NYE plans that don't revolve around food
December 1, 2016 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently laying groundwork for weight loss surgery and really want (and need) to stop associating "special event" with food and cooking. So, help me plan a really special, fun, memorable, and romantic NYE for me and my husband that doesn't entirely revolve around food.

Our kid is going to be with his bio-mom for NYE this year, and while I love my kid more than breathing I am also SUPER pumped to have a special NYE with my husband. The hiccup is that I'm currently laying groundwork for weight loss surgery and working very hard to change my relationship with food NOW so that when it comes time for surgery I will be as well prepared as possible. Not having every major event (negative or positive) be marked with food and cooking is a big thing I need to change.

My husband and I are pretty amazing cooks and have always "celebrated" things through cooking really epic and amazing meals. We rarely go to restaurants because we can make better food at home that costs less, so cooking fancy meals really is a thing for us. He is the king of doing these incredible multi-course gourmet meals that take him the entire day to make, and while he has never said as much I know that no longer doing that is a bit of a sad trombone for him in regards to my surgery. I want to use NYE to demonstrate to him (and me) that we can still have super special romantic times without it being about food.

- 100$ budget
- Having an actual THEME would be awesome. "Mr. McSocker's Dream Day" is a possibility but feels a bit lame.
- We have a proper movie theatre in our house so that is at my disposal
- we also have a giant bathtub we both fit in. Just sayin'.
- ideally this would be an all-day plan with multiple activities or something.
- I have lots of time to plan and get things organized, and I'm pretty crafty.
- we will have all of December 31st and January 1st to ourselves, so plans can span those whole two days if I have enough to fill the time. Or it can just be the evening.
- not food-centric (duh) but eating CAN be involved in some way. It just can't be a major player.
- alcohol can be involved as well, but getting drunk isn't high on my list and it still sort of falls under the food category as far as I'm concerned.
- can't afford to do a big "go stay at a hotel" thing. I'd prefer if this was primarily home based.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My friends and I used to do themed movie marathons on NYE. We did two different John Hughes ones (Pretty in Pink/Sixteen Candles/Some Kind of Wonderful and Ferris Bueller/Breakfast Club/Weird Science) that were big hits, the Back to the Future series, vampires, and more. Obviously tweak to fit your own cinematic preferences.

For what it's worth, my wife lost 175 lbs after gastric bypass and has kept it off for 6+ years and food is still a big part of our celebrations. When we have fancy multi-course meals she eats like two bites per course, but says she actually enjoys it more because every bite is special. I do know that people's relationships with food and emotion is super individualized, so I understand your (very good) impulse to move away from celebration=food, but depending on how things go for you down the road, it doesn't necessarily mean that epic meals are out of the picture entirely. MeMail me if you want to talk more, and I can even put you in touch with my wife, who is very good at Real Talk About WLS.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:00 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Along with a movie marathon (something friends and I used to do on NYE with good results), we would combine them with a little spa-y sleepovery fun, so maybe you could do something similar, only involving the giant bathtub as well? Bubble bath and massages?
posted by ldthomps at 10:35 AM on December 1, 2016

Movie marathons would be a good idea, but my husband gets stir crazy. And I would prefer activities that are a little more interactive. At minimum we would need other activities in between each movie to break things up, but preferably no more than one movie, should be part of the event.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:40 AM on December 1, 2016

I have two thoughts.

First, you seem pretty crafty, and I wonder if spending all day cooking is your husband's crafty equivalent. If that's so, could you look at other crafty things you could do together? It looks like you're into knitting but he might not be - how about something totally different, like finding a maker space/woodshop where you can work on a simple piece of furniture together all day, or finding one of those paint and wine places where you can paint a picture together? Or go to the craft store and get everything you need to paint something lovely together at home, or do something techy like an arduino project (if he's into tech as well) or... You probably have better ideas what you would both like than I do. Just something you can both be working on, side-by-side, as you chat, and which will also result in a tangible product of your labors, just like cooking all day would be.

Second, I totally get that you want to disassociate food and celebration, and that is awesome, but if you and your husband thus far have associated food and celebration and your *main* goal is to change your relationship to food, would it be possible to stick with cooking but specifically choose items that are equal parts fussy and healthy? I'm thinking something like building a sous vide cooker, then using it to make a more elaborate version of these sous vide vegetables with fancy/exotic/maybe even carved vegetables, or getting into molecular gastronomy so you can make tiny carrot pearls or something? And then spend time plating it really, really well - an artistic garnish of sauce, a gorgeous plate, some carefully placed edible flowers - like they'd do at a super fancy restaurant so it's more about the cooking and the presentation and the *visual* feast than eating a big heavy meal? Totally disregard if this doesn't sound like it would work for you right now, but I wonder if it's a way to scratch the day-in-the-kitchen itch for both of you while still focusing on healthy food and tiny portions, like Rock Steady said.

Whatever you end up doing, hope you guys have a wonderful NYE!
posted by bananacabana at 10:58 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some of the most fun we've had together has been going on long hikes/walks, or doing some sort of DIY project. Maybe start the day with elaborate coffee making, then go for a hike, come back and take a glorious bath with luxurious spa stuff, then make something--you could do a year-end inventory, or setting goals for the new year (there was an online worksheet/guided activity I loved but can't find, I'll post again if I can find it), or even going through your phone photos of the last year and marking some as favorites and getting a photo book made of them. Something backward/forward looking that honors the occasion. Then you could finish with one very fancy cocktail or glass of champagne while watching one movie that you both agree on/love/etc.

We're trying to get away from food-based celebration, too--it's really hard. Good for you and good luck!
posted by stellaluna at 10:59 AM on December 1, 2016

Maybe your theme is "Start As We Mean To Go On." Have all the things you do be about taking care of yourselves the way you'd like to see yourselves living in the coming year.

Leisurely walks or hikes and other exercise
Bath/spa treatments
Gorgeously prepared and presented healthy low calorie meals
Enjoy something beautiful (art, sunrise, nature)
Really talk to each other about your ideal future
Make a 2017 Bucket List
posted by cecic at 11:17 AM on December 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Theme: Fire and Ice

- Go out in your yard and make the most over-the-top snowperson or snow sculpture you can.

- Come in and make some really delicious coffee or tea (= gastronomic pleasure and ritual without many calories) and read the newspaper together. Bonus points if you have a fireplace and can read by the fire. If the news is too depressing, or if you want something more interactive, assign yourselves parts from a play and read the lines aloud to each other or do a jigsaw puzzle. Put your phones on (metaphoric) ice.


- Nothing better after ice skating than some mulled wine. Because it's hot you tend to drink it slower, too, it's more an experience thing than a getting-drunk-overindulging thing. Now might be a good time for the theatrical interlude. Pick any movie that fits the theme, or a North- or Targ-centric episode of Game of Thrones.

- Do you have, or can you set up, a fire pit in the yard?

- I'd end on the bath/sexytimes. Whatever's left of the $100 budget, make sure you've spent every last cent on candles.
posted by mama casserole at 12:55 PM on December 1, 2016

Do you like the outdoors? Are you comfortable with cold weather camping? We go camping every NYE, and it's a tradition that started when I grew very tired of predictably being very hungover for the first day of the new year. Me and the mister, sometimes the kids (when their not with their other bio parent), the dog, a bunch of firewood and the Yosemite Valley. Sure, we still eat and drink, but it's much harder to overindulge when you're gawking at the great outdoors and have to prepare everything over open flames.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:51 PM on December 1, 2016

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