I've often found my best New Year's Eve celebration have been at home. There's no hassles with travel or parking or crowds or waiting in line for hours to get a taxi home. You avoid the crowds and the tension and still have an amazing night.
1. Choose the Venue. Not matter how small or large your place is there will be somewhere that will make a great party spot. Maybe it's the backyard, maybe the garage opens up to the front yard, maybe it's the front deck or its by the pool. If you have some Christmas lights, some chair or picnic blankets you are set. Even better if you have a shady tree or can set up some shade. Is there a small spot for a dance floor?
2. Entertainment. Got an iPhone and a portable speaker? Then you're set or maybe your stereo can be heard throughout the house and yard. Don't forget to set up a playlist. Do you know anyone with a projector? If so you can have outdoor movies in your backyard. Maybe a TV in the garage can have the same effect. This can help if you have kids or other guests who like to settle in to a quiet spot.
3 Piñata. I always like something a bit corny like a pinata that both kids and adults can enjoy. You can simply fill it with lollies that everyone likes or go a bit quirky and have some liquer filled truffles, mini lego figures and anything else that takes your fancy.
4. Drinks. You can choose some seasonal drinks to add to the atmosphere. Go with Christmas Cocktails with a mix of strawberry Daiquiris and Irish Juleps or Emerald Midoris. Otherwise Champagne Bellinis or Pina Coladas. Make sure you have a few non-alcoholic cocktails so that everyone can pace themselves with the drinking.
Champagne always help / webneel.com
5. Food. The best idea is to outsource it. Either ask all you friends to bring a plate or get agreement upfront that everyone will chip in for pizzas or other takeaway when the time is right. Buy a cake in unless you have a friend who loves baking. Or if you've ever been given a chocolate fondue set then this is the time to break it out. Don't slave away over a hot stove so close to Christmas. This is meant to be about relaxing and having fun.
6. Guests. Most important of all is to invite other laid back guest who are happy to bring food and wine, to pitch in to make new daquiris, to have a go at the Pinata and to make conversation with people they don't know. Save the awkward people from work or your partner's boss and wife for a separate event.
7. Countdown. Make sure someone is keeping an eye on the time. I was at one party where we talked and danced our way through the countdown only realising it around five minutes past twelve. It still worked but the countdown is fun.
When guests arrive set the tone of the event as relaxed and fun. Show them where the daiquiris are and settle in for some good converation, dancing, pinata bashing and the vast array of food your friends are bringing over.
What are your top tips for a fun but hassle free New Year's Eve Party?