The special days of winter continue with New Year’s Eve and Three Kings Day, both very New York holidays…
Whether you are venturing out to Times Square to watch the ball drop, joining the fun and fireworks at Prospect Park in Brooklyn or enjoying the evening from the comfort of your own home with friends and family, New Year’s in NYC and surrounding areas often starts by gathering together for a bite or small feast to tide us over for the night’s excitement. If your home is New Year’s Eve Central, here are a few ways to transform it from Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to a New Year’s theme.
Set the Night’s Mood with Flowers and Decor
Decorating with Black & White for New Year’s
If this is the year you plan to keep it simple, reflect that theme in your evening’s décor. Set out white roses or carnations to create a sophisticated black tie feel. Use a dramatic black tablecloth or napkins to create the right backdrop. Add black & white photos of friends and family in silver frames around the room or at the table as place cards. Host a chocolate bar with dark semi-sweet and white chocolate treats like truffles, brownies, New York black & white cookies, cake and ice cream, fondue with marshmallows, angel food cake and bananas for dipping.
Make a Bold Statement
Bright red hues repeated throughout the room set the mood for drama, romance and mystery for your New Year’s Eve dinner. Place one large bouquet of ruby roses or carnations in a deep red vase on the buffet table and smaller arrangements on the dessert table, the bar, a beckoning book nook or quiet conversation area, the bathroom or hallway. Red and white bouquets make a nice transition from Christmas into New Year’s and will look beautiful near the tree or mantel.
Celebrate with a Rainbow of Color
Pluck flowers from a large bouquet for guests set in the foyer or entryway. Women put their bloom behind their ear; men on their lapel. Choose an arrangement of medium sized multi-colored flowers and have some clips and pins on hand to affix the adornment to guests as they arrive. This quickly sets the mood for fun and playful conversation.
Place a giant “margarita glass” vase filled with mounded flowers in the bar area among fancy liquors and flavored syrups to mix into seltzer or ginger ale.
New Year’s Day
Send a New Year’s Day pick-me-up to all night revelers. A gourmet fruit basket will rejuvenate the sleepy. Early birds will appreciate a gift of fruit and cheese and everyone will love a breakfast basket. Encourage dieters with a spa basket that will pamper with green tea, pomegranate or relaxing lavender scents.
A vase of flowers makes a room come alive. And many people report that a room is kept in better order when there are fresh flowers on a table. Make a resolution for a brighter, neater house with fresh flowers every month. It’s a gift to your spirit that will have practical dividends for the whole family.
Three Kings Day
Add One More Holiday to your Winter Calendar
El Museo del Barrio
It is believed that 12 days after Christ was born, three wise men revealed the miracle of his birth, finding him with the aid of a star over Bethlehem. Celebrated on January 6 in many coutries, (and in New York City largely in Hispanic families), Three Kings Day is dedicated to children. After a season of festivities, everyone could use a little pick-me-up as January’s chill sets in and everyone returns to school and the office. This year, plan some winter fun with some simple decorations and small treats for the children. The first week back at school and work will not be such a hard transition with this simple celebration of Epiphany.
Use Color to Brighten the Day
The colors of Three Kings Day are white and gold and often green. Set up flowers or balloons using these and other bright colors a few days beforehand and plan a mid-week Los Reyes feast featuring Latin American foods. Use a bright tablecloth or encourage your children to create placemats to commemorate the day.
The three kings arrive before dawn on January 6. The night before, children set out boxes filled with grass for the magis’ camels. It isn’t easy to find grass at this time of year so use any greenery or edible herbs that you have on hand. Help your children decorate boxes for the kings on January 5th (or spend Sunday, January 4 on this simple cold day project) and place the greens in just before bedtime. Shoeboxes work well. The boxes go under the bed. In the morning, children find the grass eaten and a small gift left behind. (In some cultures, shoes rather than boxes are used.)
Enjoy a Mid-Week Celebration
Consider setting up a special breakfast table. Scrambled eggs and Jack or cheddar cheese in a warm tortilla is simple and appeals to young appetites. Huevos Rancheros are a good choice for more sophisticated palettes. Mix up a special blend of juice from pomegranite and orange juice. Three Kings cakes (rosca) are becoming more popular and many bakeries make a variety (French/New Orleans, Spanish, Mexican and even German). For dinner, a simple Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) can be jazzed up with some cooked shrimp or green and black olives and red peppers and a healthy sprinkling of Mexican oregano. Serve this with a big salad and toast the kings with sparkling juice.
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