FINALLY! The hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday is over and all of us, hopefully, escaped unscathed and without forgetting about supporting a sustainable lifestyle. The commercialization of the season is nearly impossible to avoid; it seems to start earlier and earlier each year! Everywhere one looks, there were ads in the mail, repetitive television commercials, annoying radio jingles – it is almost a sport to advertising firms to see who can get the name of their client out the most from Thanksgiving to December 25. Unfortunately, the real ‘reason for the season’ seems to get more diluted and lost each and every year. Thankfully, the hooplah is over (at least for this season) and the next big holiday to celebrate is New Years’. This holiday typically does not get as much publicity from retail stores, car dealerships, or jewelry stores and is often a more welcome and relaxing holiday to celebrate with friends and family after a hectic Christmas. There are many ways to ring in 2013 without going overboard and plenty of ways to enjoy with loved ones, while still being green.
If someone gets invited to a New Years’ party or dinner, here are a few ideas of how to make all attending the party enjoy themselves without stressing out. If you are the host, make it a potluck type gathering; request everyone bring their favorite appetizer, side dish or desert to share. This will help eliminate a lot of the burden to the host of preparing many dishes all at once. Also, find out if any of the guests invited have any dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, allergies, etc.). The host could simply prepare the main course – something that requires little maintenance and can be cooked with minimal effort is ideal: think low and slow, like a roast, turkey, and a vegetarian dish, such as lasagna. Try to get an idea of how many people will be there and plan accordingly. If you are the lucky one to be invited, check with the party planner to see what dishes are needed and prepare something that is easy to eat. Finger foods and things that can be eaten with a toothpick are fantastic options. Also, as the host, do not forget the noise makers, balloons, hats, (there are easy ways to make these at home!) and bubbly to break out at midnight!
We all know football fans that look forward to spending the day in front of the tube, screaming at their favorite college team and downing cold beers. So a football party is a no-brainer for a New Years Day party. Again, think: finger foods and toothpick foods; one cannot go wrong with dips, too. And do not forget the beer. These types of get-togethers are the opposite of stressful and require minimal planning, decorating, and are a hit with all who attend. Just make sure there are plenty of seats available in view of the television. And, another idea is that if the weather is not blustery and snowy, and one has access to say, an outdoor fire pit or heat lamps, think about dragging the television and chairs outside and enjoy the game in the great outdoors. Everyone needs some fresh air!
For the more adventuresome, a mini-vacation with a few of close friends or family members would be great. It does not have to be an extravagant trip, think: simplicity. There are tons of available cabin rentals in the area which are affordable and would serve as a great way to reconnect to each other and to nature after the Christmas holiday. While in the woods, one can still listen to football games on the radio, all while enjoying a campfire. Or, try and plan ahead and get a ticket for a plane, train or bus to a sunny destination. There are tons of affordable offers on many travel sites and would definitely be a memorable way to ring in 2013.
Whatever plans are made, whether it is a feast, football marathon or mini-vacation, all can be affordable and environmentally sustainable. The New Year’s holiday is often a time where people want to unwind, relax, and simply enjoy themselves without the worry of the unsaid obligation we all feel to purchase a gift to bestow upon someone, all with the hopes they will like it. Celebrating THIS holiday is easy: spend time with those important to you. Enjoying the New Years with loved ones is what is important and is what will make the last hoorah of 2012 unforgettable.