Once upon a time, I got dressed up in a formal gown and went out dancing and drinking until midnight on New Years Eve.
That was 1999 when we partied like a Prince song.
These days our NYE celebrations tend to be quiet evenings at home. Our kids are too small to stay up very late (or sleep in the next morning) so in the interest of self preservation, we keep things pretty mellow.
As I was explaining NYE to my 5-year old daughter, she immediately latched on to the idea of staying up until midnight to greet the new year. "I want to stay up late!" she exclaimed.
Quickly followed by, "I'm not going to bed until YOU go to bed."
Well, truth be told, this mama hasn't made it to midnight on NYE for probably five years. So, staying up as late as mommy really wasn't a huge stretch.
I wasn't initially planning anything festive for the evening. I had soup simmering in the crock pot for dinner. I had a bottle of champagne chilled in the fridge. Period. End of story.
Until hubby mentioned that we should, "Do something fun" for New Years Eve. Well, spontaneous fun on NYE with three kids in the house is kind of tricky to pull off. But I'm nothing if not creative, so I quickly announced that we would be having FANCY DINNER.
I don't think it was exactly what my husband had in mind when he suggested something fun, but I didn't hear his protests because I was off down the hall informing all the kids that they needed to get busy picking out their fancy outfits and washing behind their ears for FANCY DINNER.
This FANCY DINNER idea came to life around 3pm, so my resources and ability to "fancy up" our dinner plans were a bit cramped for time. But I've got a two year old that loves collared shirts and his new bowtie, and a five year old that loves any excuse to dress like a princess. They jumped right on the bandwagon. The teenager was a tougher sell, but she did comply and changed out of her PJ's into actual day-wear clothing for the occasion.
So what does spontaneous FANCY DINNER look like? Well, we ironed the tablecloth and pulled out the fine china. The kids drank milk from wine glasses. We lit candles. There were place cards on the table, lest anyone forget where they should be sitting. I whipped out my $7 (no kidding!) clearance-rack holiday dress that I bought over a year ago, but had never worn. Hubby shaved and put on a collared shirt. We dined on fine mini-quiches, homemade crab won-tons, hearty bean soup, and chips and salsa. For dessert I tried out a fantastic (and dangerously simple) Apple Fritter recipe I found on Pinterest ages ago.
OK, so the menu may not have been classy. It was more like freezer leftovers with a side of convenience store snacks and a chaser of deep-fried artery cloggers. But the kids thought it was pretty awesome because it was a dinner of finger foods and no green veggies. If that's not a party, I don't know what is.
So, to review, it is possible to have a spectacularly fancy New Years Eve celebration even when home-bound with three kids. Just don't be surprised if the "dancing" is "Ring Around the Rosie", the formal dress code ends after dinner, and the drinking is pretty much over by 9pm.
Happy New Year to all!