Out With the Old - Celebration 2009!

How absolutely fitting for bringing in the New Year – a celebration in our home with great friends!

The night ended with my husband and me cuddling alone around the outside fire as it started to rain. The guests were gone, the kids put themselves to bed, and the night was silent all except for the crackling of the fire and the large drops of rain coming down.

Last year, you might recall my “Change it Around” New Years Party (click on Part I, and Part II) where we celebrated with a larger group, changing seats every course! It was fun, lively, but slightly tight around our table as great memories were made! We also had a ton of kids running around.

Different ways to celebrate
There are so many different ways to have a party – a sit down dinner, a potluck buffet style type of meal, a progressive dinner where you go from house to house. Or even grabbing some friends and eating out!

Mix it up
I think it’s important to keep the “mix-it-up” attitude! One where you invite different people to different events – where there are many different opportunities to show hospitality, just as long as you show it!

How I did it
So this year I decided to create a more intimate setting and not make it such a large party. We only changed seating twice, starting with the ladies at one end and men at the other – ending with couples sitting together.

I kept a stack of beautiful IKEA paper napkins (don’t they look like cloth?) nearby as we changed the seating around, and I prepared my tried and true, all-time favorite chicken dish, with balsamic drizzle, along with fresh veggies, and my friends brought the rest of the courses! 

Great unique conversation at every course – check!

An expression of warm approval – check!

Showing joyful satisfaction – check!

An exuberant party – check!

Immense comic relief – check!

Oh my goodness, do I ever get nostalgic thinking back this past holiday season in general, not only to our NYE smaller dinner party, but to many celebrations that I was a part of.

Because every event centered on great friends, celebration and food.
(Myrna brought trifle - enough to feed an army!)

Seriously, the festive spirit and rejoicing over the holiday was far above my expectations.

Here’s to more hospitality in 2009!

As we wrapped up the party at midnight – each couple with a kiss – we were happy to let this past year rest. And we look forward to the new …


Irritable Mother said...

When will we ever listen to our own advice? LOL
I can't count how many times I have disobeyed your commandment about not trying new things on guests...So far the results have always been good, though. If I was trying something extravagent, I would surely give it a trial run first! *sheepish grin*

Elizabeth G. said...

Well, I definitely will follow your lead and do more inviting this year. I usually only have some family over. I am going to be braver.

Sounds like your New Years was wonderful. We just munched and cuddled together. It was fun, but I am sad that the holidays have passed.

Oh, well, onwards and upwards!


ValleyGirl said...

Haha! I'm notorious for "guinea-pigging" guests, but so far, it's worked out okay. I've been lucky. I never mean to do it, it just seems to happen! I'm glad you had a wonderful time despite breaking your second commandment!!

All the best to you, Paul, and the kids this New Year!!

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

It sounds and looks like you had an absolutely wonderful evening!!

For the first time in a long time we didn't gather with any others but instead were just together as a family.

That's exactly what we needed this year with the added work hours, stress with daily driving and unknown due to the weather... a few extra minutes of quiet together for just us.

Happy beginning to 2009!

Sandy Toes said...

Looks like a wonderful evening with family and friends! Mmm..I love chicken recipes..I will have to try this one...have a great weekend!
-sandy toes
p.s. I will have to check out the Ikea napkins:)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have done that, even though (after 34 years of marriage), I know better.

It tastes so good in my mind as I read the recipe but it doesn't look (or taste) so good in real life.

I've found that true even from recipes by famous (can we say Food Network) people. :)

I always love reading your posts. :)

Julie said...

I have to admit that I am really happy to let 2008 go and move into 2009. You know when it gets here each year at the strike of midnight I have yet to find myself saying, wait, I don't want to move on... Instead I find myself thinking of a "new dawn" on the horizon with new things, new growth, new beginnings...

Happy New Year, Sandy!

Kirstin said...

Looks and sounds yummy that's for sure. I definately try not to try out new things on people. we have a few friends that I'm okay with trying new recipes on, but not for a big group.

we did not host either New Year events which was fine with me since we hosted both Christmas events and then a few more.

One of my favorite recipes is a 4 cheese fettucini. this week I made it and added chicken to it. There was broccoli, spinach and mushrooms to add as well if people wanted it. It is a dish that I could eat over and over and over again. It is a never fail recipe for me.

Jen said...

My mom always told me never make anything new for a guest. I never have...I use that on the family. Your evening however sounds wonderful.

Betts said...

I tried something new for Christmas eve, and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't "wowee!" either. I should have gone with something tried and true. I learned my lesson (I hope).

Grace said...

fact: i would go to many more parties if they were given by dynamite hosts like you. out with the old, indeed! :)

ellen b. said...

Wow I'm most impressed with the fact that y'all can make it to midnight without your faces dropping onto your plates :0)
Looks like it was a beautiful time...
And to answer your ? on my friday post...yes I'm the chubby one in front with the greenish sweater on...

OKGardners said...

I'm sure your guests were pleased with whatever you served. The main point is to get together with friends. The food is secondary to that.

I hope 2009 proves to be the best year ever!

Betty in Oklahoma

Melanie said...

Sounds like a great evening. But now you have me wondering what the Roman Chicken recipe is. :)

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

I like your conversation starter card idea. Do you make them or buy them? I would love to use this idea. Thanks.

BTW, I'm fairly new to your blog and really enjoy it.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

What a wonderful evening.....can't believe your started over. I am impressed. That means you gave yourself enough time to start over which would have never happened at my home. :)

Mandy said...

I just love your blog!

Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home said...

I'm so sorry we've lost touch, too! I love your blog and spirit of hospitality. It's inspiring, and I need it to rub off on me. :-)

I would love to know more about the little cards on the table. Great picture and the idea behind it; would love the whole list of questions!

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

I'll be watching for the conversation starters! Thanks for stopping by.

Tammy said...

I just wanted to say what a blessing you have been to me in 2008 as I've visited your blog!

We actually invited some family over for a casual New Year's Eve get-together. In our clan (or rather, my husband's clan) we all bring snacks to whomever is hosting. One brother has very little ones, and my youngest is six...but minus a few minor mishaps, everything went well as we played games and chatted. And though I'm not a hostess by nature, I felt so good inviting them over! (There's a photo on my recent post)

Anyway, your party sounds wonderful too...and the ending with your husband by the fire does sound romantic! :)

Bev said...

It's always a blessing to spend time here. And I'll check out the napkins at IKEA - I've got a drawer full of them, even for coffee with girlfriends they can really perk up a table. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Laurie said...

You have inspired me so much throught this year. Because of your blog and the inspiration it brings, I am making a New Years goal to have a dinner party soon!
Thank you. I'll keep you posted...