Whether you're hosting a grown-ups-only or kid-friendly New Year's Eve shindig, party like it's 2009!

Are you the go-to house this New Year's Eve? Whether you're having an adult- or kid-friendly shindig, don't stress-remember, you need to enjoy yourself, too. Here, complete parties-in-a-package that will get your New Year started with a bang.

And if guests don't like it, well, remember that famous line: Should old acquaintances be forgot? That was written about a really bad party guest.


An ounce of vodka is worth a pound of cure. Isn't that the saying? Well, pour me on the rocks and call me prepared. A few tips to get ya goin':

Be fair and balanced -- Balance your menu. Serve a variety of appetizers - crunchy/creamy, raw/cooked, hot/cold, savory/sweet - but make sure everything would still go together if it was on a plate at the same time. Because you know how those "food shouldn't touch" people are.

Be real -- Have a realistic amount of food. Plan on serving three to five appetizers per person per hour. One must have sustenance to get through the long evening. Let your guests graze through the party by keeping a small buffet set up with platters of meats, cheeses, breads and condiments, vegetables with a dip and various bowls of nuts, olives and chips. All easily gotten at your local store.

Pace yourself -- Keep your party well-paced. Keep half an eye on the clock, kitchen and bar to ensure that fresh food and drinks (with and without alcohol) are constantly in circulation, particularly if you're going to count down to midnight together.

It's all in the accessories -- Garnish festively. Liven up platters with small holiday ornaments (try the dollars stores or Big Lots), edible plants (poinsettias are poisonous-only give those to the neighbors you dislike) or cutie-patootie small fruits and veggies.

Colonel clink! -- Clink, clink. Splurge on inexpensive champagne glasses for your guests to hear a real "clink" when you toast the New Year. Also at the dollar stores.

Make haste with waste -- Keep it clutter-free. Keep the clutter to a minimum by setting up an easy-to-find area for people to leave used glasses and plates. Also, have several small waste baskets scattered throughout the room.

Safety first -- Play it safe. Don't forget about your designated drivers and non-drinking friends! Keep a supply of fun and festive non-alcoholic drinks on hand.

Kiss me, I'm Italian! Try this festive potent potable to keep things lively-Prosecco. What's Prosecco? Wow your friends with a Presecco pedigree: Ahem. Prosecco is a term applied to a specific type of wine as well as the grape that is used to make it. The Prosecco grape is primarily grown in a region of Italy known as Veneto. It is also grown in the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano (God bless you) wine regions, both north of Venice. Prosecco grapes ripen later than most other grapes.

Prosecco wine is a crisp sparkling white wine with a slightly bitter aftertaste. In fact, Prosecco grapes are used to make two types of sparkling wine. They can be used to make spumante, a dry sparkling wine,or frizzante wines, which are semi-sparkling.
There are two specific cocktails that call for Prosecco wine. Bellinis are made by mixing peach juice with the sparkling wine. Prosecco, vodka, and cranberry juice are the ingredients of the Poinsettia cocktail. Both of these are lovely and refreshing cocktails; with Bellinis lovely during warm weather months and Poinsettas being delicious and perfect for holiday parties. Try those or any of the recipes below for something fun and festive.

Apricot Fizz
3 tablespoons chilled apricot nectar or peach papaya mango juice
1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
lime slices for garnish
Pour the apricot nectar in a champagne flute and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

Black Currant Cocktail
2 tablespoons chilled CurrantC Black Currant Nectar
1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
Pour juice in a champagne flute and top with Prosecco.

Prosecco Blush
1/4 cup chilled sparkling grapefruit juice or pink grapefruit juice
1/3 cup chilled Prosecco
1 2-inch long strip of grapefruit zest for garnish
Pour grapefruit soda in a champagne flute and top with Prosecco. Garnish with zest.

Berry Sparkler
cup fresh or frozen raspberries or blackberries
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
Mash raspberries and sugar together with a fork. Spoon mixture into a champagne glass and top with Prosecco.

Prosecco Sparkler
3 dashes of Angostura Bitters or more if desired
1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
1 sugar cube
Add bitters and Prosecco into a champagne flute. Drop in sugar cube. Mixture will sparkle and fizz


Tired of the same old New Year's Eve party featuring party hats, noise makers and champagne? Let Libby Langdon add some sizzle to your celebration. Libby, an expert commentator on HGTV's Small Space, Big Style, has created a variety of dcor ideas and party themes that are easy to pull off and will surely ring in the New Year with style.

Wine charm bar: Let your guests get creative and have them make their own wine charms. Set up an area close to the bar with thin 1" hoop earrings, beads and small novelty charms (all available at craft stores). Wine charms are great conversation starters and at the end of the evening your guests can take them home as a fun reminder of the evening.

Individual flowers: Buy a bunch of flowers with large blooms such as lilies, gerber daisies or amaryllis. Cut each flower at the base of the bloom and put each one in an individual shot glass or small drinking glass. Arrange them in groups of 3 and set them on tables, bars and buffets. It only takes a minute to do and provides a great look for your party.

New Year's garlands: Keep your garlands up and transition them from Christmas to New Year's by simply replacing the red bows with silk flowers. The blooms can be any color but try to avoid red. You will get a lot of use out of your greenery and your home will look festive and fresh.

Beautiful bar: Turn a plain table into a festive bar with a brightly colored scarf, ribbons or table runner down the center. Top it with flowers, candles, glasses and bar accoutrement.

Silver and white theme: A simple way to decorate for New Year's is to keep all decor silver and white. Group silver Christmas ornaments in silver bowls or glass vases and position white flowers and candles everywhere. It fashions a very elegant look and it's easy to do.

Multitasking martini glasses: Don't just use your martini glasses for drinks! Let them do double duty and use them as serving pieces for dips, nuts and olives. They look great on a tray surrounded by crackers and crudites.

"Serving" spoons: Make individual servings of your hors d'oeuvres and instead of placing them on crackers, position them on spoons. Arrange the spoons on a platter so the handles rest on the outer rim and encourage guests to just "grab a spoonful".

Mirror image candles: Buy 12" x 12" mirror tiles at a home improvement store and set them on entrance tables, cocktail tables, bars and buffets. Put lots of votive candles or tea lights on top of them and they'll reflect the warm glow of the candlelight. Easy and cheap-o!

Party Polaroids: Put Polaroid cameras on tables throughout your home and let guests take pictures of one another throughout the evening. When guests leave hand out the photos as a fun keepsake. Be sure to provide plenty of film. Or, save the evidence for later blackmail.

Fast, festive flowers: You can make a quick and gorgeous flower arrangement by taking a bunch of one kind of flower that has a thick stalk, such as calla lilies, sunflowers or amaryllis, and tying them together with a wide, eye-catching ribbon. Set them inside a glass vase or ice bucket filled only a quarter of the way up with water and place the arrangement in your entry way or on your table.

Star light: Decorate plain white candles, pillars or tapers, with gold or silver stick-on stars, or try freehand drawings with a metallic Sharpie. If you are using plastic cups you can decorate them with the stars as well. It's just a little touch to dress up what you already have.

White branches: Cover tall branches and twigs with silver or white spray paint and while they are still wet sprinkle silver glitter on them. Put the branches in a tall vase and place stones on the bottom to secure them.

Fruitful centerpiece: Set a bed of artificial leaves or moss down the center of your table and layer baby artichokes, pears, grapes and candles on top.

Tea light table: Line up an abundance of tea lights or votive candles down the center of your table. It's simple to do and creates a sleek, modern look. A giant bag of them is pretty inexpensive.

Cheese wreath: Lay a grapevine wreath on your table and fill it with a variety of fresh grapes. Surround the outer edges with grape leaves and a variety of cheeses for a decorative appetizer.

Wanna do something completely different and unexpected? Try Libby's New Year's party theme ideas:

New Year's Eve girls' spa night: Forget spending $150 for a dinner, $100 on a cute dress and hoping to meet Mr. Right at a New Year's Eve party. Instead, invite all your girlfriends over for a spa night at your place to ring in the New Year! Hire a manicurist and a masseuse to come to your home. If you're low on cash check out your local beauty school there are sure to be some good students who would love the experience and the chance to get some new clients. Ask your guests to each bring a comfy robe, slippers and a bottle of champagne. You provide some simple appetizers and great ambiance; make sure to have soothing music playing and lots of scented candles lit. Have the TV on so you can watch the ball drop. What better way to celebrate the New Year than with your girlfriends!

International New Year's Eve party: Spice up your same old New Year's Eve party by giving it an international flavor. Research New Year's customs in other countries and coordinate the invites, food, drinks, music and decor to go along with your chosen country. For instance, you could have a Spanish theme and serve tapas, sangria and have lots of brightly colored flowers and scarves on tables or you could choose a French theme and serve fondue, wine and champagne. It's a fun way to incorporate a new twist on your New Year's Eve party!

Sushi making party: This is really fun to do with a group of friends. Get sushi making kits and all the necessary ingredients and invite friends to bring over sake and Japanese beer. Give everyone a little "sushi station" and let them make their own. You may have to demonstrate the first time and there will always be mistakes but imperfect ones are just as much fun to eat as the perfect ones. Have lots of chopsticks available and decorate with an Asian theme; vases full of bamboo, a matchstick blinds tablecloth, candles and bright red napkins. Let your guests take home their sushi making kits in a goody bag.

Other decor resources: www.party411.com, www.stylehive.com.


End-of-the-year parties are the perfect time to break out that outfit that you figured you'd never have the occasion to wear, but bought anyway because it was on sale or looked fabulous or sort of just fell off the hanger and into your (waiting) arms.

Yes people, this is the time to go all out, so don't be afraid to play with embellishments, bright colors, and out-there accents. Stylehive has put together their favorite in-your-face fashions to help you get your party (outfit) on!
(Oh, and one more thing- head-to-toe sequins are so last year.) www.stylehive.com.
Want more ideas? See them all in the slideshow of fun ways to decorate your place for the party of the year! www.stylehive.com.

Having a rockin' playlist is part of Party Planning 101. Seriously-either incorporate your favorite party songs into your own playlist, or try ready-made playlists available on iTunes and other web destinations. Here's a fun one to get you(re party) started.

Get The Party Started, Pink Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, Will Smith Play that Funky Music, Wild Cherry In Da Club, 50 Cent I Am a Scientist, The Dandy Warhols 1999, Prince The Big Bounce, The Chemical Brothers Don't Ya, The Pussycat Dolls Ring My Bell, Anita Ward Hollaback Girl, Gwen Stefani Anthem For The Year 2000, Silverchair Love Shack, The B-52's Just Lose It, Eminem Ghetto Musik, Outkast Maneater, Nelly Furtado Cubicle, Rinocerose Get Free, The Vines Call Me When You're Sober, Evanescence Ride, The Vines I Am Over It, The Dandy Warhols I Believe In a Thing Called Love, The Darkness I Don't Need a Man, The Pussycat Dolls Bohemien Like You, The Dandy Warhols Around The World, Daft Punk High Voltage, Electric Six

Another great playlist from www.slice.com. It's pure fun to read, too!

Rehab, Amy Winehouse
This speaks for itself. I'm sure there is a good portion of the population that goes to work the next day still tipsy.
Best Lyrics: They try to make me go to rehab / I say NO NO NO

The Boys Are Back in Town, Thin Lizzy
No one parties alone. You know this big night is going to be spent with your best buddies or someone you think is cute. You're guaranteed to get into some trouble and have a story that is worth singing about later. Besides, everyone loves a good classic rock song.
Best Lyrics: That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song, the nights are getting warmer, it won't be long won't be long till summer comes

Please Take Me Home, Blink 182
You may have beer goggles on, or you may have spied someone across the room early in the evening, but at some point, this is what you're thinking to yourself. "Please take me home. This is the best time we ever had." Unfortunately, there is always the aftermath.
Best Lyrics: Give in, forget the past / Be strong when things fall apart

Waiting for the Night, Depeche Mode
It's this kind of slow song, on this kind of night, that makes babies happen. Close your eyes, smell their freshly washed hair, hold them closer than is appropriate, and dream of hot things to come.
Best Lyrics: I'm waiting for the night to fall / When everything is bearable / And there in the still / All that you feel is tranquillity

Dance Dance, Fall Out Boy
How much does this remind you of Footloose? Kick off those heels or shiny dress shoes, unbutton that shirt, toss your hair, and ROCK OUT!
Best Lyrics: You always fold just before you're found out / Drink up it's last call

Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns n Roses
Every party needs a really good air guitar track. Not only is this sound bound to encourage people to rock it out, but you may get some great karaoke going on. Everyone knows the words to this song (at least the first few lines...).
Best Lyrics: She's got a smile that it seems to me / Reminds me of childhood memories [Because EVERYONE knows THESE lines]

Time Is Running Out, Muse
A rather fitting title for the big night. Also a killer track from a great band.
Best Lyrics: You're something beautiful / A contradiction / I wanna play the game / I want the friction

The Whole World, Outkast
Chin up, it's a new year. You (and the whole world) are starting a new chapter this year. Look forward, don't look back, and dance while you're at it.
Best Lyrics: Cause the whole, world, loves it when you don't get down

Umbrella, Rihanna (VNDLSM remix)
Tired of the original song? Here's a great electro remix that is bound to get everyone out on the dance floor. It's Top 40 you hate to love and love to hate, but with an edge. Now go cut a rug!
Best Lyrics: These fancy things, will never come in between / You're part of my entity / Here for infinity

Lovely Day, Bill Withers
Did your night run really late? Is the sun rising? This is how you should greet the morning. The first morning of the New Year. Love, sun, lovely day.
Best Lyrics: Then I look at you and the world's all right with me / Just one look at you and I know it's gonna be / A lovely day


A New Year's celebration is a perfect night for togetherness. You can have all the kids over and still have a relaxed party that allows you some time alone with the grown-ups. Here are some tips:

Set up a "kids' area" for the children to hang out and play separately from the adults. A good place is a child's bedroom or playroom, a spare bedroom, or furnished basement. Keep in mind the kids' ages, and how much supervision they will need. Set up a TV and VCR in the room and rent some movies that the kids will love. If you've got a video game system, set that up too and supply video games for the kids to play. Set up a table for playing cards and board games, as well as making arts and craft projects. Supply the games, along with construction paper, scissors, stencils, markers, colored pencils, glue, and other supplies for kids to do their own crafts. Make small goody bags for each of the kids, including any left over Christmas candy you have, and party favors like kazoos and noisemakers. Make sure to have plenty of kid-friendly food and drinks.

Of course the best part of the evening will be spending time together with your friends and talking. Here are suggestions for fun and conversation that allow you to reflect on the past year, as well as look forward to what the future holds. Both adults and kids will enjoy these easy-to-plan activities:

Have everyone write down a prediction for the next year on a piece of paper, fold it up, put it in a box, and shuffle. Then have everyone randomly pick a prediction from the box and read it off to everyone. The results can be very amusing. Works great if you make this a yearly tradition, and instead of reading off the predictions that night, you save them for next year, and read last year's. You can start the tradition this year; make two boxes and have everyone write two predictions, one to be read off that night, and one to be saved for next year. The last night of the year is a great time to look back and reflect. A nice way to make your memories from your past year last is to make a memory book, involving all of your guests. Have each person at the party make their own page, where they write down their favorite memories from the year and draw sketches or paste down pictures, etc. Punch holes in each page and put them all together in a binder. After this is complete, you can pass the book around the party for all to enjoy. Obviously there are many variations on this idea. If you'd rather each person have something they can take away with them, follow a similar idea, except have each person make their own booklet to pass around to everyone. Ideas for striking up interesting conversation that involves everyone: have everyone go around and say what they are thankful for in this past year. What are their wishes and expectations for the New Year? What are their New Year's resolutions? Have everyone tell about favorite anecdote from the past year. Have everyone come up with a list of things they'd like to accomplish in the upcoming year, and realistically can: for instance, books to read, places to visit, spaces to clean, junk to get rid of, activities to get involved in, and ways to better themselves. People reading off their lists might inspire others. It will also help people stay productive if they keep their list for the year, post it up on the refrigerator, and check things off as they get accomplished. Cards and board games are perfect party staples for all ages. Have a deck of cards and selection of games ready for your guests. Gather everyone together at some point in the night to take a group photo, which you can later make multiple prints of to send to everyone at the party. Also be sure to have your camera and lots of film ready to take plenty of party pictures. Get doubles to send along to your guests with the group photo. FOOD:

If you have your guests help you out by bringing snacks, most of your work will be cut out for you when it comes to food for your party. Remember that you are keeping this party simple, and it's best to go with just appetizers, snacks, and desserts. Make a list and keep track of what you need and who is bringing what. Here are some ideas to get you started:

In keeping with the relaxed nature of your party, you're not going to want to have to worry about washing massive amounts of dishes afterwards. Buy paper plates and plastic utensils to make things easier on yourself. Frozen appetizers that can be quickly heated up are perfect and come in wide selections. Snack staples include chips, nuts, pretzels, dips, salsa, bread, cheese, crackers, vegetables, etc. Sweets that will be popular include cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc. You can buy these items already made, or quickly make baked treats with ready-to-bake dough or mix. It's a nice idea to have a make-your-own ice cream sundae station for later on in the evening. Have ready a few ice cream flavors, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, nuts, and whipped cream. This will be a great hit with the kids. Now's a good chance to get rid of all that extra Christmas candy you've got lying around. Put your chocolates and candy canes in bowls around the house for people to snack on. It's a great idea to have coffee and tea ready throughout the night for staying up late and keeping warm. Hot chocolate is a good idea too. It's New Year's Eve, so of course you're going to want to have a bottle or two of nice champagne ready. Have nice glasses ready for the adults, with wine glass keys for distinguishing glasses from each other. Break out the champagne for a midnight toast. For the non-drinkers and kids, you can have a nonalcoholic, sparkling cider ready so they can participate in the toast too. Also keep plenty of other beverages available: soft drinks, fruit juice, milk, and water.

You don't have to go over the top decorating, but you can give your home some easy, quick touches that will make it perfect for a party with New Year's spirit.

Make plenty of space for your guests. Create as much space in your home as you can by moving around furniture to create open space. Also bring out any extra chairs or stools you may have stored away in other parts of your home. Lighting is key to setting just the right atmosphere in your home, and to give it a magical, special presence. Arrange lots of candles around the party space. Just make sure that they do not form a hazard; do not put them near curtains, or anywhere they can easily be knocked or accidentally reached over. Use special caution with kids around, placing candles out of their reach. Small votive candles will look great on tables. Arrange candles in many different colors. For more special lighting options, pull out any candelabras and other tired multiple candle holders you might have lying around. Arrange a floating candle display as a centerpiece for a table. Take advantage of light dimmers on overhead fixtures or lamps, turning down the lights a bit for atmosphere. You can use any extra Christmas lights you have creatively, hanging colorful lights from walls and wrapping them around pillars, doors, and stair-handles, or even under glass tables. Chances are you still have your Christmas decorations up. This is great for your party. Keep your tree lighted up throughout the party. Poinsettias are particularly nice to display around your home and are also good as table centerpieces. Buy some more on sale after Christmas and spread them around your house. Use a long table, such as your dining room table, as the main place to set up all the food, snacks, desserts, disposable plates and bowls, utensils, and napkins. Arrange the snacks and desserts in nice bowls and plates. Dress up the table with a nice tablecloth in colors that capture the winter season while not being overly Christmassy; silvers, whites, golds, reds and blues. You can sprinkle confetti around on the table for an extra touch. Silver snowflake and stars confetti will look great with the tablecloth. Fill a large glass bowl or vase with candy canes and shiny ribbon for a nice centerpiece. What would be a party without music? Get together a selection of music you think would be good for the party and make your own CD mixes. Just don't put on any Christmas music. Do have your favorite rendition of Auld Lang Syne ready.

Kids will love cheap party favors like party hats and noisemakers. These can be fun for adults too who will be in the spirit at midnight. You can also provide your guests with nice little New Year's gifts. Make use of all that extra chocolate and candy you may have lying around from Christmas. Buy cheap, clear plastic ornament balls and fill them up with candy, or purchase small stockings to stuff with sweets. Write each guest's name on them. Confetti is the essential final touch of New Year's Eve. If you're hesitant about having confetti thrown around your house, then perhaps you should rethink hosting a New Year's party. You can provide confetti for your guests to throw around at midnight. (If you don't, there's a good chance several of your guests will have brought their own.). You can easily vacuum it up the next day. For more great New Year's tips, Food Network has great videos, including how to properly open a champagne or sparking juice bottle (which we'll need by midnight), plus tips from interior decorator Ted Allen: http://www.foodnetwork.com/new-years-videos/video/index.html. Who knew salt in a wine bucket helps chill your bottle faster? Let's go to the salt barn now!


Finally, and I hope you won't need it, but alas, it never hurts to be prepared. I suggest you click and print before you need this. Those computer keys can really cause an awful racket.


Happy holidays!