Watching the ball drop in Times Square as the revelers shout along to the countdown is one of the quintessential moments of a New Year's Eve celebration. But it's no fun counting down by yourself. Why not throw a big bash to bring in the new year with family and friends? Throwing a memorable New Year's Eve party at home is easy if you've got a few tricks up your sleeve.
A party isn't a party without a guest list. You can do it the traditional way by calling your friends and family or even sending out invitations through the post. However, sending invitations electronically through evites.com or through Facebook will help greatly when you're tracking acceptances and will also allow the guests to see who else will be attending.
Creating the right atmosphere for a party isn't hard to do. Dim the lights, light a fire and some candles and you've already created a great ambiance for your party. If you want something a little more special, come up with a theme for your party. It could be something simple, like a black and white party, or something more elaborate like revisiting the glory days of bell bottom pants and flower power. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you inform your guests so that they can join in the fun by looking and dressing the part.
If you don't want to go through the hassle and expense of serving a main meal, simply start your party slightly later than the normal dinnertime. That way, you can serve simpler, and usually cheaper, hors d'oeuvres. However, make sure you inform your guests so they know what to expect.
If you believe that the real bonding happens around the dinner table but don't have the time to prepare a three course meal for twenty, take the easy way out by holding a pot luck dinner. Make sure you coordinate among your friends so that you don't end up with too many desserts but not enough main course.
Drinks are part of the fun at any party. Make sure you have a couple of bottles of wine, both red and white, for your guests. If you're feeling especially festive, get a bottle of champagne as well. There's nothing like popping a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the new year. If your party is informal, make sure you have enough beer for everyone. On the other hand, having the ingredients on hand for one or two signature drinks like a cosmopolitan or a martini will add a special touch to your party.
Not sure how much alcohol to buy? A simple rule of thumb is to allow for two drinks per person for the first hour of the party, and one drink per hour thereafter. A typical 25oz bottle of wine will serve five, while a magnum of champagne will serve twelve. If you're buying beer by the keg, assume half a keg will yield 168 servings. For more tips, go to chef-menus.com.
Will there be children at your party? Don't forget to keep them entertained as well. Set aside an area of your home where they can entertain themselves with some toys and games. Arts and crafts is also a good idea. Get the kids to make and decorate some party hats for you and your guests. To make your party more child-friendly, make some non-alcoholic fruit punch that the kids can enjoy and don't forget to get them some cheap and colorful party whistles to bring in the new year.