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Cheers To The New Year: A Party Planning Guide

No doubt the end of the year is the most festive time of the calendar. The day that stands out – perhaps second only to Christmas – is New Year’s Eve. So, here are a few tips to make your last celebration of the year even more special.

Article Photo
“Good Luck” Traditions: What We Eat & Why

Pork products – pigs root forward when foraging, thus representing positive motion

Black eyed peas – eating the simple legumes demonstrates humility and lack of vanity; the dried beans loosely resemble coins; the dried beans greatly expand in volume, symbolizing expanding wealth

Greens – green represents the color of money

Cornbread – representing the color of gold


The Bar

Before we begin, we strongly urge that you serve your guests responsibly. That being said, it’s New Year’s Eve, which means there’s a good chance people will be partaking in libations. So, if you’re not sure what mixes or equipment to have when it comes to providing spirits here are some simple rules and tools of the trade:

Pick alcohol you enjoy. If you enjoy it, odds are your friends and family will too.

Keep it simple. Start off small, with only basic tools and ingredients. Even if you’re more experienced at making drinks, you don’t want to spend the whole party doing it. You’re guests came to see you as much as the other invitees.

Make sure you have the proper mixers on hand. While you’ll want to make your selection based on the type of alcohol you have, the following are some of the more basic and popular ones:

  • Club soda
  • Tonic water
  • Ginger ale
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice

Have fresh garnishes in stock. These not only provide a decorative touch to the drink, but also add flavor and give the person something to nibble on. Some of the more basic garnishes include:

  • Cocktail olives
  • Limes
  • Lemons

Make sure you have the basic bartending tools. These will help you make most of the more common elixirs your guests enjoy, some of which you may already have.

  • Corkscrew
  • Bottle opener
  • Cutting board – should be heavy and laminated for safely cutting fruits and other garnishes
  • Cocktail shaker – used to blend ingredients
  • Ice tongs or scoop – because handling ice with hands is not only unhygienic, the heat starts to melt the ice
  • Jigger – a small measuring tool, could be single-sided or double-sided
  • Strainer – removes the ice and fruit pulp from the juices; may come with cocktail shaker
  • Toothpicks – Easy, disposable placement for garnishes
The Food

While serving delicious potables is customary for any New Year’s Eve get-together, the food is just as critical in making sure the party is memorable for all the right reasons. With that in mind, here are a two ways to help ensure your guest get their fill of good food.

Go traditional. There are standard foods and dishes that many people serve on New Year’s Day that have come to symbolize good luck for the coming year. The most popular ones are pork products (i.e., pork & sauerkraut, hot dogs and kielbasa), black eyed peas, greens (i.e., collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens) and cornbread.

Go easy. With all you have to do to get ready for entertaining your guest, have us do the cooking for you. Order from a vast array of options from our Entertaining Guide Menu including Fresh Seafood and several delicious meat and cheese platters.

The Party

You’ve got the bar set up and the food set out, now you need to keep your guests entertained through midnight. Here are some simple ideas to make sure the party kicks off the new year in a fun way.

Music. Keep the playlist lively and upbeat, and the volume should be at level where guests can hear it but it doesn’t interfere with conversation. With Christmas now behind you, feel free to ditch “holiday music” and go with something you would enjoy year round. You can go with a certain genre (e.g., 80’s, disco, standards, etc.) or mix it up so everyone hears something they like.

Games. While card and board games are always a safe fallback plan for entertaining, another good option is to provide them with easy-to-execute games. Here are a few for either kids or adults that include a New Year’s Eve spin:

  • Guess the Resolution – guests write down their resolutions on a piece of paper without their name on it, then each one is pulled from a hat or basket and people have to guess whose it is
  • 2 Resolutions, 1 Lie – guests tell everyone 3 resolutions, two real and one fake; everyone needs to guess which one is the fake
  • New Year’s Eve Scramble – write a bunch of words on a sheet of paper then scramble the letters and whoever correctly guesses the most words wins
  • New Year’s Eve Word Build – whoever creates the most words from the letters in Happy New Year wins
  • Translation Match – for older game players, match the country with how they say “Happy New Year”
The Toast

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the Champagne. For an interesting look at the New Year’s Eve staple, click here. And for the kids and your guests who aren’t drinking alcohol, Sparkling Juice makes for a great Champagne alternative.

Happy New Year!

Do you know your champagne?