While most prefer pub hopping for New Years, there are some who prefer kissing goodbye to the year at home. Well, isn’t it fun welcoming a new chapter with immediate family and close friends with some amazing food, drinks, games and new wishes? Nikita Chawla brings to you some fun ideas to celebrate the New Year’s at home:
Make it a Bring-Your-Own-Appetizer (BYOA) Party
Invite your close family and friends over a BYOA or potluck. Pre-plan the menu so that each dish complements the other. For example, if someone chooses to bring veggies, request the other to bring roti (breads) and as hosts you could arrange for starters and drinks. Keep the menu simple as you will have to keep your guests entertained with food all night long! “This is usually called a Pot Luck, wherein each member prepares a food recipe that they are good at. The food should be cooked enough for all the members. All the items can be arranged like a hotel buffet at, either in the garden or terrace to avoid the mess inside the house. A good lighting and a few balloons can be used for decoration. Games like who finishes the dish 1st, who finishes the drink 1st, finishing a dish blindfolded, etc. can be played,” suggests Logeswari R.N. founder of Eventiaa, Chennai-based event and party planners.
Have a counter arranged for 2 pots of bubbling chocolate and cheese fondues. Place bite size bread crumbs for the gooey-melting cheese fondue and fruit chunks for the chocolate fondues. This counter would definitely keep the kids engaged.
Custom made Playlist
Create a custom-made music playlist. Include songs that you would keep both the adults and the kids entertained. You could make CDs of the playlist and give it as take away to your guests.
If you have to arrange couple games then games such as ‘Never Have I Ever’, ‘Minute to win it’ or ‘couple dance’ could do the magic. The couples could also create a “Life Goals” list that could include their travel, family and personal plans for the following year. The objective of the game will help couples to look forward to growing strong together in the coming year. Suggests another couple game, Logeswari, Founder of Eventiaa, “Try Musical Paper. Arrange few newspapers on the floor which can accommodate all the members. Play the music and keep dancing on the newspaper floor. The person who steps out first will discontinue the game. Remove a sheet and let the others dance. Keep it going till the last member is out.”
It’s small moments that make memories in our lifetime. To cherish and acknowledge sweet memories, Arun Kalaiyarasu and Ishwarya Arun, Co-Founders of The Party Story, Chennai based event and wedding planners, quote, “Have a ‘Best Moment of the Year’ game arranged. Arrange a set of cards for guests wherein the cards have queries such as – the best moment of the year, most memorable moment of the year, best thing you did for someone, best conversation you had this year and best piece of advice that you got this year. It’s memories that we carry in our little heart forever.” Discuss with your mates and acknowledge the year that went by.
Psst: Play Dubsmash – To keep your guests engaged, you could ask them to create their Dubsmash videos. Post midnight, compile the videos and play it in a large AV screen. The best Dubsmash could be acknowledged and eventually, it would be a fun time for your squad laughing all evening.
To keep the evening going, plan for some games for the guests. You could ask your guests to write New Year predictions or wishes and drop it in a bowl. Each one could pick their chit and read out their prediction. Alternatively, you could arrange for fortune cookies. All-time favorite games such as lucky draw, antakshri, tombola, bingo and dumb-charades could be organized.
Barbecue, Drinks & Desserts
Post-midnight, have the barbecue bar open. Keep some kebabs and potato wedges grilling. Since its winters, having a borne fire set up along with barbecues and a cozy tent camping at the lawn, terrace or garden area will totally give you the right ‘feels’. At the stroke of 12, cut the New Year cake and team them with fruit puddings. Alternatively, you could serve some champagne or mocktails to the couples.
Ideas for New Year’s Party Theme
- Gatsby Party – If you’re obsessed with the glamour the retro had, replicate the same for your home party. It’s colour gold that gets the attention – gold fabrics to be used for the ceiling décor, use crystals and pearls, gold chandeliers and lights, golden balloons, identical flowers and champagne glass fountains. Ensure that some great music is on loop. The women are to flaunt the best evening gowns and the men to be dressed in the best black tuxedos. Arrange for feathered masks and head gears (masquerade party feels) and ensure champagne is served all through the evening. Like the Party Story duos, Arun and Ishwarya say it, “Party like Gatsby! Ladies wear masquerade with pearls and men dress up in 1920’s tuxedo. Flap your look.”
- Lungi Party – This idea would be apt if you are not in a cold city! Those who are wanting to up madness quotient, do it as Logeswari from Eventiaa says, “Decorations and food for this style party is easy and fun! Everyone will be dressed up in ‘Lungis’ bedtime best. You can also use your scarves or towels tied around your head or waist which will serve as a dance prop and trust me this will be a fun-filled ‘At-Home’ party. Invite your friends, cousins and neighbours to get this started! Décor matters for a home party too, just to get into that party mood. Strings of lights around and few empty wine bottles filled with lights can be hanged. Have a list of fast beat songs like the Chennai Express Lungi Dance Song, Vedhalam – Aaluma Doluma, etc. to move your legs. Play games while you dance. Have a list of known actors written in chits and let all get a chance to pick one and should imitate the dance of that actor.” Alternative to lungi’s is the pyjama party. Guests could come over wearing their sweat pants or pyjamas!
- Karaoke Night – For the karaoke party, make arrangements for the karaoke machine and set up. You could either rent one or buy a karaoke home machine. Make a list of songs and lyrics ready. Since it’s going to be a musical night, ensure the ambience and décor matches the theme. Create a small stage, have disco balls, spotlights and microphones.
- DIY Photo booth – Have a photo booth arranged in a cozy corner of your house which is well lit. Decorate the area with props suiting the theme of the party. Have a prop bucket comprising tiaras, headgears, hats and masks. Keep a Polaroid camera or a DSLR ready to capture some priceless moments.
- The Host Zone – As hosts, have a “Make a Wish for us” board set up. Keep colored stickies and pens handy for the guest to stick a wish for you on the board. Towards the end of the party, read these New Year wishes and make yourselves feel elated! Make a memory board, comprising a timeline of pictures with friends and family during the past year. This will make your guest feel valued and loved.
- Give Away Gifts – Get some post cards with New Year wishes for your guests. Make a customized goodie bag comprising chocolates, candies, cupcakes or macaroons. As it would be wee hours of the night when your guest would leave, you could serve some hot milk and cookies for kids and hot chocolate/coffee for the adults as take away.
- Midnight Cheer – At midnight, wish each other with a hug and whisper blessings. Burst some festoons, noisemakers or sparklers and follow it with a cake cutting session. At the lawn or garden area, make arrangements for lighting lanterns. Make a wish and leave them in the moon lit sky. Alternatively, you could light candles or lamps. As a family, take a moment to make thanks to the Lord.
- Kids Activity – If you’re done with the games organized and are still looking for ideas to keep the young guests busy, arrange for an activity kit. The kit could include crayons, drawing sheets and DIY craft items. Engage the kids by asking them to create their party head gears for a reward. Organize a dress up competition for the kids. Invite the little ones for a Ball Room theme. It would be eye pleasing to watch the young boys in their best tux and the young girls in their Cinderella gowns. Alternatively, you could even choose a Disney theme. If you’re still not over Christmas, ask these cuties to be dressed as Santa’s, reindeer’s or shades of red & green. Declare everyone as winners and reward them with gifts. The happiness these little ones’ get will be priceless!
Tips while arranging the New Year’s Party
- For any event to be well organized, budgeting is the thumb rule. Once the budget is clear, everything comes to place.
- Start planning the theme, menu, take away gifts and guest list at least 10 days in advance
- The day before the party, call your guests to get a RSVP. This will help you to arrange the right quantity of meal and snacks. The same applies while arranging for a potluck.
- While deciding the menu, make sure that the vegetarians have sufficient options
- If you want to avoid having hard or soft drinks, alternatively arrange for fruit punch, lime mint coolers, hot chocolate/coffee, mocktails or sharbet.
- New Year’s Eve party is one such night where the hosts have to keep providing all night long. Therefore, ensure that you have an early dinner organized for the guests, followed by games, desserts and midnight snacking. Serve nuts and savories, pastas, mini pizzas, baked chips, veggies and a dip for snacks. Have a baked potato bar for the kids to binge on.