The big day is nearly upon us and before long we will all be in a food and drink induced haze in that strange period between Christmas and New Year, where none of us are really sure what day it is. By now you probably have your Christmas preparations sorted and it’s time to look to the other big event of the festive calendar – New Year’s Eve. The end of the year can bring out a love/hate reaction for many people, you feel like you should go out and celebrate, but when you do the forced fun can be a let-down. A great alternative to going out for New Year’s Eve is to hold your own gathering, so you can plan the night you really want to experience. If you want to be the host with the most, read our top New Year’s Eve party ideas to help you create a night to remember…
First things first, decide on the type of party you want to throw and run with it. Will you go big, or do you want an intimate evening with your nearest and dearest? We have planned out three key New Year’s Eve party ideas to help get the ball rolling.
A Sophisticated Sit-Down Dinner Party
What to Serve: A tantalizing multiple course menu to show off your culinary skills which your guests will be talking about well into the New Year. If you are looking for something a bit different take a look at our alternative festive food ideas.
What to Drink: A prosecco or champagne reception followed by your favorite wines over dinner. Switch to after dinner spirits after food then back to the fizz to ring in the New Year.
Dress Code: Match the dress code to your menu, are you going to wow your guests with 10 courses of culinary wonders worthy of a Michelin Star? Or are you going to delight them with your tried and tested home-grown classics and want it to be a more relaxed affair?
Top Tips for a Dinner Party
Set the Table in Style
Think of this as a second Christmas dinner, you’ll need chic dinnerware, flatware and a centerpiece to die for to create a sparkling table setting and accompany your New Year’s Eve feast. If you hosted Christmas dinner too, you can recycle your table setting for one last hurrah for the year or you might already have a set of ‘best’ tableware you can lay out for the special occasion. If not, now’s your chance to treat yourself.
Get the Glassware Right
If you are serving lots of different drinks throughout the evening, make sure you have the glassware to match. From champagne flutes or saucers, to the right wine glasses for your favorite grape varieties, invest in enough of each for all of your guests.
Let's Talk Table Gifts
Table gifts are something that is becoming increasingly popular for the Christmas table but is also a fabulous thoughtful touch for any dinner party. These don’t have to be fancy or expensive, they can just be your guests’ favorite chocolates or a little treat you know they’ll love that will be a personal touch on the evening.
A Gatsby Worthy Cocktail Party
What to Serve: delicate finger food, canapes and nibbles. Guests will eat on their feet so make sure anything you serve won’t get too messy.
What to Drink: cocktails, cocktails, cocktails.
What to Wear: Think festive sparkle, it’s your last chance to get everyone to dress up before the new year starts and January and February has us reaching for the thermals and staying in to save money after a Christmas splurge.
Top Tips for a Classy Cocktail Party
Top Up (or Start) Your Bar Cart
If you aren’t blessed with the space for a fully functioning bar in the home (as the majority of us aren’t) it’s time to jump on the bar cart craze. Perfectly portable and oh-so-stylish, drinks trolleys are a stylist’s dream which you can fill with everything you need to create your tasty cocktails on the evening. If you want something more permanent you could also transform a sideboard or console table into a home bar for the evening, which we’re sure you’ll love so much it will quickly become a permanent fixture.
Create Some Signature NYE Cocktails
Speaking of cocktails, one of the key things to plan for this New Year’s party idea is your drinks menu. It can be expensive to offer a full cocktail menu for guests as each tipple normally needs a whole host of ingredients, so select a few festive winners and make sure you have enough supplies to make them all night. You can even pick cocktails you can make in bulk in advance so you don’t have to be bar tender all evening.
Here are two of our festive favorites…
A festive twist on a classic, a cranberry mule is a fruity update on the original. With warming ginger beer, cranberry juice and a splash of lime all served in copper mule mug.
50ml vodka, or spiced rum if you want an even more festive taste
50ml unsweetened cranberry juice
100ml ginger beer
Splash of lime juice
Method: Chill a classic copper mule mug with the ice. Pour the spirit, cranberry juice, lime and ginger beer into a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake until combined. Pour over the ice and serve with fresh cranberries, herbs and lime.
Candy Cane Martini
Definitely one for when the dessert canapes are going round, this creamy treat is minty, fruity and even chocolatey at the same time.
25ml berry flavoured vodka
25ml peppermint schnapps
25ml white crème de cacao
A dash of grenadine to give it its red color
25ml single cream, to turn it a soft pink
Candy canes, crushed and whole for garnishing
Method: place the alcohol and grenadine with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake thoroughly. Crush a few of the candy canes and rim the martini glass with sugar syrup. Carefully coat the rim with the candy cane dust and pour the shaken mixture into the glass. Top with the single cream and watch the concoction go a magical pink. Add a whole candy cane at the end as a festive stirrer.
A Chilled-Out Games Night
What to Serve: cozy comfort food, easy to pick at nibbles and snacks for when the games really get underway.
What to Drink: beer, wine and easy to make punch that guests can easily top up during the evening.
What to Wear: Think movement and comfort, you don’t want to be caught splitting your favorite party dress when Twister is brought out. Or not be able to do your best Dirty Dancing impression when it comes to charades.
Top Tips for a Fun Games Night
Break Out the Party Games
No games night is of course complete without a stack of much loved games to get through during the evening. From classic board games like the Logo Game or Trivial Pursuit, to more lively activities like Twister, there is endless choice for games nights and there has also been an influx of brand new games to sink your teeth into too. But which are best for your New Years games night? if you’re struggling to decide, why not send a poll out to your guests and let them do the choosing. Or have a selection so there’s something for everyone.
Make it Cosy
With game playing usually going on long into the night, make sure you and your guests have a comfy playing space by making it as cozy as possible. If you are in the living room, make sure there are cushions and throws across the floor if you can’t all fit on the couch, or if you are sitting up at the dining table, give everyone a cushion to avoid numb bums.