Thursday, December 31, 2015


Out with the old and in with the new most always evokes hope, promise and optimism, and there are as many ways to greet and celebrate a new year as there are resolutions you can make [and break soon thereafter!].   All over Florida and close to home around Tampa, dozens of night clubs, yacht clubs and neighborhood clubs offer party atmospheres and wonderful food and drink.

There are those who jam themselves into Times Square, others who love the excitement of being among party revelers downtown around here and still more who prefer the coziness of home with friends or family.   Getting kids involved in New Year's traditions is a great way to make it a family affair. From creating homemade party hats and favors to crafting a home disco or confetti ball, all of New Year's Eve can be spent together on preparing for a special dinner and celebration.

When midnight strikes on television, the littlest ones can scream Happy New Year and go to bed.   It'll be a decade or slightly less until they figure out there is no real Santa Claus and it was not yet midnight in Florida when they were whisked away for sweet dreams.   Older kids can make a time capsule of the year ending and hopes for the year coming in and bury it for a year or five or ten.   Other family-friendly ideas ~ 
  • family slumber party in the living room
  • fondue dinner
  • make popcorn balls
  • movie with intermission
  • candlelight dinner
  • game tournament (think: Risk ~ prepare for: all night)
  • p.j. dance party

For adults, a wine tasting is fun; kids can add flavors to club soda.   A cool neighborhood event is the progressive dinner, where you move from house to house for different courses like appetizers, salad, dinner, dessert, Champagne and sparkling soda at midnight.   Or a pot luck. Or a street party.   With Christmas just a week behind, the neighborhood association or a group of neighbors might spring for a dumpster rental from Bin There Dump That.   Everyone can rid the home of old gift wrap, extra food scraps and overflowing trash cans to begin the new year trash-free, if only for a day.   

Of course, New Year's Eve is simply not complete without a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." Most people know the chorus well, if not the verses.   And lots of us are as perplexed as Billy Crystal in the movie "When Harry Met Sally." 

His character Harry says: "What does this song mean? My whole life, I don't know what this song means. I mean, 'Should old acquaintances be forgot?' Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances? Or does it mean that if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?"
"Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something," Sally responds. "Anyway, it's about old friends."

It was Guy Lombardo who sort of accidentally played "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight between two programs at a live performance in New York in 1929. It caught on as the New Year's Eve tune, and we'll never let it go. Happy New Year!

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