Start a New Tradition: New Year’s Eve at Home


New Year’s Eve is one of those high-expectations holidays. We all have visions of wearing some beautiful ensemble in a large glamorous setting, with the air full of glitter and a perfect midnight kiss over a champagne toast. Most years, I end up overthinking how to make a perfect evening at home, and then end up disappointed because I can’t recreate that ballroom in my living room. I have been totally missing the point.

The greatest things about any holiday are food, drink, and being with the people we care about. This year, if you don’t already have plans to head out, I challenge you to start a new tradition – New Year’s Eve at Home. It’s cheaper than going out and you don’t have to worry about driving home amongst those that had a little too much bubbly at the party.

With an at-home party, you can go one of two directions — “fancy pants” or “cool and casual.”

“Fancy Pants”
For those of you who still want to put on your party dress, the “fancy pants” night is for you. Pick a recipe that you want to try out, set the table with white linens and candles, and turn your living room into a makeshift dance floor. If you want to invite friends, make it a potluck and give each friend a course to bring. Don’t want to cook? Have everyone chip in and order a spread from your favorite local restaurant, or your nearby gourmet grocer. Stock up your bar cart and serve a signature champagne cocktail.

“Cool and Casual”
Want to wear your yoga pants and chill on a couch while enjoying food and merriment? The “cool and casual” party is for you. You can have your guests bring their favorite appetizers, or order a few pizzas. The key here is comfort. Buy (or print) hats, noisemakers, and some basic décor from your local party store, and make sure there are plenty of seats in your family room, so that everyone is comfy. Pop out the Apples to Apples game, challenge everyone to a game of charades, or watch your favorite movie.

No matter which party you host, please make sure that if your guests are drinking, that you secure a cab for them, or invite them to crash in your guest room.

This year Bryan and I will be going the “fancy pants” route, for two. We are planning on making beef wellington, truffle mac & cheese and chocolate mousse. I will be setting the table, making a mix of our favorite jazz songs on my iPod, and making a gin and champagne cocktail called the French 75.

What are your New Year’s Eve traditions? Are you more of a “Fancy Pants” or “Cool and Casual” type? Leave your comments below.

Happy New Year!

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