By Meghan Rizzo, Contributing Writer
New Year's Eve is a holiday rife with pressure. We want to start off the next 365 days on the right foot and fear that if a New Year's Eve celebration is a dud, this will set the tone for the rest of the year.
The first thing to do in order to best enjoy New Year's Eve is not to place so much import on it. It is just another night, albeit a night providing the opportunity to spend quality time with the people you value the most!
A lack of finances might very well require that you take it easy this year, but a night spent at home with loved ones can be just as meaningful and memorable as the most extravagant night out at the club du jour. In fact, you might find that you'll have more fun amid the relative peace and quiet.
Following are some tips on how to throw a memorable party while still being thrifty:
Since New Year's Eve parties generally start after dinner, providing food is a cinch. Finger foods and appetizers are traditional New Year's Eve fare and these can be purchased cheaply in the frozen food aisle of any supermarket. If you have the time, you might choose to make some special dips or quiches from scratch. For some recipe ideas, visit recipe4living.com. Enlist the help of your friends to bring their own favorites to add more variety to the menu. Buy decorative toothpicks and color coordinated plastic cutlery to add to the festive feel.
Alcohol is a staple at any New Year's Eve party, but be sure to provide some sparkling non-alcoholic cider for your guests, too. As for champagne, it is not necessary to splurge on a top shelf brand. Your guests will be happy as long as the bottle has that audible 'POP!' and subsequent spray when you open it.
Regarding liquor and beer, don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring their own. Times are tough. Your friends will appreciate your opening your home to them and they will be understanding of the fact that you might not be able to provide every party necessity.
To fill the hours until midnight, you might consider organizing some fun activities to break the ice and get the conversations going. Board games and card games are usually fail-safe, but be sure to choose games that are stimulating. Party favorites include, but are certainly not limited to, Cranium, Scene It?, Pictionary, and penny-ante Poker. If you don't have any games on hand, others such as 'Celebrity' and 'Would You Rather?' require nothing but pens and paper.
There's something to be said for making a racket when the clock strikes midnight. Buy noisemakers or bang on pots and pans. Pop open that champagne, and when it comes time to kiss your significant other, be sympathetic to your single friends and be sure to give them bear hugs and show them how much they are valued.
For Those With a Wild Streak
If you're not satisfied unless there is at least a little off-the-wall behavior, consider throwing a theme party. Have your guests dress as pirates or in the cheesiest 80s outfits they can put together. Wearing a costume is a great way to feel liberated, and though your guests might feel silly at first, once everyone has arrived in ridiculous attire, the fun will soon begin.