The year 2020 is right around the corner, so everyone will probably be spending the next couple of weeks frantically finalizing their New Year’s Eve plans. There’s huge expectations for New Year’s Eve celebrations, but the parties rarely live up to the hype. Often times, toasting the new year out on the town is more overwhelming and stressful than enjoyable, which defeats the whole purpose of the holiday. Going out often means spending your entire paycheck on an overpriced entry fee to get into an overcrowded bar with mediocre drinks.
If you’d rather spend your evening in a cozy place with all of your favorite people, host an at-home New Year’s Eve party. Before you roll your eyes at the thought of kicking off the new year in your own house, bear with us. Planning a get-together at your place instead of at a stuffy bar will be a more relaxing, convenient and affordable experience, especially when you have this handy guide at your fingertips.
Who said staying in has to be boring? These tips and tricks will make the evening extra special and memorable without the stress. Whether you’re interested in planning a formal dinner party, a casual get-together with friends or a huge extravaganza with everyone you know, this guide is for you. From glitter and gold decor ideas to extravagant cocktail displays, these tips will help you start the new year off with a bang.
Send cute invitations
Since New Year’s Eve is a momentous occasion, you’ll need more than a quick text to get the word out about your upcoming party. Go the extra mile and entice everyone on your guest list by sending out festive invitations. Use a fun template or create a DIY version with gold lettering and glitter. (Who can say “no” to sparkles?)
Of course, the invitation should include all of the necessary details about your gathering, such as the date, time, address, dress code, type of event (e.g., dinner party, cocktail party, etc.) and your preferred contact method for RSVPs. Pro tip: Send the invitations out three or four weeks in advance so everyone has plenty of time to check their schedules and get back to you.
Go all out with decor
To make your New Year’s Eve celebration one for the books, you’ll need to give your house a makeover. Set the ambiance and create the right atmosphere for your party with dazzling decorations. If you’re throwing an intimate gathering and want a cozy vibe, dim the overhead lights, set up glowing candles, hang twinkle lights and turn on the fireplace.
If you’re hosting an extravagant soiree, go all out with shiny metallic and shimmery glitter. Decorate your home with silver and gold balloons, streamers and ribbon. Decorate the dinner table or food spread with a gold tablecloth, scattered confetti and a bouquet of white flowers. For a special touch, fasten paper stars and a disco ball to the ceiling.
And don’t forget the props
Once the clock strikes midnight, you’ll want to make some noise for the new year. Bring all the fun and festive vibes to your party by celebrating with memorable props. Make noisemakers by gluing bells on popsicle sticks. Create confetti poppers using toilet paper rolls, balloons and confetti. If you aren’t feeling crafty, you can ring in the new year by banging pots and pans or lighting sparklers outside (if the weather cooperates). To really start the year off with a bang, pass out party hats decorated with glitter pom poms.
Sprinkle in fun party activities
While everyone is waiting for the ball to drop, you’ll need some party activities to pass the time. Since the start of a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, have everyone jot down their New Year’s resolutions. Create a resolution making station with permanent markers and index cards. If you’d rather keep everyone’s intentions private, set up a glass jar to collect the promises. For a public display, have everyone hang their goals on a wishing wall.
Fun games are also a must. If your New Year’s Eve event is for the 21+ club, play a drinking game. Pass out cards with likely events that could have happened over the past year, such as “posted a selfie on Instagram,” and if it applies to anyone, that person has to drink up. If the party is geared toward families and kids, set up a scavenger hunt. Pass out a sheet of paper with a list of items to find, and have everyone take a photo with their smartphones once they’ve spotted the item. If your guests don’t know one another, get the conversation started with a card game. Ask everyone questions like “the best movie of the year” or “the most embarrassing moment from 2019,” and the group will get to know each other very quickly.
Whip up some creative cocktails
Every celebration calls for a steady supply of booze, especially on New Year’s Eve. Instead of making a mess by popping open a bottle of champagne at midnight, set up a bar cart where guests can serve themselves. Wrap bottles of champagne or wine in gold wrapping paper, assemble sparkly glasses and decorate the cart with metallic ribbon and stars. For festive drink ideas, try Cranberry Orange Prosecco or Red Wine Sangria. If planning an entire drink menu might push you over the edge, hire a bartender to do the work instead.
Plan a delicious menu
Before sending out the invitations, decide whether you want to serve a full meal or stick with appetizers. Then, once everyone has RSVPed and before you hit the grocery story, ask if anyone has allergies or dietary restrictions so you can adjust the menu to fit everyone’s nutritional needs. Buy the items a few days in advance and prep anything you can ahead of time. At the party, serve a few healthy appetizers, such as Sweet Pepper Poppers or Cauliflower Buffalo Bites, to get everyone’s New Year’s resolutions rolling. Stick with simple, hearty and creative entrées, such as cheese fondue, warm chili or a roast dinner of steak and potatoes. To end the night on a sweet note, serve countdown cupcakes shaped like a clock or milk and cookies in a champagne flute. If cooking is not your calling, book a caterer.
Create a feel-good playlist
Blasting some great tunes will get the party started and will set the mood for your event. Put on some smooth jazz if you’re planning a low-key party or hosting a small get-together with friends. For a larger crowd, compile a list of the top hits from the past year. There’s no better way to reflect on the past year than by putting on crowd-pleasing tunes that everyone can sing along to. Add “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, “Lover” by Taylor Swift, “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers or “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande to your playlist to get everyone out on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like playing DJ all night, hire one!