New Year’s Eve has never been my favorite holiday. I didn’t grow up a partier. It wasn’t until last year that I hosted my first NYE event and found that with my small group of friends we could spend time with board games (and wine and beer) without getting stupid. I could throw a party without it being full of strangers.
While Daisy Buchanan may love large parties for their privacy, I love small gatherings for their familiarity.
I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking of Fitzgerald Magnum Opus. I didn’t read The Great Gatsby in high school, like a normal American. I somehow escaped Fitzgerald entirely until my senior year of college. I read all of Jay, Nick, and Daisy’s tragic story on a flight from Chicago to Detroit, the speed of the read equal to my fascination with the 1920’s and the connected characters.
Now it is 100 years later and I don’t know that we as a society really learned. In a world where we live for the ‘gram and love to show off our lives on social media are we really that different from the self involved decadents described in The Great Gatsby? Even if our parties aren’t as grand we are certainly pretending they are with all of our pictures and hashtags. Consumerism is still here. The parallels are real.
Also I don’t mind old jazz and think it is entirely appropriate to blair the Baz Luhrmann Gatsby Soundtrack whenever you like.
Anyway. This year my holiday party grew. Not by much, but my small house held 12 people and my pup. We played more board games and drank soda and liquor, wine and beer. We ate more snacks than is healthy. I put out a popcorn bar.
Nothing too glamours, because even if I think we are doomed to repeat the roaring 20’s my budget doesn’t have room for champagne and caviar. It does have some give for popcorn kernels and candies, toppings and crunchy things.
Seriously – if you are throwing any type of party and want an all pleasing but cheap way to please your guests try a popcorn bar. Everyone was absolutely smitten with the set up, and having options a variety of options to add to everyone’s bag of buttery, salty deliciousness made all of my guests so happy.
Set up is really easy. I popped a cup and a half of white popcorn kernels on the stove in 2 batches. Topped all of the popcorn with butter and salt to taste. The rest was all store bought ingredients (super easy set up!) which included caramel corn for mixing, crushed sandwich cookies, like oreo’s, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and semi sweet chocolate chunks – and then the candy – I came upon a sale so for under 10 dollars I stocked up on every movie theater candy box I could lay my hands on. I also picked up a kettle corn, ranch, and nacho seasoning for people to use at their own discretion. Complete with a fun sign, some popcorn bags from the dollar store, and a lot of holiday cheer and you’re good to go.
You’ll still feel crazy decadent without breaking the bank and all of your friends will love you. Isn’t that really what Gatsby was searching for all along?