At our New Year's Eve party this year, our group of friends was talking about when spending New Year's Eve together became a thing that we couldn't miss. The tradition started on the last day of 2002 - a group of co-workers gathered in Bethesda to ring in the new year. I had only known these new friends for six months and was happy to have an invitation to a New Year's Eve party. And we all got to know each other a lot better that evening as about eight of us crammed into a taxi to ride from Maryland back to Virginia. I remember screams of "My kidneys! My bladder!" as we barreled down the highway, crammed in that cab like a can of sardines. (Luckily I was riding on top of the pile, so my internal organs stayed intact.) From that year on, the same group of friends gathered at various bars and restaurants to ring in the new year together. At some point about nine or ten years ago, we started tiring of the DC New Year's Eve scene. When Larry and I got charged something like $200 for a taxi ride from DC to VA one year, we decided our New Year's Eve in the District days were over. So our group started hosting dinner parties to ring in the New Year instead. We've been celebrating New Year's Eve together for 15 years and the dinner party tradition is now in its seventh straight year. Larry and I don't really have any family holiday traditions, so it's awesome to have such a strong tradition with friends. We all agreed that our annual NYE party is something that we just can't miss.
This year Larry and I hosted the party at our house. In my head, I love entertaining - choosing a menu! Fun decorations! Liquor! But in reality, I'm always in the weeds and panicking at the last minute trying to get food on the table before 10 pm. This year I was pretty proud of myself for having time to decorate ahead of time.
Ready to party!
I had this great idea to order clear balloons and fill them with confetti. The balloons arrived and, um...
Have a SAFE new year, people!
Yuck! I quickly nixed the
Now onto the food: Each year we choose a theme and everyone brings food to share that fits the theme. This year the theme was Southern food. It may have been our most delicious (and least healthy, note lack of vegetables) New Year's Eve yet. On the menu:
+ Fried chicken
+ Pimento Cheese
+ Hush Puppies
+ Cornbread Spoonbread
+ Texas Sheet Cake
+ Key Lime Pie
There were Southern cocktails, too...
+ Apple Bourbon Delights
+ Cajun Lemonade
+ Mint Julep Jello Shots
+ Alabama Slammers
...and a wide selection of southern beer. Larry made a southern playlist, too, which consisted of lots of county music and lots of Outkast. (Which our friends kept trying to change.)
The pups may have gotten a little something from their Uncle Mike.
(Photobomb by Bud Light.)
(Photobomb by Bud Light.)
New Year's Eve is a prime counter-surfing holiday for the pups. One year Gravy ate a 1/4 pound of New Zealand bleu cheese and another year he swallowed a shrimp skewer. At one point in the evening, we feared one of the dogs had disappeared a jello shot...
"Did someone say fried chicken?!"
"Everybody look to the left! Hmm...now what's this on the coffee table?"
When I said we hosted a dinner party, did you think that meant something elegant...and not fried chicken, Alabama Slammers, and Outkast???
But wait, there's more...
We burned stuff! Specifically, our Christmas trees from 2014 and 2015, which had achieved a nice patina and depth of flavor after aging in the corner of our backyard for the past few years. A raging bonfire was a very fitting send off for 2016.
Burn, 2016, burn!
I did not realize how much the kids would love the fire. They invented a little fire dance, and chanted "Fi-er! Fi-er!" while roasting things on sticks. We foolishly were not prepared with marshmallows, but according to the kids, roasted gummi bears and roasted tortilla chips are "Mmmmmm! Good!" (How he was able to roast a tortilla chip on stick, I'll never know, but I saw it with my own eyes, so I know it's possible!)
When the clock struck twelve, we toasted 15 years of friendship and the pending end of America with Alabama Slammers. They tasted like
We sound like assholes.
In all seriousness though, I'm really thankful for these guys and our not-to-be-missed annual tradition.
All good parties must come to an end, though:
Too many jello shots.
After our guests had left, I popped the camera on the tripod and convinced Larry to pose for a quick pic since we hadn't gotten a photo of the two of us all night. It was about 2 am. I'm pretty sure Larry is asleep.
Stay woke, Larry! Stay woke!
So here's to friends, traditions, and 2017. I really hope you aren't terrible.
P.S. Any ideas as to what I should do with six dozen condom-colored balloons???