How To Host A New Year's Eve Party On A Budget

By Debbie Dragon on 26 December 2008 5 comments
Photo: istockphoto

With the New Year celebration just around the corner from the Christmas shopping season, many people skip hosting a New Year's Eve party due to financial concerns. With just a little planning, you won't have to miss out on the fun - host a great party and stick to a budget with these tips!

Keep The Food Simple

It's tough to have a New Year's Eve bash without food and drinks! Keeping your party expenses on a budget is possible if you remember to keep it simple. You don't have to serve a three course meal to entertain party guests – go for finger foods and appetizers! They're easier to serve, easier to eat while standing around chatting with friends, and far less expensive than trying to feed a big crowd a full meal. If you start your party later in the evening, most guests will have dinner before they arrive, anyway!

Ask everyone on the guest list to bring along their favorite snack or dessert to share. This is becoming extremely commonplace and surely your friends and family will be more than happy to contribute to the party.

Stock The Bar

Most home party goers would not expect you to have a full bar. One way to keep your beverage costs down is to decide on one or two signature drinks, such as Martini's or Daiquiri's, and then provide beer and some non-alcoholic options. Alternatively, you could ask guests to bring their own beverages, or make a fruity punch to share.

How do you know how much you need without overbuying (or running out half-way through the party?) You can expect guests to have two drinks each the first hour and then about one drink every hour they hang out at your party.

  • A Bottle of Wine: 5 servings
  • A Bottle of Champagne: 6 servings
  • One Liter Alcohol: 22 mixed drinks

Create Ambiance

You don't have to hang balloons and paper streamers all over the house to prove you're having a party. Dim the lights, light candles, and consider hanging red Christmas lights around your home to create a party ambiance. Complete the look with a red table cloth and red carnations in a pretty bowl or vase and the mood will be set for an evening of entertainment!

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Myscha Theriault's picture

Great article. I'm totally with you on the paring down of decorations and choosing a signature cocktail or two to keep the bar costs down. The serving data was super helpful too. Thanks again!

Guest's picture

I think we all needed this advice now that many holiday gatherings are still going strong but the money is not. It is important to find ways to keep family and friends together and even if you are working on a budget, it's no reason to not still celebrate the good things in life! Great job, Deb!

Guest's picture

Another way to make the party special is to have activities - perhaps party games - if only charades!

Fortune telling activities are fun, too - On the Millenium we did the Scandinavian ritual of melting little bits of lead in a spoon and then putting it in cold water and reading the shape of it. (My sister brought a kit from Germany - but if you are careful, you could - say, melt little lead fishing weights???)

And if your budget is limited - have a "Champagne Royale" or a champagne reception - and provide the munchies, champagne, some tea or coffee and let anything else be BYOB! So the tequila drinkers get their own & take it home afterwards, too. That's a classy version of the student BYOB, I think...

Guest's picture

Another idea would be to have the party start later in the evening. Since it is a New Years Eve party, it doesn't need to begin much before 9pm. This way you know your guests will have already eaten dinner, so you only need to serve snack-type foods.

Guest's picture

Creating ambiance with lights is a great idea. Instead of red a my color, I like to use black, white, and silver - it adds a little shimmer.

Thanks for the tips!