Ten Tips for Planning a Great New Year’s Eve Party

New Year's Party Invitation

I’ve never been one to wait in long line-ups, particularly on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I opt to bring my close friends to our house. All it takes to throw a great New Year’s Eve party is the right attitude and a little organization, which starts with getting your holiday party invitations out in a timely manner.

To make sure you’re spending the night with your close friends rather than the coat check guy, take a look at my suggestions (after having done this a few times) for throwing a festive New Year’s party at home.

1) Get your New Year’s Eve invitations in the mail ASAP. You will want them to arrive within 10 days of the party. You’ll also want to include the following information on the invitation:

  • Specify whether dates, acquaintances and/or children are welcome.
  • Will you be providing light snacks or a sit-down dinner?
  • In addition to setting a start time, also designate an end time if you are not planning to have the party extend through the morning hours.
  • Provide a phone and email RSVP, so you can gauge an approximate number of guests.

2) Buy extra supplies. Since most guests tend to bring a date — or other friends, plan on buying 20 percent more than needed. Better to be able to send guests home with leftovers than sending them home hungry.

3) Make sure that you have a variety of alcoholic — and non-alchoholic beverages on hand. Cocktails, wine, beer, as well as sparkling water and soda are all good options.

4) Designate a bartender — or two. If you don’t have the budget to hire a bartender, consider designating a friend to mix and serve and drinks. Creating a station in your entertaining area also helps eliminate kitchen traffic.

5) Create a festive atmosphere. Forget the streamers and paper hats that end up in the trash. Instead, opt for beautiful centerpieces and place settings that are stylish and eco-friendly. And then replace those noisemakers with nutshells in a can or cardboard tube, or with dried beans rattling around inside two stapled-together paper plates. (Both are fun craft projects to do with your kids.)

6) Prepare for drunk guests. Since many people will be drinking on New Year’s Eve, consider collecting keys at the beginning of the night and ask guests planning to drive home, who will be the designated driver. Also, make sure to have a local cab service phone number readily available.

7) Offer a variety of entertainment options. Some of your guests will be happy mingling and drinking. Others may want to dance — or play board games. And if you are including children, make sure that you have a few age appropriate activities for them.

8 ) Consider your plates, utensils and glassware. I use real plates, silverware and glassware not only because it’s the most environmentally friendly way to host a party, but because it’s the most classy. If you don’t own enough china and glassware, rent some: they look nicer, they’re reusable, and you still won’t wake up to a sink full of dishes. Check Rental HG to find a rental location in your area.  Or look for brands made from recycled paper—like those from Treecycle who makes biodegradable dishes and cups from sugarcane fiber.

9) Make – and share your resolutions. Whether it’s a simple resolution, such as to carpool more – or a life-changing one, such as to stop smoking, create time when your guests can share their resolution, which may also encourage them to stick to it.

10) Have something special planned for midnight. Consider a countdown, turning up the volume to the Ball Drop, putting on some dance music or blowing a whistle to create a moment everyone can participate in.