Here’s a checklist of to-dos so all you have to worry about on the night is ensuring maximum fun for all
Decided to host a New Year’s party this year? Great idea! But where to begin?
1. Finalise your guest list
Figure out how many people your house can comfortably host (standing and sitting) then draw up a guest list. Send out invites to family and friends well ahead of time to make sure they’re not already booked up.
2. Check your kitchen supplies
For a drinks-and-nibbles-style party, you can never have too many glasses and plates. Check what you’ve got in the cupboards and if need be, buy in a few extra. Or, you save money and cupboard space by hiring them instead.
3. Decide on a theme
A party theme can be a good icebreaker for guests who don’t know each other very well. Whether it’s masquerade masks, a black and gold dress code, or something more elaborate; decide your theme early on as this will feed in to later decisions around food and decor.
4. Set your budget
Decide how much you’re happy to spend on your party. Having a set figure in mind before you do anything else will help reduce the risk of being tempted by additional extras while you’re out shopping.
5. Send out your invitations
It’s a nice touch to double up and send out your party invites with your Christmas cards. Make sure you include an RSVP date, then send email reminders nearer the time.
6. Consider guests who’ll want to stay over
Work out how much sleeping space you’re able to provide for guests who don’t live locally. Borrowing a blow-up mattress or camp bed adds capacity without too much clutter.
7. Guests’ contributions
No one expects to go to a party empty handed. To help prevent any doubling up, it’s perfectly acceptable to be specific with your guests about what you’d like them to bring – whether it’s a sweet dish, drinks, or crisps and dips.
8. Food and drinks
Once you’ve decided on a sit-down meal or nibbles-and-drinks style party, you’ll need to work out the party menu. Have a look at our delicious time-saving party snack ideas. Aim for around 10-12 canapés per person and two bottles of wine for every four people, don’t forget to offer a good supply of non-alcoholic drinks too.
9. Include non-perishables in your Christmas food shop
Don’t leave everything to the last minute by adding non-perishable or long shelf-life items like drinks and mixers to your Christmas shop. Don’t forget to get plenty of toilet paper and kitchen towel.
10. Plan the entertainment
Create a few themed playlists of party tunes to last the evening – five to six hours should do it – but expect interruptions and requests! Make sure you have a few party games up your sleeve too, even if you don’t intend on playing any – you never know what direction the evening will take.
11. Organise the house
Rearrange furniture to create space and store away any precious items. Make sure you have a table set up for drinks with a corkscrew, bottle opener, ice bucket, lemon and lime slices and plenty of glasses and cups to encourage people to serve themselves. Give the house a good clean before guests arrive.
12. The day before
Buy the remaining fresh food, including plenty of lemons and limes for drinks. Freeze more ice than you can ever imagine needing (if it’s cold enough, you could store it outside) and work out where the mountain of coats and umbrellas will go when guests arrive. Text guests your local cab firm’s number so that they can pre-order a taxi if they want to.