Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Focus to New Year's Eve

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to celebrate New Year's Eve any number of fun ways -- when I was a kid, we occasionally went and saw the fireworks downtown. When I was older I had parties with my friends -- both hosted them and attended them. There were the more innocent parties, before I could drink legally, and then there were the "line the kitchen sink with a trash bag and fill it with juice & vodka" parties (sounds delightful now, but back then we thought it was great!). I have celebrated at very fancy dinners in very fancy restaurants, and I have had very fancy dinners in any number of friends' and families' homes, as well as my own.

The year that I was pregnant with our first daughter, her due date was January 12th, so that New Year's there was no drinking, no going out -- just a mellow night, each of us on our own couch, me with a bottle of sparkling grape juice, and an all night "Law & Order" marathon! The year after that, our very good friends invited us over and we brought the baby with us -- just the 5 of us -- and it was a great evening, but we were both so nervous driving home that night -- it's such a terrible night to be out driving!
Now that both of our girls have come along, my husband and I have refocused what we like to do on New Year's. Now, it's more about staying home and making it a festive evening with our kids than going out for a gourmet meal, or going out to a party. I think last year we watched the countdown on the Disney channel, instead of Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve. This year we are planning to watch "Rudolph's Shiny New Year", have some kid-friendly munchies that our girls will like, and get out our New Year's decorations -- New Year's party napkins, hats, noisemakers, some sparkler candles, etc.

One thing that has become a tradition for us at New Year's is for everyone to have "crackers" -- they are actually a Christmas tradition in the United Kingdom, but we started using them as a New Year's Eve treat in our house. For those who are unfamiliar with them, they are a brightly wrapped cardboard tube that is filled with a few little trinkets and usually you pull them open and there is a little "bang" as they pop open. Our oldest daughter loves them! My stepmother put them out for us for Christmas dinner this year and my girl had fun opening, well, everyone's! This year I've been sick and sticking to the house, so I have not had time to go out and buy the crackers, but I decided that I'm going to try my hand at making them! I plan to take a wrapping paper roll and cut it into a few small tube-lengths, and then I will fill it with some treats -- I have some candy, some plastic beaded party necklaces that my girls will love, and I'll just see what else I find -- then I will wrap them with wrapping paper like the picture above and tie them with ribbon -- voila! I may do these on my own to surprise my girls, but this would also be very easy to have the kids do themselves, as a funny activity!
Our other tradition, came about a few years ago when I had purchased a fancy dessert for us to share, and it did NOT turn out to be something that my daughter appreciated. In a last minute attempt to make her her own "fancy dessert" I grabbed a pudding cup from the fridge, put it on a plate, put a flourish of whipped cream on top and a sprinkling of M&M's -- she LOVED it! Now, that's what she requests when it's a fancy dessert kind of evening!
And don't get me wrong, we're not ALL about the kids -- we have our very festive kid party, and then we put the kids to bed and my husband and I have a nice dinner and some wine or champagne. Last year we had a nice dinner in front of the fireplace with the Christmas tree lights on, and then we snuggled up and watched a romantic movie. We love to spend time with our kids, but it's also important to make time for the grown-ups too!


Teamcarbone said...

Sounds like a really great family night. I hope you feel good enough to stay up for the countdown and your "movie". :)

Happy New Year!

Deanna said...

Yeah, best laid plans and all... We ended up having McDonald's - all of us, and we didn't have the shrimp that we defrosted - hubby thought shrimp and McD's didn't go well (I agree!). We did watch Rudolph's Shiny New Year, AND I made the crackers for my 2 girls and my sweet girlie LOVED them! They worked really great - I highly recommend that! AND, she enjoyed the specially made version so much she asked if I'd do that every year! I taped the New Year's Eve special and she and I watched it this afternoon and she got a kick out of seeing all the people in Times Square, and seeing the ball drop.

Oh, and no movie -- REALLY, it was a movie! -- and none of "that" either! ;)

Teamcarbone said...

Cute idea to tape the ball drop,which we did not see! I woke up around 12:15 and hear someone shooting off fireworks.

Bummer about the shrimp. We went out for Sushi, yummy stuff.

Christine said...

Um you had McDonalds for New Years Eve?!?!?!?!?