A Lazy Person’s Guide to Throwing a NY’s Party

Published: laurelandwolf.com

So here’s what happened—you pulled off an elaborate Thanksgiving gathering, and even though your guests left wildly impressed, you were a little spent. A month later, you didn’t learn from your mistake, and decided to invite everyone back to your humble abode to ring in the New Year. Expectations are high. Your energy, however, is low. It doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, with a bit of smart planning—plus a hard-and-fast goal for doing things with as little effort as possible—you might even kick back and relax the day you bid farewell to 2017. This is your guide to throwing a shindig everyone will be talking about without going stir-crazy.

1 – The hassle-free hors d’oeuvres

Serve up some hors d’oeuvres that are fancy without being difficult—a smorgasbord of cold meats and cheeses (you don’t even have to do the cutting, just leave a few cheese knives out), all sorts of cool and creamy dips with a variety of scoops. If your repertoire needs a bit of oomphing, try adding foods-on-sticks that require absolutely no cooking skills. String cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls and basil on a skewer for a caprese-like snack. Or a combination of grape, Spanish manchego cheese, and spicy chorizo. These are all apps you can put together in a jiffy.

Go a step further:

…and put the oven to work by whipping up bacon-wrapped dates, a definite crowd-pleaser. All you need to do is wrap bacon (opt for turkey bacon for your health-conscious guests) around pitted dates, secure with a toothpick and pop them into the oven. Here’s the recipe for this simple, salty-and-sweet goodness.  

2 – The libations

The booze should be the least of your worries, because it really is a no-brainer. Whether you go with the sweet-and-fruity Prosecco or Louis Roederer’s exuberant Cristal Champagne, a steady flow of bubbly equals a happy crowd.

Go a step further:

…and set up a DIY cocktail bar. Print out a few recipes of your favorite drinks and have your friends try their hand at mixing and shaking. Make use of the spirits you have on hand, and let lime juice pull triple-duty. That bottle of vodka? Add lime juice, Triple Sec, and cranberry juice, and guests can whip up a Cosmopolitan. Got some tequila? Add lime juice, Triple Sec and optional salt for a classic Margarita. Gin? All you’ll need is Rose’s lime juice for a perfect gimlet. Don’t forget the most important ingredient: ice, ice, ice!

3 – The decorations

Chances are, you’ve already spruced up your digs with Christmas decor, so let your christmas tree do most of the talking. To make your decorations more NY-specific, hang the obvious “Happy New Year” garland. Don’t limit yourself to the curtain rod. Some no-hardware-needed adhesive hooks—like this and this— add to the ambiance and are plenty festive for the occasion. (Or go for the invisible variety). No need to think too much about what to tie, tuck or wrap the thread around.

Go a step further:

…and pull together an insta-friendly photo booth. Companies like SnapFiesta and PhotoBoothPro offer an array of services that make for great dedicated photo ops with features and offers like delivery, props, an attendant, unlimited photos and prints. That is, if you and your wallet are up for the splurge. Otherwise, opt for the DIY approach. That friend you helped move? The other friend you drove to the airport at 4 a.m.? Rally them up for a little you-owe-me-a-favor craft session before guests start trickling in. Purchase a backdrop stand (which run for as low as $30) and get to decorating with those garlands.  

4 – The plates

The good news is that serving bite-sized appetizers require no cutlery for consumption. But who wants to clean those plates after midnight? Not you—which is where disposable plates come in. No, not of the tacky, birthday variety. There are plenty of cool and stylish options. Take this fun pineapple-inspired pack, or this gold pine-patterned set. For something a little more muted, perhaps Wasara’s simple-but-classy plates will do the trick. Based in Japan, the company prides itself in producing products made entirely out of renewable materials like sugar cane fibers, bamboo and reed pulps.

Go a step further:

…by going completely dirty-dishes free! These recyclable toasting flutes with curved stems are fun alternative. Or this modern take.

5 – The conversation

Before you ring in the new year, you’ll need a plan for how to have David from finance and Lauren from marketing get along. Surely, having a NY’s playlist (try Spotify’s) helps drown out the silence. But say you need something more to break the ice—it’s good to have bailout options at the ready. Party games like a white elephant gift exchange or holiday-themed charades will keep the party abuzz and require little to no effort on your part.

Go a step further:

…by setting up a “game” station. Fish out those old board games you haven’t played since college and stack them on a table. Even a silly challenge like Connect Four can be fun, especially with a glass of sparkling vino in hand.

Photo credit: Bacon-wrapped dates, From Jenny | HealthyCrush.com

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