I’ve got to be honest…New Year’s Eve has never been my favorite holiday. High expectations, crappy weather, and too many obligations often lead to a tiresome evening. In recent years, I have realized the key is to bring the party to me! Many factors contribute to a successful New Year’s Eve bash, from the food and drink to music, but make sure to invite all your favorite people over to celebrate with. And since copious amounts of champagne means your behavior may be far from classy, you might as well sure all other elements of the party are.
What: New Year’s Eve Party
For: 15-20 people
When: Saturday, December 31, 2011 to Sunday, January 1, 2012!
What to eat: In my mind New Year’s Eve calls for a bit of decadence. Celebrate the year’s end with classic finger foods dressed up for the occasion, like homemade cheese puffs or bite-size tartlettes. Break out the puff pastry for some baked brie and puff pastry wrapped asparagus—two classics that are sure to add a luxurious feel to your table. Don’t forget dessert! Mini treats, like these cake pops or some cookies are the way to go and nothing says decadence like chocolate!
What to drink: New Year’s is all about the bubbly. Stock up on your favorite sparkling wine to make endless cocktail combinations. If you’re feeling ambitious, whip up some homemade fruit purees and/or syrups to make individual cocktails. An easy and popular punch is another great option to serve a group of thirsty guests. Be sure to reserve at least one bottle (or two, or let’s be honest…three) to toast to the new year at midnight!
How to set the scene: Let there be light! Leave up the holiday lights (preferably the white ones) to add some twinkle to the room. A few candles will also go a long way. Make a celebratory playlist way in advance, so no has to play DJ all night long. (I would be sure to include all your sing-a-long favorites—nothing says a party like a rousing round of Don’t Stop Believin’…plus it’s a good way to get your vocal chords tuned up for the obligatory Auld Lang Syne!) Cheesy but classic party favors like beads, hats, kazoos and goofy glasses will put everyone in a festive spirit!
Attire: Keep it classy with cocktail attire. It’s hard to enforce, but I’d say silver and/or sparkly items should required for this get together. On second thought: enforce it. Tell everyone it’s a sparkles-only party.
Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia who avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen. She will be ringing in the new year with good food and company, and a round of the Good Ole’ Song.