On New Year’s, everyone gets caught in the notion that the right way to celebrate is at a fancy, expensive dinner or party. But even when we’re at a party, we often still end up feeling like we’re missing the party. The last night of the year doesn’t have to be complicated, or even all that expensive. In my book, New Year’s Eve is yet another opportunity to create a tradition, with friends or family. And doing that will feel more fulfilling than any swanky party ever could.
Plan a Simple yet Special Meal
A special meal doesn’t have to be elaborate; it just has to be out of the ordinary. I take advantage of the bounty of the Pacific Northwest and serve Dungeness crab with a big green salad. This meal is fresh, delicious, and requires barely any prep. Serve a dish that is unique to the place you live, but that you won’t break your back preparing. If you’re on one of the coasts, maybe that means oysters. If you live in the Midwest, maybe that means a really delicious cut of beef, simply grilled or cooked in the oven.
Whatever you decide to make, don’t forget the champagne! Popping a bottle or two of good quality champagne makes New Year’s Eve feel special. For a pre-dinner Pacific Coast treat, my family also enjoys fresh caviar.
Decorate with Silver and Gold…or Silver and Red, or Gold and Green…
Make your New Year’s table festive. Silver and gold are traditional New Year’s colors, but don’t be afraid to incorporate some other hues into your tablescape if you have special dinnerware of a different color that you love. Mirrored or metal platters or candleholders that reflect and refract light are another great way to add some glitter to a New Year’s tablescape.
Find Silly Favors
Silly hats or crowns are a great way to get everyone feeling festive. Masks are also a fun option. Party favors that guests can wear to feel “dressed up” get groups in a celebratory mood.
Make a Plan for Midnight
When I was a little girl, my mother used to take us outside at midnight laden with pots and pans and wooden spoons. When the moment came, we all rang and banged in the New Year together. Other ways to make the first moments of 2012 feel special might include a dance party, a polar bear jump into a nearby body of water, or singing a song together (it doesn’t have to be Auld Lang Syne, but take a look at the lyrics; it’s not a bad choice!) accompanied by lit sparklers.
Whatever you decide to do this New Year’s Eve, my best wishes for a sweet and satisfying evening spent with people you love.