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How to Throw the Best New Year's Eve Party

Whether you are planning to host an intimate gathering or a blowout bash, these fun, creative, and affordable New Year’s Eve party ideas will help you ring in the New Year with style. We’ve gathered the best ideas for an unforgettable night, from food and drinks to atmosphere and entertainment, for a perfect evening that your friends are sure to remember. If you don’t want to stick the kiddos with a baby-sitter, we also included some suggestions for family fun. 2015 will be here before we know it, so now is a great time to start planning!

New Year’s Party Tips, Tricks and Invitations

To avoid the holiday rush, be sure to send out invitations in early December so guests can plan ahead and be sure to attend your party. Tiny Prints offers countless options for holiday party invitations, no matter what your taste may be.

Try something festive:

glitter and glee new years party invitation

Tiny Prints' luminescent Glitter and Glee invites will get your guests in the mood to celebrate, and the coordinating return address labels really set the tone!

Or Something quirky and fun:

glitter and glee return address labels

Or combine your invitation with a Happy New Year photo card, where you can show off the latest pics of yourselves, your kids, or your furry friends.

New year noise gold and silver new years invitation

Or combine your invitation with a Happy New Year photo card, where you can show off the latest pics of yourselves, your kids, or your furry friends.

fresh and festive new  years photo card

Have phone numbers on-hand for your local taxi cab companies in case some of your guests need a lift home.

The midnight countdown means lots of kissing, so to keep things fresh, strategically place a bowl of mints for guests in your bathroom.

Party Themes for New Year’s Eve

Not every party needs a theme, but you should at least decide what kind of party you want to throw. This will help you plan your food and drink menu, how to decorate, and even what to wear. Here are a couple New Year's ever party ideas:

If you're a foodie, try a dinner party. You can prepare the food yourself or throw a potluck. If you like, choose a theme for your food. How about a Mexican fiesta? Or a meal where everyone brings their favorite cozy comfort food? You and your guests will enjoy a tasty evening of delicious treats before those New Year's resolutions kick in.

If you like the sparkle, glitz, and glamour that New Year's Eve brings, throw a sophisticated and formal fete. Serve elegant hors d'oeuvres and fizzy, bubbly champagne. Be sure to ask your guests to dress in their finest duds.

If formal's not your thing, try a casual, laid-back get-together. Ask guests to BYOB, serve some affordable party snacks, and have a fun but relaxing night with friends. Play games, watch movies, or just hang out!

If you love dancing, loud music, and wild celebrations (and have patient, understanding neighbors), then throw an all-out rager! Turn down the lights, turn up the stereo, and keep the beverages flowing.

Food & Beverages Ideas

Champagne is the classic New Year's Eve beverage, but this year you change things up by making a colorful and fruity cocktail for midnight toasting. Stock up (and make sure you have some sparkling cider on hand for guests who prefer not to drink alcohol). If you want to make your bubbly even more exciting, try some of these fun champagne cocktails or try champagne sangria. We like this recipe, courtesy of blogger Iowa Girl Eats.

Champagne Sangria Punch

  • 1 bottle sweet Riesling or Moscato
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 4 kiwi, peeled then sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 1 bottle Brut Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice

Directions:

  1. Pour wine into a large pitcher or punch bowl then add orange and kiwi slices, and pomegranate arils. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours. When ready to serve add champagne and orange juice to the pitcher then stir to combine. Serve over ice.
  2. If you're having a dinner party, then you'll obviously need to plan a full menu. But if your soiree doesn't start till after dinner, you may still want to have some snacks to nosh on. Make sure to offer food that's both savory and sweet.
  3. You can also ask guests to bring appetizers. Light snacks and finger foods will keep guests full and happy throughout the evening. If someone asks what to bring, suggest raw veggies and hummus, a fruit and nut platter, or a cheese and crackers plate. This classic hummus recipe from O Magazine is a sure crowd-pleaser.

Classic Hummus

  • 1 clove(s) garlic, chopped
  • 1 can(s) (15-ounce) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon(s) tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon(s) water
  • Paprika (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine garlic, drained and rinsed chickpeas, salt, lemon juice, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, and water in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  2. Season to taste with salt, olive oil, or paprika, if desired. Refrigerate up to 7 days.

Have a late-night supper. Consider setting out a breakfast buffet around 10:30 pm so guests don’t go hungry. Premade casseroles, danishes, and fruit are some fresh ideas. It puts something in their stomach toward the end of the evening, so you can keep the party hopping until (and perhaps well past) the midnight hour.

New Year’s Entertainment and Activities

Maybe, eating, drinking, dancing, and spending time with your closest friends is enough for you, and you don't need any special activities. But if you're a fan of party games, here are some to try on New Year's Eve:

  • Have fun with New Year's Resolutions. Print out fill-in-the-blank resolution cards and ask your guests to fill them out. Or have everyone write their resolutions anonymously, and then guess which guest wrote what.
  • Make time capsules. Ask your guests to bring items that most represent the past year to add to their own capsule, and provide containers and decorations. Fill and seal your capsules and plan to open them next New Year's Eve!
  • Or have a New Year's Eve movie marathon. There are lots of great movies that feature New Year's Eve, including When Harry Met Sally, 200 Cigarettes, Boogie Nights, The Apartment, and Trading Places.
  • Ask guests to write predictions for the New Year. Plan to read these at next New Year's Eve!

"Hire" a Photographer. Ask one guest to serve as the official photographer to take photos, or do it yourself. You could provide fun hats, tiaras, boas, and noisemakers for props. Post all the photos online to share.

Create a custom playlist. Ask all of your guests to give you their three favorite songs when they RSVP for the party. Create a party mix with all of your guests' favorites to play throughout the night.

Decoration Ideas

Your home may already be decorated for the holidays, so take advantage of that when decking out your home for your New Year's Eve party. Try repurposing the Christmas or Hanukkah cards you received earlier in the month as either decorative garland, or, if your guests sent you photo cards, repurpose them as photo place cards for them at the dinner table.

Swap out the angels and Santas on your Christmas tree for some sparkly spherical ornaments, reminiscent of the famous Times Square Ball Drop at midnight. Glittery Christmas ornaments also look wonderful in a bowl as a centerpiece. You can also hang plain ornament balls from a light fixture over a table using varying lengths of ribbon in your theme colors. They also look nice hung in front of a mirror.

Use Votive candles to decorate. Candles are the most romantic and cost effective way to create a festive atmosphere.

Buy pink light bulbs. Your local home store will carry these. Swap them into your lamps for the night; you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Add some shimmer. Dress up champagne glasses with a bit of sparkle by tying a quick snip of ribbon glued around the base of the glass. Scraps of leftover holiday paper make for glamorous streamers!

Kid-Friendly New Year Party Ideas

If your guests are reluctant to attend because they don't want to leave their children, or can't find babysitters, just have them bring their kids! The younguns can have their own pajama party upstairs with Mom and Dad right downstairs. Leave an older kid in charge, and they'll have a ball!

Sending out fun party invitations helps get the kids excited for the big night. The bright colors and whimsical look of the Vibrant New Year holiday invitation is perfect for younger partygoers. An added bonus is having guests RSVP online, so you have one less list to worry about.

vibrant 2015 new years party invitation

Crafts keep little fingers busy and add to the fun! Make noisemakers by adding beans, rice, or beads to plastic drink bottles. Kids love dressing up, so the silly hats and tiaras associated with New Year's Eve parties make great projects for your kids. Supply felt, sequin elastic trim, glittery pipe cleaners (bend into the shape of the New Year), and plastic gems, and let them make handmade party hats.

Serve sparkling cider or ginger ale in plastic champagne glasses.

Make individual pizzas on bagels or English muffins. Have pizza supplies laid out on the table (pizza sauce, pepperoni, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and mushrooms) and let the kids build their own.

For party favors, send kids home with a diary, journal or calendar.

Have fun!

New Year's Eve is a time to enjoy with your loved ones. So no matter what you plan, be sure to have a ball!

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