New Year's Eve Party Planning

champagneAlong with the anticipation of the new year comes hope and dreams for a prosperous future. Some who are superstitious believe that how you begin the new year will have a direct impact on love, fertility, and wealth. Whatever your attitude, you probably want to do something special to say goodbye to the past and welcome new beginnings.

If you want some control over the celebrations, why not plan a New Year's Eve party for your adult friends, complete with party hats and noisemakers? Big bash or small shindig, here are several ideas to make your party stand out in the crowd and be remembered for years to come.

Initial Plan

Before you get started, imagine the big picture. Do you see a formal gathering with elaborate decorations, or a casual get-together in your den? December is certainly a busy time of the year for everyone and your choice may depend upon who can attend your party and how much money you wish to spend. If you've maxed out your credit cards buying Christmas gifts, it may be prudent to plan a modest New Year's Eve party and prevent further debt. Initially, you should make some phone calls to get an idea of how many guests can make it and who can help with decorations and food.

Decorations

Traditional decorations for a New Year's Eve theme include confetti, banners, crepe paper and balloons. Adults aren't too picky but you should supply something they can play around with when the clock strikes midnight. This means something that makes a lot of noise such as bells or noisemakers. Unless you want your lampshade to end up on someone's head, hand out hats and tiaras for those who want appear festive. Look for stores that offer party kits that come bundled with typical hats and noisemakers.

One professional floral or balloon arrangement will make a nice centerpiece for your table or party room. If it's in your budget, order one at least two weeks in advance. Many florists will have New Year's (helium) balloons that you can pick from but a limited supply. It's usually on a first come first serve basis so if you order the day before your party, you may end up with second or third choice of design and colors. However, don't assume they will run out. If your party is impromptu, give them a call to see what's left.

Menu

Food serves a dual purpose on New Year's Eve. Not only does it satisfy appetite and hunger pangs, it puts something in the stomach to soak up alcohol. Soup, sloppy joes, deli sandwiches, and hot wings are all easy party foods. Popular snacks are chips 'n dip, nachos, pickles, olives, and trays with crackers, sausage and cheese. Vegans will love a tray with a variety of vegetables to slather in ranch, dill, or salmon dip. BBQ sausages and pigs in a blanket are perfect tooth-pick foods. Desserts can be typical Christmas goodies such as fudge, cookies, and your favorite pie. You can have quite and assortment if your party is potluck, which allows guests to contribute to the food supply.

Beverages

Before you uncork the champagne, make sure there are no minors present. If there are, you will be responsible for them as well. Keep an eye out to make sure they don't drink any and inform parents to be alert. In lieu of an open bar, many parties are B.Y.O.B. (bring your own beer.) That means guests can bring any beverages they wish to drink. It's a nice gesture to supply some wine and champagne -- and of course, non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and punch.

Also, popular soda and juices that are used for mixed drinks should be kept on hand because someone will probably need it. If you don't want to use your best glasses, have some plastic tumblers and wine "glasses" available when it's time for a toast. Remember to be responsible and not let guests drink and drive. Anyone over the limit should have a designated driver or call a taxi. No way do you wish to start the New Year with heartache.

Entertainment

If you're planning a wild New Year's Eve party, live entertainment with dancing is a long-time favorite. Popular bands book quickly for special events, so your choice should be reserved well in advance. A D.J. is also a good option because they generally will cost less and have a larger variety of music to play. Of course, you don't have to hire anyone if you want music. Simply use your CD changer and check it periodically. Or, you can put your party on the move and venture out to a concert, club, or bar -- though, this is not a good idea unless you have a designated driver.

Good food and conversation is often sufficient entertainment for a dinner party. Still, it's nice to have a little music, especially Auld Lang Syne playing when you ring in the New Year. Customize the activities to your crowd. Sports fans may enjoy a watching football (bowl) game or playing a game of pool, foosball, or darts. Perhaps a movie theme night is in order to allow you to showcase your nostalgic movies. Don't forget to synchronize your clocks and watches to avoid any midnight confusion. Cheers!