5 Tips for New Year’s Eve Entertaining

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After the rush of Christmas the next question that hits us is: What are we doing for New Year’s Eve? There are many ways to celebrate ringing in the New Year, and going to bed at 10 p.m. is not counted as one of them in my book! If you don’t feel like leaving the house, invite friends over and make a party of it.

Get the Party Started

Start by deciding what kind of party you’d like to host. Are you more into intimate dinners or bigger crowds? Will your guests bring children? Anything over 20 guests and I usually forego the sit down dinner. But I prefer to set a table since it sets the mood and lends itself to long and interesting dinner conversations rather than fleeting cocktail gab. Consider using place cards so that you can  keep conversation going. If you are creating a more formal mood, request that guests attend in their very finest – there really aren’t enough occasions to dress formally in my opinion!

New Year’s Table Settings

For a more casual setting, use New Year’s Eve supplies for decorations. Hats, tiaras, streamers and party poppers are colorful and add a festive mood at the table. For a more sophisticated party, choose two classic colors like silver and black. Offset a white tablecloth with dramatic black linens and add a party favor in a silver box at each place setting for a surprise. A silver snowflake or a beautiful little ornament is a sweet gesture that will be remembered each year. Use your finest dinnerware and add chargers with silver accents to up the drama. To add height, break out the candelabras or find silver branches at a craft store to act as a statement centerpiece.

The Menu

Select dinner based on the size of the group you are serving. For a small group, oyster appetizers followed by lobster is an exquisite way to celebrate the old year and ring in the new. For a larger group, serve prime rib roast or leg of lamb with au gratin potatoes. French onion soup is a tasty appetizer. You have just wrapped up a year and it’s time to celebrate, so think out of the box and serve something you would otherwise never do. You deserve it! Printing up little menus is a sophisticated touch as well and will have your guests eagerly anticipating each dish.

Dessert

For dessert keep things festive with tiramisu, which is decadent but light enough after a heavy dinner.  Serve with cappuccinos and after dinner drinks. Sambuca with roasted espresso beans is classy and a beautiful complement to dessert and coffee.

Ringing in the New Year

Champagne on ice is, of course, a must for New Year’s. Make sure you have a tray with champagne glasses ready for midnight and cue music as soon as the countdown is over to keep the party going. Many a New Year’s has turned into a dance party at my house with both grownups and children partaking.

Lastly, make sure that you set yourself up to enjoy your own party! After many years of hosting New Year’s Eve affairs, I have also learned that investing in some help can make the difference between a party where you wear yourself out and a fun-filled evening where you have time to enjoy yourself. It won’t cost much to hire a couple of people (some friends’ teenagers even) to help prepare, serve and clean up.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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