Hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with Simplicity and Fun in Mind
New Year’s Eve has always been special for me for no particular reason. My husband and I have gone all out to plan celebrations outside of the home or have a special gathering with friends in our house. However, as my friendships became tighter, the allure of celebrating New Year’s with thousands of strangers was no longer appealing. It was at that time where my home became “the spot” for a New Year’s Eve party. We’ve been hosting a New Year’s Eve Party for over 10 years now and I’d have it no other way.
The past few years we have successfully held New Year’s Eve at my place. I will admit, at first I went out of my way cooking a big ham, meat pies, and salads. New Year’s Eve became a daunting day of preparations. Serving at midnight was chaos with the party in full swing. While you can spend a ton of money and time, finding the perfect champagne, food preparations, and festivities, you must keep in mind that New Years is about friendships, renewed promises, and new beginnings, if you should so choose.
Here are a few tips on how I keep my New Year’s simple and some new traditions that I will incorporate this year. The most important thing about New Year’s Eve is to make everyone feel welcome, happy and well tended to, including yourself. After all, this is your New Year’s Eve too!
The Invitation List
Unlike Christmas, you do not have to feel obligated to invite people you don’t want to ring in the New Year with. When preparing my list, I ask myself whether that person will be coming out of obligation or they truly want to spend time with my friends, family and myself. If not, then I don’t ask. It’s just that simple. I do not want any of my guests feeling awkward, as this is a celebratory occasion without commitment.
Host with the Most
When hosting a New Year’s Eve party, you may discover that many of your friends are adamant about bringing their own alcohol. Either way, I like to create a bar where I empty the liquor cabinet and supply a full bottle of gin, whiskey, rum and vodka for their enjoyment. I always make sure I have a case of beer on hand, because, it tends to go the quickest. I also include juices, sodas, and sliced fruit. (A lot of the time it goes back in the liquor cabinet, but it is always there for their enjoyment). I always make sure I have a few bottles of champagne ready for the countdown and have pitchers of water readily available. I decorate my table with a cloth and sparkly New Year’s Eve confetti. It’s all simple and easy for me!
Serve Food to Keep Them Satisfied
As previously stated, I used to go all out. This resulted in a late night clean-up or a morning after the night before disaster zone. I like to serve a Quebec Tourtiere because I’m famous for that, but I have mellowed out a bit by serving spinach dip with pumpernickel bread, BBQ wings, spring rolls, veggie tray, and lots of chips. I may try Cat Hayne’s Vegan Shortbread to add a little sweetness to the night as well! Also, it’s never offensive to ask guests to bring something to keep work to a bare minimum.
The Perfect New Year’s Eve Playlist
As shocking as it may seem, everyone in my group hates my music. However, I’m the only one who takes the time to make a playlist. This year I’ve incorporated the help of Amazon Alexa and Spotify so my guest can feel free to say “Alexa, play songs from System of a Down”. I mean really? Who likes System of a Down? I love the Amazon Echo Plus for its sound quality. With over 12 built-in microphones, she can hear you from across the room. At the end of the night, I think they may end up appreciating my playlist if too many people are ordering Alexa all the time. Note: Just make sure you invite no one with the name Alexa or this little device will never stop talking.
Several Gathering Spaces
Coming from the East, the kitchen remains the main hub for conversation and laughs. However, we encourage people to use our living and media room by having music and lights on for those who want to enjoy a little quieter space.
When the Ball Drops
I don’t think we’ve ever had an NYE party without turning off the music and turning on Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve from Times Square. We always have party favours and hats for those who want to REALLY bring in the New Years.
Play it Safe
No matter what, my guests do not drive. I’ve seen myself up at 4 am endlessly hitting redial for a cab to get my guests home safely. This year, we’ll give Uber a go as well. If all else fails, I have a few beds ready for those who are truly “stuck”.
Like all of the holidays, Hosting a New Year’s Eve party should be as enjoyable for you as it is for your guests. Don’t stress! New Year’s Eve is all about who you’re with and not so much about what you’re serving. A lovely evening can be had by all if you are festive, hospitable and excited for the year that’s ahead.
Do you have any tips on hosting a simple New Year’s Eve Party? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!