How to Plan the Perfect New Year’s Day Eve Party

Everyone’s idea of how to spend New Year’s Eve is a little different. Some prefer a quiet evening at home with a spouse or immediate family, some go to bed long before the ball drops, and others hit the town for a rowdy night of partying or invite 100 of their closest friends to their home to ring in the New Year with glamour and style. For the latter group of individuals, planning just the right party is a task that begins long before the coming year is in sight.

If you’re opening your house to guests on New Year’s Eve, there are a number of options to be considered when planning a party.

First of all, will this be an adult event or a family-friendly celebration? If you’re going to include kids, your party can still be stylish, but you’ll need to be sure to have plenty of activities planned to keep them busy. They’ll probably be excited, however, so keep these activities short and not too complicated. Consider letting the children help decorate their room or space (perhaps the den or a finished basement) when they arrive and plan a few easy craft projects that don’t require a lot of adult supervision (or pay an older child a few dollars to help). Make party horns or other noisemakers for use later in the evening or have kids make a collage from the year’s newspapers or magazines. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and have some sparkling cider on hand so the kids can celebrate at midnight as well.

If your party is designed for adults only, there are a bevy of options for celebrating in style.

If elegance is your preference, choose plenty of sparkle for your decorations. Include lots of candles of all shapes and sizes and make liberal use of glitter by covering candles with glue or double-faced tape and rolling them in glitter. Place mirrors under the candles for more shine. Make use of your gold or silver Christmas balls by hanging them throughout your home or placing them in a large glass bowl or vase.

If you plan to serve hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and other finger food only, set up stations that make it easier to move about and mingle. Include champagne and other “elegant” foods like tasty canapés, a variety of cheeses with bread or crackers, tartlets, caviar, and fancy desserts. A formal sit-down dinner should include some items that can be made in advance so that the hostess can join in the fun instead of spending time in the kitchen. (Have some extra money to spend? Hire a caterer, a server, and a clean-up crew!)

If you want to be a little less formal, go with something a little more whimsical. Decorate with light-hearted, traditional New Year’s Eve decor like top hats (usable as party hats), glitter glasses, silver and black balloons, and streamers or banners. Candles, as always, are essential, and a huge, gaudy candelabra is especially suitable for this fun occasion. You can add extra pizzazz to the table by dusting it with gold stars of all sizes. Have a big basket of noisemakers ready to mark the midnight hour. Food can be simple yet served elegantly on silver platters, in crystal bowls, and other tableware that sparkles. Or choose high-end paper or plastic products for easy cleanup. These days, many throw-aways look almost like the real thing!

Of course, you can also celebrate in style with just your special someone.

Plan a quiet, formal dinner for the two of you. If you’re in charge of organizing dinner, hire a personal chef for an evening or consider ordering from a gourmet store and have the food delivered (or pick it up) so you don’t need to spend lots of time in the kitchen. Make sure food selections are favorites so you’re not surprised with something you find less than enjoyable and include a bottle or two of your favorite wine or champagne to enjoy with dinner and at midnight.

Purchase lots of fresh flowers for the table, include a few tall taper candles, and use elegant dinnerware like your best china and silver. Dress for a night on the town to give the evening that special touch for this special holiday.

Have a wonderful celebration as you enter the New Year !