Last Updated: Nov 4, 2016
The start of the New Year calls for an unforgettable celebration with family and friends! New Year’s Eve can sneak up on you after Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities take up most of your time. However, New Year’s Eve parties, whether intimate or grandiose, are always full of surprises and exciting energy. Ring in the New Year this time around by hosting a fun get-together with easy party planning ideas below.
New Year’s Eve Party Ideas
When it comes to New Year’s Eve party planning, start with choosing a party idea or theme. Your party idea will set the tone for your food, drinks, and decorations, so be sure to choose an idea that fits your party style and budget. These party ideas will make your countdown to the New Year a memorable one.
Host a New Year’s Eve Party at Home: Throw an intimate and fun gathering right at home. Going out for New Year’s Eve can seem hectic with large crowds and transportation becoming an issue. However, a get-together at your home can inspire you to get creative with your party planning ideas without half the stress.
Rent a Venue: Go all out this year by hosting a big New Year’s Eve bash at a private space or venue. This is a great party idea if you skipped out on throwing a holiday party during Thanksgiving or Christmas time. Since you’ll need to send New Year’s invitations for this soiree, begin planning your party right after Thanksgiving and send out invitations by the third week of December.
Wellness Party: Focus on New Year’s resolutions by hosting a wellness party! Family and friends can eat healthy bites and partake in activities that promote their mental and physical health. Whether you’re planning on teaching a few yoga moves or sending guests off with a list of your favorite recipes, this is a great and unexpected way to ring in the New Year.
Family Pajama Party: Grab the popcorn and a few of your favorite movies for a night in with the family. You’ve likely been gifted with pajamas for Christmas so it’s a great idea to host a cozy family pajama party. You can set up a fun snack bar and set aside blankets for a relaxing countdown with your loved ones.
Midnight Supper: Celebrate the New Year at 12 a.m. with a feast! Gather family and friends for a special midnight dinner after hosting a cocktail hour. Be sure to provide coffee with dessert.
Cocktail Party: If you’re already planning on setting up an elaborate bar, center your efforts with a chic cocktail party! You can make your own recipes or get festive with classic New Year’s Eve drinks. Find helpful tips using our guide on cocktail party ideas and themes.
Backyard Bonfire: Although it’ll likely be cold outside, you can still take the party outdoors with a backyard bonfire. You can prepare a small dessert bar and serve hot chocolate and s’mores. In addition to keeping the fire going, you can grab a few blankets and pillows to keep guests warm.
New Year’s Eve Food and Drink Ideas
Combine simplicity with creativity for your New Year’s Eve food and drink ideas. Instead of serving a full course dinner, offer guests delicious foods that are easy to grab and don’t require much serving. You can also set up a bar with three to four drink recipes or let guests make their own drink. Find food and drink ideas for your celebration below.
Set Up a Drink Bar: Whether you’re serving alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks this New Year’s Eve, it’s a great idea to set up a special drink bar. You can personalize your bar area with drink recipes, signs with fun sayings, and drink add-ins. You can also offer a water bar with different fresh fruits so guests can stay hydrated. Freshen up your cocktail recipes with a few drink ideas here.
Prepare Small Bites: After probably consuming heavy food during Thanksgiving and Christmas, opt for a menu of finger foods and small bites for your New Year’s Eve party. Foods that are easy to eat create less of a mess and keep you out of the kitchen. Here’s a list of bites that are perfect for your party menu below.
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Spinach dip
- Lobster mac & cheese cups
- Roasted veggie skewers
- Fruit skewers
- Fried olives or Marinated olives
- Smoked salmon pinwheels (get the recipe here)
- Panko crusted chicken bites (get the recipe here)
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Pineapple and black bean salsa and tortilla chips (get the recipe here)
- Guacamole and tortilla chips
- Charcuterie board
- Cheese platter (serve a creamy Brie cheese for your first NYE party)
Plan a Dessert Bar: After savory comes sweet! Along with preparing a variety of small bites, you can also set up a dessert bar for guests to indulge in treats. Choose desserts that can be made in minis so the clean-up is easier. Popular items for New Year’s Eve parties include cake pops, tiramisu in champagne glasses, mini-pies, mini-parfaits, or an ice cream bar with toppings.
Ask Guests to Bring a Dish: You can also save money by asking guests to bring a dish. This is an easy and affordable way to reduce costs when planning out your New Year’s Eve menu. Just be sure to mention this on your party invitation so all of your guests get the memo.
New Year’s Eve Party Decoration Ideas
Decorating for your party is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the party planning process. You and a friend can join forces the day before your party and decorate as much as possible to lighten your workload day-of. Decorations for the night should be festive and shiny so you can create a feel-good and celebratory environment. If your budget is modest, don’t feel pressured to go overboard.
Balloons and Signage: Decorate your party with an array of gold and silver balloons, banners with New Year’s sayings, and garlands that are easy to hang. You can also use custom canvas prints to hang Happy New Year messages around your party and reiterate new beginnings. Instead of filling your party area with regular balloons, you can opt for buying large numbered balloons that represent the New Year you’re celebrating. These balloons can double as the perfect backdrop for photos.
Metallic Decorations: New Year’s Eve is all about shine and sparkle. Give your party an edge by using plenty of metallic decorations on the walls and around your tablescape or bar area. You can also hang lights at your party to illuminate your sparkling decorations even more.
Noisemakers: It wouldn’t be a New Year’s Eve party without supplying guests with noisemakers for their New Year’s countdown! You can set up a small table of confetti poppers, party horns, and blowouts that match your party’s color scheme. In order to maintain safety, pass out sparklers individually closer to the New Year’s Eve countdown.
Props and Hats: Make your party more entertaining by providing guests with party hats and props, perfect for snapping photos throughout the night. Go-to props include top hats, paper glasses, paper champagne glasses, and masquerade masks.
Wish Jars: Last but not least, your party should include a way for guests to express their sentiments about the New Year. You can decorate and place mason jars around your party set up that serve as “wish jars”. Guests can write their wishes for the New Year on small pieces of paper and drop them in any of the wish jars around your party.
New Year’s Eve Party Favor Ideas
Always send your guests off with party favors to keep the New Year’s Eve spirit well and alive. Party favors are standard when throwing a New Year’s Eve party but you can spice things up by personalizing your favors.
- Personalized stationery
- Personalized candies
- Custom wine glasses
- Mini bottles of champagne
- Custom sunglasses
Lastly, don’t forget to plan out New Year’s Eve party games like karaoke, pictionary, or guessing New Year’s resolutions! You can keep your guests entertained by setting aside inclusive games and activities that garner fresh memories. If you’re attending a New Year’s Eve party, don’t forget to gift the hostess with a custom Happy New Year card to send them off into the New Year with good fortune.