loaves of bread, some egg, milk and orange juice...and then their parents pick them up!

It's become a tradition that we look forward to every year!