Festivities: Ideas for New Years Eve

New Year party hat

How are you planning to spend New Years Eve?

It’s one of those nights isn’t it? You feel as though you should be doing something more than snuggling up in front of the TV with a boxset in your jogging bottoms. But often the more effort you put in; the worse time you have. High Streets are awash with louts who’ve taken binge drinking to a whole new level, restaurants are packed with rowdy revellers… It can all be a bit dispiriting.

We greeted the entrance of 2013 with an impromptu get together at our apartment and do you know what? It was really fun. We did all the standard stuff – pulled crackers which were left over from Christmas, drank champagne, discussed resolutions, watched the fireworks in London on the telly, hugged at midnight. And some more unusual stuff – quite how or why my Brother-in-Law ended up breakdancing behind the sofa is now a rather hazy, but nevertheless amusing, memory.

People came over after they had eaten, so there wasn’t the stress of spending all day in the kitchen preparing oodles of food. We just had a chocolate cake and some crisps as nibbles and lots of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for people to help themselves to. Of course, they provided more liquor for the bar when they arrived too. I also created a couple of silly party games which went down well.

Thinking of hosting a New Years Eve soiree? Here are my top tips to ensure ‘what larks’ are had by all.

New Years Eve decorations

Set the scene – your Chrimbo decorations should provide some festive flair, but you could also:

  • Dim the lights and dot candles around the room
  • Create an area to showcase memories from the year you’re saying goodbye to (these could be personal ones, or ones that have taken place throughout the world)
  • Ensure you have enough space for people – depending on the type of party you’re looking to host this could mean the introduction of those ’emergency chairs’, or removing chairs altogether to create space for a dance floor

Champagne

Food and drink

  • Don’t feel bad for asking people to bring a bottle, or even some food – most people are happy to contribute something to the host
  • Consider whether you want to provide food for people, or if you want them to come over for drinks only
  • If you are providing food, plan in advance. Supermarkets have scant stock of some of the most basic things at this time of year, so stock up and also allow yourself enough time to prepare your dishes
  • If you’re having a drinks party – do provide some snacks to soak up the alcohol. A mixture of crisps and dips should do it
  • Make sure you’ve got lots of mixers and options for people who don’t want to drink alcohol handy
  • If you’re having a lot of guests over consider using paper plates and plastic cups – facing a kitchen full of washing up the morning after the night before is no fun
  • Have a decent bottle of champagne ready to pop at midnight

Entertainment

  • Prepare a playlist in advance – think about your audience and the type of ‘do’ you want. Consider Rat Pack style music for a more relaxed get-together, but make sure there’s enough lively stuff to keep people awake. You don’t want your guests asleep on the sofa ahead of midnight. If you’ve got elderly relatives coming over anything marked ‘explicit version’ should probably be avoided. This was my ‘greeting 2013’ playlist:
  • Don’t forget to turn the TV on just before midnight – you don’t want to miss those magical chimes and fabulous fireworks
  • Consider some games – board games or the Wii are fine, or make up your own. We played ‘word bingo’ and ‘guess the celeb’ on our New Years Eve and both provided some chuckles. Have small spot prizes for the winners

The most important aspect of New Years Eve is to spend it with people who you love and whose company you enjoy. To be honest if you ignore all of my other advice and follow this one simple tip – you’re sure to have a good night.

What are your plans for New Years Eve?

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