New Year’s Eve: Easy Tips to Make a Successful Party!

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!)

21 comments on “New Year’s Eve: Easy Tips to Make a Successful Party!”

  1. You said, “Our journey through life is partly about becoming real and honest and sharing and celebrating.” This struck a chord deep inside my spirit tonight. I couldn’t agree more!!

    As for NYE: Our 90 days through the Bible small group has been meeting on Fri. nights. We decided to go ahead and meet as our group to usher in the new year… together. We are all sharing the load by bringing specific items for a family potluck dinner. Very much looking forward to it!

    Appreciated your tips and words of wisdom… as usual! :-) Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. We have spent the last few years celebrating New Year’s Eve with my in-laws….a bunch of friends and family. Something to do as a family, which is a good thing at this stage. I am considering having a “left-over party” maybe over the weekend. Drop in with whatever left-over’s you have in your fridge….or a pizza…and do one last cheer before moving onto the real world next week. (I always end up throwing things out once the holidays are wrapped up….thought I might avoid it this way)

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • A leftover party is a great idea! I’ll be there on Saturday with my cheese ball remnants… lol xo

  3. We’ve invited 2 families over, so there will be a total of 17 people including us. We’re just going to do appetizers/snacks/desserts. It will be simple, and our house will be overflowing, but the purpose is to be hospitable and enjoy times with friends. So I’m going to do my best and remember what I’ve learned from you…and relax and enjoy the night.

  4. I’ve only tried to organize a NYE party once and no one wanted to come so I never had the nerve to organize one again! Thanks for these tips!! I think they are fabulous suggestions. I may just have to try to plan one again!!

    <3 Ashley

  5. I’m realizing that bc we host our family for Thanksgiving but then have a quiet Christmas, hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner/party is a great idea…. Will remember for next year! Happy New Year Sandy…. Love your pics and looks like {just as in years past} you’ll have a great time Friday night!!!

  6. I much prefer the stay at home and have people in for New Year’s eve approach to celebrating the new year. This year we are hosting a party for my daughters and their friends (pre-teens/teens)—my how times have changed around here!
    Happy New Year!

  7. We don’t normally make NYE plans. But this year we are practicing hospitality! We have invited another couple to come over after our tiny ones are in bed and share a meal and a few dozen games of Wii.

  8. Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you, simply thank you.

    Every single time I visit your site, I feel bathed in grace. You have a certain kind way of wording ideas and thoughts. It is honestly a true pleasure to see what you are up to.

    Thank you for sharing your spirit.
    Happy New Year to you and yours and I look forward to following you and sharing your site with others.

    Cheers! Mrs. Wilson

  9. We are staying home- with sick kids! We’ll probably be able to watch the fireworks from our windows, though, and perhaps I can eek a win out in Scrabble! :)

  10. In the past we’ve done things with the youth, but the last few years we’ve gone to friends house to celebrate. It’s honestly been nice to spend the holiday with peers and our kids. Playing Bingo, doing Just Dance on the wii and enjoying great conversation. This year they’re doing a popcorn theme and asking everyone to bring a creative “popcorn” treat and they will vote on the best. Of course having “real” food as well. I’m bringing caramel corn that has crispix in it as well and we’re going to add mm’s to it. I’m also bringing a layered taco dish….looking forward to a great time.

  11. You know we have NEVER hosted a New Year’s Eve Party, we have always spent it with dear friends, one of two couples at parties at their homes. And they always delegate, pot luck style and we have always had a great time. As I was thinking about this I realized the reason why we have never hosted the New Year’s Eve Party…… my birthday is on January 1st, and we have always had an open house for it, sometimes serving pizza, sometimes hoagies, but in the last 6 or so years we have just put a big pot of soup on, made a big salad, and cooked french bread, and had a great time. Spending time with your family and friends is what it is all about no matter where you are. So with this I send Happy New Year Blessings to You and Yours,
    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Curtis & Sherrie

  12. P.S. the name tags on the glasses …….. A great idea!!!!
    And I wanted to say thank you for this blog Sandy, I have enjoyed it so much!!
    Curtis & Sherrie

  13. We got a sitter!!! Not easy to come by when you’ve been told your kids are great birth control:):) So, YAY!!! I am so excited!! We are going to spend it eating chinese food and playing games with friends and family!!! Honestly we could be going through the McDonald’s drive thru with no kids and I would be excited:):)
    On a deeper note, my husband and I love to look back and see how God has blessed us over the past year… even with EXTREME hardships and challenges, it’s fun to look for the bright spots God has gifted us with. He is so good… even when life seems so heavy and oppressing it’s hard to breath… He is our hope! Here’s to another great year of trusting Him and finding Hope in a chaotic journey:)

  14. I know one way that would insure a wonderful party. . . invite Sandy Coughlin! How I wish I could have you here. I’d take you over to Duke–let you get a peek into Cameron Indoor Stadium and possibly even say “hi” to Kyle. . . tour Duke Chapel. . . and then come back here for some good old-fashioned visiting! How does that sound?

    NYE is sometimes a big-party event for us, sometimes small. This year we’re having six of our closest friends over for a late dinner party. Our two older boys will be gone, so we’ll just have our 13-year-old at home with us. He has a tradition of inviting one particular friend over for NYE every year, so he’s doing that again. :)

    I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you!

  15. We are going to a friends home, who are truly great entertainers. There will be a Texas Hold E’m tournament and I’m brining my famous cupcakes and maybe something else depending on time tomorrow. Have a great New Year Sandy, I’ve been able to do so much more because of you.

  16. I’ve invited some former classmates over along with their families. We have all managed to stay close since the…umm..19 years since graduation. One of them is home visiting family and I pulled together a mini reunion of sorts. I think there will be 5 families (approx. 22 people). I go to church with one of my classmates and I asked them to bring bread, but everyone else lives OOT so I’m doing the rest. I struggled with the menu, I wanted it to be special yet something adults and children would both like. I went old school and decided to serve Lasagna, Crunchy Romaine Salad, French Bread, and a Brownie Trifle and Blueberry Cheesecake for dessert. I’m going to have an appetizer table set up with Chex Mix (because we all love it!), Hot Jalapeno Popper Dip, and Sausage Balls. I’ve got the playroom ready to go with the Wii and art activities for the kids. I’m sure I’ll have my camera around my neck most of the night too. I hope everyone feels warm and welcome in our home. I’ll be using some of your tips to make sure my guests know how important they are to me. Wishing all of you a big Happy New Year!….Btw, my scarf came in the mail today and it’s perfect! I just happened to pick Maroon and will be wearing it as I cheer on my beloved MS State Bulldogs on Saturday! Thanks again!

  17. We are doing our traditional fondue party with friends. It is kept simple as the fodue cheese is shredded in advance and placed in a Ziploc along with flour and spice…the garlic and wine are added at the last minute. Easy peasy and elegant!

  18. Hey Sandy!

    I love all of your party ideas and OH SO EASY! I don’t know why I haven’t stopped by before. Stacey has told me so much about you b/c she tells me you and I have many of the same interests. I produce The 700 Club and have had your husband on a few years back… and I’m Stacey’s best friend. I blog in my spare time about many of the same things that you do! Love all your ideas and nice to “meet” you!

  19. I have always wanted to host a lovely big NYE party, but always end up going out which is wonderful & special in its own right. Maybe 2011 will be ‘the year’ to host my own NYE Party. Happy New Year to you., hope its the best one yet :)

  20. Pingback: Chocolate-dipped Bacon Recipe - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

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