Ringing in the New Year
There is so much pressure on New Year’s Eve. Like Prom and Senior “Fun” Day, sky-high expectations guarantee that the affair will fall short of the mark.
But not this year.
For the first time we didn’t have plans for the evening months in advance. So we invited about 12 of our dearest over for a low-key evening to ring in the New Year.
Having friends over was just the incentive we needed to de-clutter. It was nice starting the New Year a step ahead of the game. Tossing old magazines, receipts and Christmas clutter made me feel a lot lighter, even if the holiday cookies achieved the opposite.
High on endorphins from a neatly set table, I even found myself digging into the cluttered kitchen drawers before the guests arrived. I am my mother’s daughter after all…
(but fortunately, unlike my mom someone I know, company coming will never incite me to clean behind the refrigerator. My genes have their limits.)
I knew for sure that I didn’t want to be frantic the day of and cooking when our friends arrived, so we planned an easy breezy menu of our favorites:
Dinner: Salmon, grits, salad and crusty grainy bread
Dessert: Chocolate Cake and an assortment of ice creams
Beverages a plenty.
When our friends arrived and it was time to dine, I popped the salmon in the oven (recipe to come), heated the grits (made that afternoon) and warmed up the bread (thanks Costco artisans). I had some of the girls help with assembling the salad while we chatted about girlie things in the kitchen. Like that, dinner was on the table and this hostess with the mostess kept her cool and enjoyed every bite.
We had dessert around midnight. I made the Coke Cake (basically a moister version of Texas Sheet Cake) the day before and heated it a bit before serving. I used this timeless recipe and only a fraction of the nuts because the cook doesn’t like nuts in her desserts. It doesn’t get much better than good friends and a self-serve dessert buffet.
We talked and talked at the dinner table and before we knew it we were watching the ball drop. Spontaneous dancing ensued to some of our favorite tunes from 2010. Our last guests left around 2am. See, just because we didn’t go to a wild party doesn’t mean that we lamed out at 12:01.
My Man and I high-fived at 2:45 when we climbed into bed after cleaning the kitchen. The whole thing (except for my artful arrangement of the Tupperware drawer) was a team effort. We both agreed that we should make it a tradition.
I remember many a New Year’s Eve spent at an anticlimactic large party with mostly strangers, sore feet and a headache from the cheep wine and the DJ’s strobe light. While I love a night out and dancing is one of my favorite pastimes alone or in public, I envisioned the NYE of my dreams…the future, when hopefully I could have a New Year’s Eve at home with people I loved. I imagined a dinner party with candles and laughter and good food and great friends.
And then it happened, for the first time, this year. It was worth the wait.