Who wouldn’t want to RSVP to a cozy NYE pajama party?
Ringing in the New Year isn’t something you want to do spontaneously! No, deciding how you want to celebrate the arrival of the New Year is very much a planned activity. After all, there are plenty of New Year’s traditions to partake in—from burning a wish and stocking your pantry to eating your black-eyed peas and greens—and parties to be had.
Need a little inspiration for this year’s bash? We’ve rounded up 20 New Year’s Eve party ideas ranging from casual pajama gatherings and game nights to elegant sit-down dinners and adventures on the town. With this list of creative dress codes, themes and party ideas, we have something to please every guest on your list.
Lean Into a Vintage Theme
What’s old is considered cool, right? Take inspiration from The Great Gatsby and the early seasons of Netflix’s The Crown to influence this year’s NYE hop. Allow the show or book to influence your party decor and dress code. Our suggestions? Keep foods simple, serving holiday finger foods and a special house cocktail such as a retro rum punch.
Host a Game Night
Let’s face it—only the adults make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. This being so, hosts a friendly adult game the night before the big ball drops. Play games such as get-to-know-you games as well as guessing games to pass the hours before midnight.
Dine Al Fresco
NYE in the South isn’t chilly for all! If the temperature is comfortable in your area, consider inviting friends over for a dinner party in the backyard. You can do up the patio table in the decor you’d use in a formal dining room for a casual-meets-chic night “out.”
Make a Travel Bucket List
If you’re opting for a calm NYE night-in, host a New Year’s travel list party. The concept is simple: Take the time to pen all of the places you wish to visit in the upcoming year. Need somerecommendations? Our editors have some ideas.
Host a Pajama Party
Forget the tuxedo and sequin dress and opt for your cozy slippers and comfy pajamas instead. Since the dress code is simple, keep the menu simple by serving apple cinnamon pancakes with warm maple syrup.
Invite Your Furry Friends
Your dog may be tired of being left home alone during the holiday party circuit. Take New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to snuggle on the couch with your furry best friend. For a fun activity (and one they’ll love), bake them a batch of these pumpkin peanut butter dog treats. Yum!
Have a Craft Night
Fun DIY glasses and headpieces to wear while you count the seconds until the ball drops are all part of the holiday spirit. Don’t waste your money buying the generic costume props and instead host a party where everyone makes their own NYE glitzy accessories that even Dolly Parton would be jealous of.
Make Some Mocktails
While it’s customary to toast the New Year with a Champagne flute in hand, the tradition still counts if your coupe is booze-free. If you’re celebrating with all ages, or want to serve cocktails sans liquor, consider serving a menu of holiday mocktails everyone will enjoy—like this berry juniper freeze!
Wrap Up the Christmas Tree
The tree has to come down eventually, right? If you’re staying home, make a game out of taking down the tree and packing the ornaments away by asking trivia questions as well as sipping on the last few drops of eggnog.
Write Down Your Reflections
Invite your family to sit down at the kitchen table, each equipped with their own notepad and pen. Have everyone write a list of reflections on the finishing year as well as a list of intentions for the one just beginning. It’s a healthy exercise to start the new year, and one you will be glad you started. Remember to save their notes from the year prior, as everyone can take this opportunity to revisit and share what inventions they made come true.
Watch a Movie
Why go out for New Year’s when there are so many good things to stream at home? Invite friends over to watch some favorite feel-good flicks. Our personal favorites are And So It Goes on Amazon Prime and The Holidays on Hulu. Be sure to have cozy candles and popcorn, regular as well as caramel popcorn balls on hand.
Dress in Sequins
For many, the arrival of NYE means the last hurrah for wearing head-to-toe sequins. Encourage guests to come dressed in their best sequin looks to shine and shimmy the night away. For festive cocktails, make a batch of punch to keep the crowd hydrated.
Enjoy Fondue With Friends
It doesn’t matter if you’re a chocolate fondue lover or a melted cheese lover, melting cheese or chocolate onto fruits and chips is heaven. Invite friends to gather around the holiday fondue pot to anticipate the mirror ball dropping.
Go See the Lights
New Year’s Eve is the perfect (and last chance) to drive around with friends and family to see all of the holiday lights. You can also treat this as an opportunity to wear your Christmas pajamas and blast holiday tunes.
Serve Only Desserts
Much like a Christmas cookie exchange party, host an NYE dessert party, where everyone brings their favorite holiday desserts. Need some baking ideas? We’d bring this butter pecan layer cake with browned butter frosting.
Pick a Fun Theme
Invite guests to dress in costume—Yellowstone, Roaring 20s, or decade night, anyone?—while you pass easy finger foods around along with the house’s signature pomegranate champagne cocktail. Trust us: Adults love any excuse for dressing up.
Play Some Jazz
NYE calls for some jazz music, so have folks dress in their snazzy holiday attire while you stream tunes of Southern jazz legends such as Teddy Willson, Mary Lou Williams, and Harry Connick Jr. Pair the ambiance with a jazzy drink, such as this last-word fizz cocktail.
Take a Group Shot
There is no shame in that you already have a list of New Year’s captions for Instagram saved in the notes section of your phone. Curating a social media-worthy photo backdrop can turn your shindig from reality to virtual reality with one click. We love the idea of keeping this more natural, framing the scene with something like this stunning fireplace. Just make sure everyone is in the group shot—you’ll be glad to have it for your own personal yearbook.
Recreate a Favorite Movie
Whether you were around for the primetime airing of the hit sitcom Dallas or not is still up for debate. However, the show’s iconic 80’s fashion (big shoulders and big Texas hair) is very in-vogue. Encourage guests to dress in the best 80’s inspired clothing, with a Southern twist. As for you, the hostess? We encourage you to serve hot butter rum pudding for dessert.
Enjoy Your Favorite Comfort Foods
If you’ve been craving warm Southern comfort food, serve just that. Ask each guest to bring their favorite comfort dish (along with the recipe) to start the year with our favorite activity: a good, old-fashioned potluck.
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Read the original article on Southern Living.