10 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Home
New Year’s Eve is tough. It’s a big event, seeing out the old year and welcoming a new one. But it’s also a holiday that arrives one week after Christmas, when many of us are too busy or too exhausted to plan a big party.
You may not want to go out, especially if it means shivering your way through your town’s version of the Times Square ball drop. But staying home on Dec. 31 doesn’t have to mean watching the countdown on TV and going to bed.
With 2016 on its way, we thought we’d suggest a few ideas for hosting a fun, simple New Year’s gathering at your home:
1. Start late, cook less
Writing on Epicurious, author Erika Lenkert suggests starting your party at 9 p.m. That way, your guests will have already eaten dinner before they arrive, and you’ll spend less time preparing food – you’ll likely want to have snacks or hors d’oeuvres — before the party and have less to clean up on New Year’s Day.
2. What to serve
Party planner Steve Kemble recommends serving light snacks at the start of the evening — veggies and dip, chips, pretzels, etc. — followed by a breakfast buffet with pre-made casseroles, pastries and fruit around 10:30. “It’s a change for people and puts something in their stomach towards the end of the evening,” he told Pop Sugar.
3. What to drink
Have champagne on hand for when the clock strikes 12, and serve a specialty drink at the start of the party. Beyond that, Kemble suggests inviting guests to bring some of their own favorite drinks. It’s your job to provide them with things like soda, tonic, lemons, lime, etc. Also, if there are kids on hand, consider making some “mocktails” – Shirley Temples, for example – so they can toast at midnight (assuming they’re still awake).
4. How to decorate
Your home might still be decorated for Christmas, but there are ways to add a few festive touches to welcome the New Year. Here’s a tip from Rachael Ray: Hang a few strings of lights from the ceiling along a blank wall, and then hang a semi-sheer fabric in front of – but not touching – the lights to make a light wall. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest looking through our collection of winter country decor for decorating ideas.
5. Have a soundtrack
The playlist for this party should be a mix: fun and funky, romantic and reflective. Plan your soundtrack in advance by asking guests to give you three of their best loved songs when they RSVP. You could also try another Rachael Ray idea: Write the details of the party on a blank CD, then ask guests to fill the disc with some of their favorite tunes.
6. Make some noisemakers
Some people bang pots and pans together to ring in the New Year. In case you don’t feel like waking up your neighbors – and denting your cookware – consider making your own noisemakers. Just find some clear plastic ornaments, and fill them with popcorn kernels or jelly beans.
7. Consider a theme
If you’re looking to keep things simple, you might want to skip this step. Otherwise, you can give your New Year’s Eve celebration a twist by doing a theme party: karaoke night, poker/casino night, or a “murder mystery” party (just be sure to reveal the killer before midnight).
8. Play some games
If there’s a lull in the action during your party, consider playing a game. You can hold a trivia contest, or ask guests to write a prediction for the next year and have partygoers guess who wrote each prediction.
9. Offer some mints
People will be kissing at midnight, so be sure everyone has fresh breath by keeping a discrete bowl of mints in your bathroom.
10. After midnight plans
Unless everyone’s crashing at your house, be sure to have a plan to get everyone home safely. Keep the number of a local cab company on hand in case guests can’t get themselves back home. You might also want to give them a little care package: aspirin, Alka-Seltzer and vitamin C for the next day, and a to-go cup of hot chocolate for the ride home.
We hope at least a few of these tips will help you plan your New Year’s party. Have a wonderful 2016!