Ideas for New Year's Eve Parties
New Year’s Eve is probably the biggest party night of the year in the U.S. – maybe in the entire world! For years, my husband and I attended a huge dance and party at a club we belong to. Now, however, we prefer something a little more intimate - a get-together with less than the 200 or so revelers at the club. This year, for example, we’re having an oyster roast/low country boil at my daughter’s house. My daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and closest friends will be in attendance.
My daughter, Shannon, has a large playroom filled with all kinds of toys. One of my best friends has a 13-year-old daughter who will help entertain the younger children. The adults will do most of their partying on the patio and in the living room.
Below are some of the other New Year’s parties we’ve held in the past. They might give you some ideas for hosting your own celebration!
Covered dish supper: For this, my husband cooked all the meat on the smoker. Guests brought appetizers, vegetables, bread, salad, and desserts. I coordinated the dishes to make sure we didn’t have all of one kind and not enough of the others. When the meat came off the smoker, we were ready to eat. No one had to miss any party time cooking.
Buffet breakfast: This is a great way to get everyone together after a night of celebrating elsewhere. Even if the guests don’t attend the same party, they can all meet at your place afterwards – like at one a.m. There are lots of make-ahead breakfast casseroles that can be refrigerated and then popped into the oven for 30 minutes. Serve these, along with pastries, fresh fruits, rolls, and biscuits. Offer coffee, hot tea, and champagne mimosas to drink.
Camp out: This was an awesome party! Fellow hubber Randy Godwin and his wife used to have these at their big farm pond every year. Everyone would bring their campers or tents, and we’d set up a porta-potty. We’d cook out, roast marshmallows over an open fire, and play guitars and sing. Some of the guests would do a little night fishing for catfish. One year, we had the party in our horse pasture. It was much the same as Randy’s party, except that we added fireworks. No one had to worry about driving home because they spent the night!
Dining out: If you have just a few couples you’d like to spend time with on New Year’s Eve, agree to meet at a restaurant for dinner. After the meal, invite everyone back to your house for coffee, dessert, and after-dinner drinks. You could have everything ready before you leave for the restaurant. When you get back home, turn on the coffee maker. Be sure to have some Bailey’s to go with the coffee!
If your guests will be bringing their kids, hire a babysitter to entertain the children in another part of the house. Have some DVDs on hand for the kids to watch, along with some snacks and drinks.
Leave your Christmas decorations up until New Year’s Day. That way, your house will be all decorated for the party without any extra work.
If you’re planning a sit-down dinner party, choose dishes that don’t have to be watched closely so that you can spend time with your guests instead of in the kitchen. A great menu for this is a crown roast of pork, a tossed green salad, roasted potatoes, broccoli casserole, and rolls. All these cooked dishes can be placed in the oven and forgotten until the timer goes off, and they’re practically fool proof. Buy rolls that are pre-baked so that you can warm them in the microwave.
For a buffet, keep everything warm in chafing dishes. To keep cold foods cold, place dishes in a larger dish of crushed ice.
Meats cooked on a smoker don't have to be watched, and they ALWAYS turn out delicious! These include cured hams, Boston butts, crown roasts of pork, turkeys, and pork loins.
Oyster roasts and low-country boils are also great ideas for parties. I devoted an entire article to each. You'll find the links below.
Make sure you have a sober driver on hand. You might need to drive a guest or two home after the party.
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