The Essentials of a Good New Year's Eve Party (Dad Edition)

When planning a New Year's Eve party with your kids, I've learned it's important to keep two things in mind: 1) You're old and 2) All drinks must have the word "virgin" in front of them. Both are a far cry from your younger days, when you'd let your party animal out of his cage. He usually has a cool name, like Thor or Bruce or Crazy Tony. And everyone knew Crazy Tony was the life of the party. He kicked your butt in Bond on Nintendo 64. He kicked your liver with Jägermeister. He made you get up off the couch at 2 a.m. and walk a half-mile with him just to get a slice of college pizza—you know, the kind that was so cheap you paid in quarters (and so cheap it tasted like quarters).

Now, many years later, the only reason Crazy Tony is awake at 2 a.m. is because he has to pee.

The past couple of years we stayed in for New Year's, putting the kids to bed at regular time and falling asleep well before the ball dropped in NYC.  This year, though, with both girls being a little older, we wanted to do something special. So we put together a checklist of party essentials and made sure we had them before the big day:

Party hats? CHECK!
Fancy drinks? CHECK!
Snacks? CHECK!
Streamers? CHECK!
Weird cardboard blow horns? CHECK!

We gathered the girls in the living room and put on our party hats. The girls had pretty princess crowns. I, on the other hand, needed something more manly so my wife got me an upside-down funnel-shaped gold hat that made me look like a unicorn. This led to a 20-minute game of musical hats, which included trading, swapping and, eventually, me wearing all of the crowns and funnel hats at the same time. And color me crazy, but I really think I was the prettiest princess unicorn in all the land.

Soon after, my wife broke out the martini glasses and filled them with frozen (virgin) daiquiris. The girls couldn't have been more excited, sipping their drinks like adult women and toasting to everything. "A toast to Ella!" "A toast to Anna!" "A toast to Dora!" We only had one spill, which, in layman's terms, is called "a miracle."

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for finally came. The clock was ticking.

Me: "OK, kids, it's time to countdown from 10 to 1 and then shout HAPPY NEW YEAR, got it?"
Kids: "Yes dad!"
Me: "Here we go!"

And while I helped start the chant, I quieted down to let their tiny voices take over.


Me: "Wait wait wait, you forgot seven."
Kids: "Oh, right."
Me: "Let's try this again."


Me: "No no, it's Happy NEW YEAR, not Happy Birthday. Let's try it one more time from the top."
Kids: "OK!"


With that we all hugged and kissed and smiled and blew our weird cardboard blow horns. We popped our streamers. We jumped up and down. We celebrated—and loudly at that. I've taken part in many fun and wonderful New Year's countdowns in the past, but none held the moment quite like this one. I couldn't quite put my finger on what made it stand out so much: The kids? My wife? The unicorn hat? The (virgin) daiquiris? The fact that it was only 9:37 p.m.? Or perhaps it was just the perfect blend of all those ingredients for a proper New Year's Eve party.

Either way, all I know is that it's a memory that I (and Crazy Tony) will cherish forever.

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