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NEW YEAR'S EVE / DAY
CHILI COOK OFF
- Invite friends, neighbors and family members to your home for a Chili Cook Off. Each
person or group should bring a crock pot of their favorite chili and a copy of the recipe
to this event. Designate three "impartial" taste testers to judge the chilis.
You can mark the chili on taste, texture, appearance, and aroma to name just a few. Award
prizes for the hottest, most unusual and heartiest or come up with your own categories!
WINE TASTING - INFORMAL
- For an informal get together, simply request everyone to bring a bottle of their
favorite wine to share with guests. You can assign a category such as Chardonnary,
Cabernet, Pinot or perhaps suggest color categories: such as Red, White, and Blush for
guests to follow. Be sure you have enough wines for each category. Serve a simple spread
of cheeses, crackers and breads to accompany the wine. Play some fine jazz CDs to add the
perfect ambiance to this casual evening. A few good choices include: Benny Goodman
"Live at Carnegie Hall", Jazz Masters "Series, Vol. 1", Keiko Matsui
"Doll". For something a little more funky try, Harry Connick, Jr. 's CD
"She". Ask guests to tell a little about the wine they brought and why it is
their favorite. Note: include non-alcoholic wines, ciders and beverages for those who
don't drink. Variations: Asks guests to wear the color of the wine they brought.
WINE TASTING - FORMAL
- This gathering would be similar to the above, except for the food served and attire. You
could throw a black tie affair and request that men wear tuxes or suits. Women would wear
gowns, cocktail dresses or formal suits. A catering service could provide the foods which
may include: a variety of meats, seafood, salads, breads and desserts. This could be
served buffet style or in a formal sit down fashion. The twist on this party could be that
each person is to bring a "Best Year" bottle of wine. At this party, guests
would have to do a little homework to find out, (if they didn't know already) which year
was the best (or at least a good year) for their favorite wine. Champagnes may be
included, as well. Hiring a string quartet or harpist would be perfect for this type of
affair. If music isn't live, a couple of good suggestions are: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Eine Kleine Nachtmusick" and Handel's "Water Music".
HODGE PODGE DINNER
- Ask family and friends over for a potluck dinner. Request that each person or family
make their favorite food to bring along. This is a lot of fun for kids, as well as adults.
But put no restrictions on the menu, so that if a child wants to make brownies then they
are allowed to do so. If thrown every year, you can gage what changes people have made in
their tastes and diets!
END OF THE YEAR PARTY
- The point of this gathering is to share an afternoon or evening with family and friends
and to wind down the year on a happy note. A meal may be involved or you can offer just
light snacks. You can get together at someone's house or a park. The fun part of this
party is when each person shares their best, most embarrassing, or funny memory of the
past year. Because its possible that all age groups may be represented, a lively group
discussion may follow each story. A 4 yr. old's best memory could be the cotton candy she
had at the annual summer carnival. Whereas, a young couple's fondest memory may be their
wedding day. Also, if a member of the group is no longer there due to a move, divorce or
death, talk a little about that, as well. These memories are important ones, too. After
the stories have been shared, have each person, write down a prediction for the coming
year. Gather these up to read at the next year's get together. Variations: Have categories
in which people can choose from to write their predictions such as: Family, School,
Professional, Politics, and World Events. Another idea is to have each person write down a
goal or two they hope to accomplish in the coming year.
THE 2010 GATHERING
- Invite friends to share an evening with you as they would be in the year 2010. Not only
will this include clothing, but hairstyles, and gadgets. People may bring along gadgets
that signify the latest technology of the times. Cellular phones may be replaced by...who
knows what? Tell everyone to let their imaginations run wild. It may be fun to discover
based on current trends what people will be like in that year.
FORTUNE TELLING PARTY
- Because most people are interested in the future, hire a fortune teller to your party.
Have her read each guest's fortune and have fun sharing these predictions. Note: Explain
of course, that this is for "entertainment purposes" only.
FAVORITE ERA NEW YEAR'S PARTY
- Invite people to your New Year's Eve party dressed as they would in their favorite era or year. Some may come in 50s style clothing or 80s. Encourage people to share the inspiration for their New Year's Eve garb. Ask where were they and who were they with on New Year's Eve in whichever year they chose. Music played can be selections from the 1920's through the 1990's.
- This holiday is most often associated with loving couples, the key word being couples.
Some suggestions are: Dinner for Two at an elegant restaurant. Remember to book early.
There is the homecooked meal. Make the evening a special one with a fancy table and lit
candles. Or you can make the night a cozy one. Have food delivered and eat it in front of
the tv watching your favorite romantic movie. A few suggestions are: "A Little
Romance" and "It Happened One Night". If you choose to listen to music,
anything by Luther Vandross is an excellent choice. Now suppose you want to do something
more romantic and less traditional. You and your loved one may want to read a romantic
story, play or love letters to each other. Ah! Maybe an excerpt from "Lady
Chatterley's Lover" by D. H. Lawrence. Or better yet, act out a wonderful scene from
"The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller. Maybe you're a romantic
poet. Read aloud a few poems you've written or borrow some from Emily Dickinson. Other
suggestions for adult entertainment include: an evening or weekend at your favorite get
away spot such as a rustic old cabin or a luxury hotel. You can hire a masseur or masseuse
at a spa or have one come to your home. Another option is to give each other a maasage.
There are many good books on this subject and supplies such as oils that are available to
help put you in the mood.
- One favorite activity to involve the whole family is to create valentine's cards for each other. It's easy to do and all that is needed is some constrution paper, glue, markers, ribbons, lace, doilies and your imagination. Perhaps you want to glue a photo of yourself on the card. Easy enough. Another fun activity is to write a poem or story about your loved ones and read it to them aloud. Something a little different is to purchase fortune cookies and remove the fortunes by gently pulling out with fingers or tweezers. Write little love notes and put them in. If your family is musically inclined, you may want gather up all members, even include some friends to play and sing "silly love songs."
PASSOVER AND EASTER CELEBRATIONS
- Passover is the Jewish holiday commerating the deliverance of the ancient Hebrews in Eygpt from slavery. The Seder is the feast of Passover and is usually held at home on the eve of this holiday. This traditional celebration includes preparing and eating "special" foods and reading from prayer books. To make this occasion more enjoyable and educational, the oldest members of the group can share stories of Seders they attended as youngsters and which were the most memorable and why. They could talk about which relatives they celebrated Passover with and at which homes.
- Easter is the Christian festival of spring commerating Jesus' resurrection. Again, traditional meals are served. Church services celebrate this most important day in the Christian faith. Traditionally Easter Egg Hunts are attended, with awards given out for the largest, smallest, most unique and number of eggs found. You can have one of these hunts in your own backyard.
- "If you can make your guests feel at home, when you wish they were, you are a good