I’ve finally found my way to the perfect New Year’s Eve

Is it just me or does everyone reach a point in their young adult lives where they no longer enjoy New Year’s Eve? You know that “too cool for school” attitude that happens around your late 20s? Or maybe it’s just the natural time when friends start to go in different directions through marriage, new jobs, new homes and kids. For some of us it takes a while to get settled all over again and find our groove. Or maybe that’s just me?!  Either way with Mike’s help, I’ve finally found my way to the perfect New Year’s Eve and I really love this night all over again. For us it’s a night in with friends avoiding the cold weather, the street closures and the Times Square crowds roaming the city. We make too much food, buy too much booze and squeeze too many people into a too small living room. It’s the best! It’s calm and relaxing after weeks of party prep, which for us is half the fun. It’s the anecdote to the Christmas frenzy.

The what, where and how of New Year’s Eve will be different for everyone, but the why is something we can all share. Why? Because why not start your year off making peace with your past, taking stock of what you have right now and deciding what you want for the future. Call it resolutions-light. For me this practice is better than making lofty resolutions I probably won’t keep. It can be simple or elaborate, but this holiday is such an appropriate time to look both ways, backward and forward, so shouldn’t there be a fun send-off on its eve?  We vote yes to celebrating each year’s ending and beginning in the way that makes you happiest. Whether it’s alone or with a crowd the important thing is to make it right for you.

It gives a whole new meaning to word homebody

You can be a homebody, a VIP at the swankiest club in town or fast asleep before the ball ever drops on Gotham. There are so many “perfect” ways to transition into the new year. So why all the fuss? Well for starters, it’s a great excuse for a party. That’s the obvious reason.  But straight out of left field, I think it’s therapeutic. It’s a clean slate. Starting with the countdown, I love the order of New Year’s Eve; end one thing, start another. Of course if you ask me, there’s no better place to end one year and start the next than from your kitchen with a tasty meal, tunes cranking, guests laughing and drinks flowing!

I guess you’d say we fall under the homebody category since we’ve spent every New Year’s Eve together throwing a tiny-apartment soiree to celebrate the occasion.  It gives a whole new meaning to the word homebody. The burning question is always, “What should we make?” We’ve served some great fare over the years from pizza to meatballs to roast beef sandwiches. One of my favorite menus of holidays past was tacos and margaritas! It was a last minute idea that Mike came up with because it would reduce the amount of cooking and cleaning we would need to do once our guests arrived. Since then we’ve managed to come up with a riff on taco night that’s even more party friendly. If you’re still deciding what to make this year, try our Hearty Chili With White Beans and Chick Peas. It feeds a crowd and can be made in advance, two of my favorite attributes of any dish. You can even serve it in taco shells or wraps! We serve it with tortilla chips and also make a side of guacamole to go with it. Be sure to check out the recipes for details.

The most important part is that everyone including the host has a really good time

Hosting is a balancing act and front loading the work is the trick. The most important part of the party, second even to the food (a very close second) is that everyone including the host has a really good time. So we wrapped up Christmas in Philly, hopped the next train back to New York City and began shopping for our party right there, in our usual seat on a northbound New Jersey Transit train. Recyclable plastic cups, champagne flutes, flatware and dishes were just clicks away and would save on cleaning and buy us time with our friends. Don’t worry. We selected only the fanciest recyclable plastic available.

The beauty of this taco night-variation is that the meal itself can be prepared ahead of time, which means most of the clean up happens in advance too. It was really important to us that we find a low touch meal for this party. Too often we spend most of our time in the kitchen, which in our apartment is tucked away and removed from the fun. With this menu, most of the mess will be gone by the time the feast is served. The chili will stay hot on the stove or can be kept warm on an aluminum sterno tray. The corn chips, guacamole and assorted toppings are easily accessible in disposable bowls that came complete with lids for easy prep and storage. Continuing our play on taco night, the feature drink is a margarita but we’ll also have prosecco and wine and a few other cocktail surprises. The best part about this food theme, although admittedly not very new yearsy is that it allows us to be free to really enjoy the party and pay attention to our friends. As expected, the most pressing tasks of the evening will be mixing drinks and playing DJ, which in a tiny apartment means you’re not far from the action.

Discover what makes you happy and then commit to it

Of course, New Year’s Eve is more than just a party or a list of resolutions. It’s a time to organize your life, put things in their place, discover what makes you happy and then commit to it. It doesn’t matter if that means going to bed early and doing yoga at 6 am on January 1st or making a feast and clinking glasses until the wee hours. It matters that you chose what works for you, for the eve and for the year that follows. Happy New Year to you and yours and thank you for reading! Leave a comment and let us know how you spend New Year’s Eve. We’d love to hear your story!