New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and while we can appreciate the typical festivities of seasons past, we’ve found that there is much joy (and less stress) to be found in hosting an at-home party to welcome the new calendar year.
Whether you’re planning a dinner party or a cozy couch hang, there are plenty of ways to make a night-in memorable. For those who need a little guidance, we pooled our collective party tricks to share our straightforward hosting tips for throwing a fun and festive New Year's Eve soiree this year.
1. Work Smart
Throwing a great party is all about preparing just enough so that you can enjoy your time with your guests. One trick we use is to set out the serving dishes ahead of time and to label them with what food will eventually go in them. The food can be kept in the refrigerator or in its cooking vessel until it’s time to serve. This way, you don’t have to worry about cooking and setting out a beautiful tablescape at the same time.
Hosting Tip: Matching tableware is overrated. Mix serveware styles and design eras to make the tablescape more interesting and let your guests enjoy picking out their own unique plate, bowl, or glass.
2. Keep the Spreads Simple
When designing a menu, I always try to anticipate a range of dietary needs. Having a number of dishes in smaller amounts allows people to navigate their own dietary needs. For the meat eaters, a charcuterie board works wonders. For veggie-forward appetizers, dips and sauces with crackers and cheese is our go-to.
Hosting Tip: Investing in beautiful serveware means you can easily cook and serve in the same vessel (as a bonus, it also makes for an easier cleanup).
3. Make the Bar Cart a Focal Point
If there’s one area where guests gather, it’s where the wine and spirits are. Welcoming and approachable, a bar cart makes guests feel right at home. Better yet, since a bar station signals for people to help themselves, it creates a lot less work for you and naturally directs people to other areas of the room — preventing overcrowding near the food and snack table.
Hosting Tip: Create multiple smaller commingle areas. While a big table provides seating for all guests, setting up a few cozy spaces makes a more comfortable setting for conversations to naturally develop.
The most important thing any host can do for their party is be in the moment. People came to your house for a reason, so just be present and enjoy yourself! Don’t feel like you need to take it all on your shoulders — ask for help and try to take problems in stride. An overcooked dish or a broken plate isn’t going to ruin your party. Your guests will take your lead, especially if you’re having a good time yourself.
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