The best hosts spin magic out of thin air, creating the kind of special occasion guests can’t stop talking about.” –Emily Post

By now you probably already have your New Year’s Eve planned out. Looking back over the past 5 years, we’ve always had a wonderful party in our home, celebrating with
great friends.

It takes work to entertain successfully. But if you plan ahead and put thought and preparation into the night, the party will become a labor of love for YOU and your guests!

Here are a few tips to help simplify your NYE party:

Invite and Delegate:
Don’t feel like you have to prepare all of the food yourself. Share the menu, share the expense, share the load by having your guests contribute to the meal.

Be Creative and Borrow:
Push tables together, borrow chairs and tablecloths if you don’t have them. Think about whether you want to serve a sit-down meal or buffet-style.

Be Organized and Think Ahead:
Set staging areas where you’ll have water, champagne, appetizers, and even a little basket with miscellaneous items you might need (lighter for candles, scissors, and in my case a little notebook that has all the party details and place setting info).

Easy Flow and Name Tags:
Tie your guests’ name tags to their water glasses. Ask each guest to be responsible for their water glass throughout the night.

Conversation and Music:
Of course think ahead to some stimulating questions to ask your guests, and utilize for your background music.

What to Wear:
NYE is a time to put on a black dress and dress yourself up a bit. The nice thing about black dresses is that they don’t usually go out of style and you can wear them year after year. (My friends Jenny and Carrie, and my son Garrett – all in black.)

What a better way to celebrate a year full of blessings and possibly even hard times, by being together with our special friends. Even though there are ways to create a smooth dinner party, when I think about a successful party, I think about the people. I don’t worry about the dishes or everything matching perfectly, or the meal having to be “gourmet.”

I want people at my table who are going to get down to the nitty-gritty of life and share their hearts.

Our journey through life is partly about becoming real and honest and sharing and celebrating.

What are your NYE plans this year? Have you thought about hosting a dinner party and sharing the load with your guests?

(Pictures taken by Tim Tidball, for a special project coming up in 2011. Thank you, Tim!)