For nearly all of my 25 years, New Year’s Eve has been celebrated the same way. In Wisconsin with my parents and an incredible all-night feast. Only two, come to think of it, were celebrated differently — the first probably would’ve been better at home; the other was last year, and we know how that turned out

I know most people my age go out on New Year’s Eve, but the more I look at the banal menus and outrageous entrance fees coupled with the hassle of driving downtown, and then look back at our previous festivities, the more I long to spend the night at home. Which is exactly what we did.

My parents and the two of us — on our one year anniversary — put out a spread of special magnificence. Secreto Malbec and retro party classics for the first course — li’l smokies with mini biscuit buns, chilli sauce and grainy mustard; rumaki and bacon-wrapped almond and honey goat cheese-stuffed dates; mixed olives, a cheese trio, assorted crostini and crackers — filled us up more than we expected.

So much so that we needed an hour-long break to play several rounds of Scattergories and mentally burn off some of the satiety.

Still scarcely hungry, but intrepid in our evening of eats and drinks, we grilled swordfish and marlin steaks to be served with roasted balsamic brown butter asparagus and an Oregon Pinot Noir.

The time slipped by over the dinner table. We cleared one more space in our stomachs and lit up the kitchen torch to caramelize crème brûlées. After cracking through the sugar and savoring every creamy bite, the final minutes approached. We stood in the living room watching the ball drop — goofy hats and feathery tiaras on our heads, streamers and noisemakers in our hands  — waiting to ring in the new year same as always [with one tall and handsome addition]. In Wisconsin with my parents, him, and a tall glass of champagne. Why mess with tradition?

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