Black Eyed Peas and New Year’s Resolutions: BAH HUMBUG!

 

Photo by nep

 

I love Christmas.  It’s by far my favorite holiday.  I love twinkling Christmas lights, snow, Santa, and being with my kids.  I LOVE Christmas.  I like New Year’s Eve.  I love any excuse to drink champagne, spend time with friends and family, and fall asleep early (which I inevitably do if there is anywhere I can get comfortable.

But when it comes to New Year’s Day, I pretty much turn into The Grinch.  Whenever a new year begins, I usually take a few moments to reflect on where that year has brought me. What changes I made, the progress I’m making. The last few years have brought huge changes to my life.  So for the last couple of years, I’ve had a lot to reflect on and have made a lot of progress.  However, I’m usually pretty hard on myself – I tend to think that I haven’t accomplished enough.

I’m also not really a New Year’s resolution kind of person.  Any resolution I make will likely be broken by the end of the day in which it’s made.  Nothing makes me want cheesecake more than a resolution not to eat it.  I would be excellent at resolutions if someone else would hold me accountable (here’s hoping my boyfriend follows through on his 30 minute daily walk plan), but telling me I can’t do something is a sure ticket to making sure I run out and do it.

I also hate black eyed peas.  Gross.  And WHY are they called black-eyed peas?  They AREN’T PEAS.  They are BEANS.  Also, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas is pretty silly for me.  One origin of the tradition is from a Jewish text, which also proclaims gourds, leeks, beets and spinach as good luck.  Let me tell you what would happen if I haul out black eyed peas, beets, and spinach for dinner in my house.  There would be a revolution.

The second origin of the New Year’s black eyed pea tradition is equally inapplicable for me, although historically interesting.  Supposedly, as General Sherman made his infamous march to the sea during the Civil War burning or looting anything of value, black eyed pea fields were spared because they were only seen as being suitable for ANIMAL FODDER.

Being the brilliant general that he was, Sherman hit the nail on the head.  Leave me with only black eyed peas to eat and I’d surrender too.  Of course, that wasn’t the reason the South surrendered, but the point is well taken.  ANIMAL FODDER, people.

So in any case, I don’t really observe any rites of passage for the New Year.  For me, New Year’s is simply a time of personal reflection, a few months of writing the date wrong on my checks, and the start of a long few months of non-Christmas snow.

So personally, I vote that the Christmas season be extended all the way to Valentine’s Day!

What New Year’s Traditions Do You Follow?  

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New Year’s Eve Party with Kids: Keeping Everyone Happy, Healthy, and Sane!

 

New Year's Eve Party with Kids

Image by D. Bergquist

 

If you are spending New Year’s Eve with your kids, you need to hope for a 10 o’clock pass out,  make sure to plan ahead so your New Year’s Eve party with kids is a success, especially if you will have adults attending as well.  Here are a few tips to make sure that your New Year’s Eve kid friendly party is a huge success!

*  Consider hiring a babysitter.  If you are going to have 10+ kids, consider hiring two.  A babysitter will free you up from having to supervise the kids for every minute of the night.  You should not, however, depend on the babysitter to wrangle and entertain large groups of children all night.  Have activities planned that he or she can oversee but not have to necessarily actively participate in. Think of your baby sitter’s role as more of a kid “wrangler” who can step in in case planned activities get out of hand.

Set up a “movie theatre”.   Kids have virtually NO interest in New Year’s Eve TV specials.  If you have the space, turn a spare bedroom or office into a movie theater.  Toss pillows and blankets on the floor and create a comfy space.  Show holiday movies, cartoons, or tween movies depending on the age of your guests.  This can also be a great way to get smaller kids to drift off to sleep.

* Kid-friendly food and drinks.   Serve bite sized appetizers and kid-friendly mock-tails like sparkling grape juice in plastic champagne flutes, punch, virgin drinks, etc.  A word of caution – if you are serving the adults at your party real cocktails, keep them in a separate room – preferably one where kids are not allowed.  Accidents can happen and a very small amount of alcohol can have a devastating effect on a child.  A small child can get a lethal dose of alcohol from mouthwash – imagine the effects of champagne or hard liquor.  Protect the children in your home and keep alcohol out of reach.  Also keep an eye on party guests leaving cups unattended.  A small child may be used to picking up glasses and taking a drink.

Games, crafts, and more games.   Have more activities planned than you think you need.  Kids will be ramped up from the excitement and from being up past their bed time.  Having pre-planned activities heightens the chance that everyone will be happy, and you may even get a chance to chat with your adult friends.

*  Have a pajama party.  Kids will love being able to party in their pajamas, and this makes for easier bed times when they finally do give up and go to sleep.

*  Rent or create a photo booth.  If you are having a big party, or money is no object, hire a photo booth.  They come equipped with a free babysitter operator and a huge box of photo props.  Kids and adults will go nuts and you can create a scrapbook of the evening!  Prices in my area usually run around $100 per hour with average package prices between $500-$1000.  If this is way outside your budget (as it is mine), you can do the same thing for WAYYYY cheaper.  If you have a cheap digital camera and a tech savvy teenager you can hire to take and print the pictures, hit the dollar store for props, throw a sheet up for a backdrop, and have a blast!  You’ll be out the cost of props, photo paper, and ink.  There are also tons of templates for free that will allow you to create photo strips just like from a photo booth.  Put out an empty scrapbook, glue sticks, scissors, and glitter pens and you will keep kids (and adults) entertained for hours.

Monitor your adult guests for drinking and driving.   Above all, never let any party guest drive intoxicated, with or without their children.  There is no party worth the tragedy of lost lives.  Plan ahead for cabs, a designated driver, or overnight guests.

And above all, HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE!

Happy New Year’s from The Mama Games!