Dec 29, 201103:49 PMChina Mom
A New Year's Eve tradition worth keeping
After a lifetime of trying to make New Year’s Eve “happen,” I finally gave up. As a kid, I spent many a "Rockin’ New Year’s Eve" planted in front of the TV watching Dick Clark in Times Square. At the time, I didn’t think I wanted to be there…but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be in my living room either. But when you’re 10, you really don’t lead a glamorous party life. At least I didn’t. But I was certain that I would when I grew up. I was wrong.
When I was young and single, New Year’s Eve parties never seemed to live up to the hype. I realized we all pin so many hopes on New Year’s Eve, the poor holiday can never fulfill those dreams. It’s supposed to be some magical night, but we usually had more fun on a random weekend that we ever had on December 31.
And so often, our “major plans” were foiled by wintry weather. I remember one year an ice storm cancelled the five – count ‘em five – parties my friends and I had lined up. I recall sitting around my house that night, bemoaning the fact that we didn’t have a single party to go to when I realized that we had champagne, music and snacks right in front of us! We were a party! It ended up being a great party and a great New Year’s.
After I got married, we actually had glamorous parties to go to. My 10-year-old dreams had come true! I got to wear fancy dresses and pretty shoes! Pretty shoes that were almost ruined one year as we were leaving and I almost stepped in an inch of water that covered our kitchen floor. Our sink had sprung a leak and flooded our kitchen. Cleaning up the mess put a damper on our evening - pun intended - and brought us back to reality pretty fast. After that, we decided New Year's Eve had it in for us.
Eventually, we gave up and opted for low-key evenings at home alone or with close friends. Call us boring, but those were much more fun.
And then came parenthood. Those first few years, we didn’t do anything or go anywhere on New Year's Eve. (Or most any night, come to think of it.) We were just glad to be awake at midnight. But we missed our quiet cocktail parties with friends. So I decided to do something about that.
A couple of years ago, I invited my best little friend to a cocktail party of her own: and that's how our New Year's Eve Kiddie Cocktail Party was born. When I told my daughter what we were doing for New Year’s Eve that evening, her first words were, “I have to put on a fancy gown!” and she proceeded to don her Cinderella costume. After she was dressed she looked at me – resplendent in jeans and a black turtleneck – and said brightly, “What are you wearing?”
I hesitated and realized that “This” wouldn’t suffice as an answer or an outfit. So I rummaged through my closet and found the fanciest, sparkliest dress I could find. My daughter was thrilled. Almost as thrilled as my husband was when he learned that he’d be wearing his tuxedo all night.
We had kid-friendly hors d’oeuvres and watched our daughter’s favorite movie. After the movie, we danced to her favorite songs and let her stay up "late" to ring in the New Year as the clock struck nine. We even counted down.
It was the best New Year’s Eve ever. And a tradition we plan to keep until our daughter gets invited to glamorous parties.