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The New Year’s Eve Party: Easy (and Chic) Last Minute Ideas From Milk & Mode’s Carol Han


Hosting a New Year’s Eve party has developed a bad rap over the years—everyone’s expectations for the night are sky high, so the pressure’s really on for the hostess. But, personally, I love a good challenge, and you can take comfort in the fact that this is an ages-old problem. Literally. The celebration of the New Year is one of the world’s oldest traditions, dating back to the ancient Romans (we’re talking the year 153 B.C. here), which is why I think it’s important to honor some old rituals surrounding the day, while still keeping things fun and festive. Here are my favorite ways to celebrate.

1. Wear something sparkly. Sequins and beads can sometimes be looked upon as loud or garish. This is one night where you can really let loose and shine. It’s time to look as festive and bright as possible.

2. Stick to tradition and link arms with your friends at midnight to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Robert Burns in 1788. Make sure to have your stereo cued to start playing it as soon as midnight hits and pass out print outs of the lyrics to all your guests.

3. Instead of offering up the typical paper cone party hats, have a bin of masks for guests to put on. No one can resist a good masquerade party, and what better time than New Year’s Eve?

4. Put pomegranate seeds into champagne glasses for some color.

5. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote my favorite poem about the new year. I love the idea of going to a used bookstore to buy up old copies of his poetry collections, placing a glittery, silver bookmark at the poem, and handing them out to guests as party favors as they’re leaving. The poem, called “Ring Out, Wild Bells,” goes:

Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring happy bells, across the snow
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

6. Buy a bunch of silvery helium balloons and set them free to hang about the ceiling. Instant décor.

7. Dot white Christmas lights around the room, wrapping them around silver-sprayed branches, mirrors, beams, or around any sturdy houseplants you may have. It’s a good way to reuse the holiday decorations you just took down.

8. When all the fun (and hopefully some of your hangover) has died away, and you find yourself with some quiet time the next day, make sure to take a few moments alone to reflect on all the things you’ve learned in the past year, and all the things you’re hoping for in the coming one. The new year is a time to shed the parts of the past that are no longer serving you, and to think about all the things you want to bring into your life in the future. In the end, that’s what the night is all about.

(Shop home and entertaining goods at MYHABIT.)

More Entertaining 101:
*Bachelor pad ideas: What you need to throw a party.
*Going TO a party? Here, some perfect gifts for the host.
*Food blog deliciousness: The perfect little appetizer, courtesy of SpoonForkBacon.

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