Clever Hosting Hacks for Your New Year's Eve Party

Pop open a bottle for yourself, you hosting hero.

Pass the Bubbly!

Pass the Bubbly!

Keep the drinks pouring for a great bash that lasts all night long!

Photo by: Daniela Lukomski

Daniela Lukomski

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You're most likely in one of three camps for New Year's Eve if you're reading this post.

1: You're hosting a rockin' NYE party, but you haven't started prepping.

2: You kinda, sorta want to host a small get-together, but you think it's too late. (It's not!)

3: You have zero plans, but you like reading about entertaining tips for fun. (We love you!)

Camps #1 and #2, we're here for you! If you want to host, get your shiz together and send out that e-vite pronto. There's no time for printed invitations unless you're in the spirit of hand-delivering. Time is of the essence! With less than two days until the official 2017 countdown, we've got our best hosting hacks to make sure your soiree goes off without a hitch.

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The Drinks: Make DIY Glass Charms

To avoid having a pile of glasses (and to keep post-party cleanup to a minimum), encourage guests to label their drinks. This also ensures everyone uses just one glass throughout the entire party. Try using wine charms, or personalize glasses by writing guests' names on drink stirrers.

Make This: Free Printable Drink Flags

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

The Drinks: Make Fancy Ice Cubes

You'll need a little lead time (these freeze in about 4 hours) but making dressed-up ice cubes couldn't be easier. Finely chop fruit, herbs or citrus zest, then cover with water and freeze. Add them to a serving pitcher with your drink of choice just before friends arrive.  

The Drinks: Fancy Up Your Water

Sure, most of your friends will sip on a beer, wine or cocktails, but don't forget to have something special for your non-drinking buddies, too. An easy solution: Drop frozen fruit into a pitcher of water to cool it down and add flavor and color. Finish with citrus slices or fresh herbs, if you like. 

The Drinks: Just Add Ice

Storing your drinks in the fridge or in a plastic cooler is fine, but creating an open ice bucket in clear view of guests helps you avoid the inevitable "Where are the drinks? question. A galvanized tub or even a planter works well for an outdoor event. Inside, you can even use one side of your sink to chill drinks within view of partygoers. 

The Drinks: Swap in a Prettier Container

Sometimes box wine or plastic-bottle booze is all your wallet allows. Give low-budget picks a high-end look by transferring them into glass pitchers or decanters. An easy trick? Save clear glass juice or liquor bottles and remove the labels for a chic, no-cost party upgrade.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

The Drinks: Make Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is, in a word, simple. To make this sugar syrup, mix equal parts sugar and water, heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat. While it's hot, add flavoring with herbs, citrus zest, vanilla beans, peppers and more. Transfer it to a jar or bottle and add it to your bar area with a printable label. Guests can easily sweeten their drinks with the pre-dissolved syrup, and you'll look like a total pro. 

Make This: DIY Infused Syrup

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©Buff Strickland

The Drinks: Set Up a Bar Station

Bar carts are adorable and uber-trendy, but we don't all have room for a year-round drink station. Luckily, it's easy to turn a piece of furniture you already have into a one-day bar special. Here's how. 

DIY This: How to Set Up a Bar, the Lazy Way

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

The Food: Grab a Rotisserie Chicken

Chips and salsa are great, but if you're out of time and need to serve something a little more substantial, turn to rotisserie chicken. Grab one from your local market, then shred it up, mix with barbecue sauce and serve on hamburger buns. 

The Food: Try Roasted Nuts

Add bowls of roasted nuts (homemade or store-bought) near the bar and a few other places you'd like guests to gather. 

Make This: Chili-Lime Roasted Cashews

The Food: Spread Out the Buffet

No matter what type of party you're having, one thing is certain: Guests will congregate around the food and drinks. To spread out the party, create a few food stations with different offerings, like the kitchen counter, the coffee table and on the patio. 

Photo By: Cheyenne Mojica Photography

The Desserts: Add a Cupcake Wrapper

Put your own spin on bakery-bought cupcakes with a customized wrapper. To make these, print out our watercolor cupcake wrapper template on basic printer paper, then cut out and secure with clear tape. 

Make This: Watercolor Cupcake Wrappers

Photo By: Liz Gray ©Copyright 2014, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Desserts: Make a Doughnut Tower

What's better than a party with doughnuts? A party with a doughnut cake! Stack them in a tower on a dessert stand or plate for a fun presentation. You can copy this look with store-bought cookies, too. 

  1. donut
  2. doughnut

Photo By: ALX Creatives

The Mood: Put on a Playlist

Every good party needs the right playlist. Curating your own takes time, so we've compiled this list of Pandora stations perfect for every occasion. 

Grab a bluetooth speaker and get it going before the first guest arrives. 

Bookmark This: 10 Perfect Playlists for Your Party

Photo By: ©

The Decor: Add a Kraft Paper Runner

Grab a roll of kraft paper to create a table runner that you can throw away after the party ends. Fold the ends under the table and secure with painter's tape.

The Decor: Try a Painter's Tape Place Card

Use that same roll of painter's tape to create easy place markers for each guest. Cut the ends in a pennant shape, then add guests' names with a chalk marker. 

The Decor: Interactive Party Decor

Take the kraft paper runner one step further by painting it during the party. Paint oversized, abstract flowers on the kraft paper, leaving room for your friends to add their own artwork. (Add a couple of layers underneath to protect your table from paint.)

Leave the water, brushes,and paint on the table. When the guests arrive, tell them to fill in the painting with their own abstract flowers. When it’s time to eat, remove the paint and water and your table will be full of beautifully-painted colorful flowers. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

The Decor: Scarf Turned Table Runner

Take a cue from your closet with this scarf table runner. Grab a pretty, patterned scarf that’s made of a lightweight, silk-like fabric. Lay it down the center of your table so the ends drape off the sides. Scrunch the scarf up in the center to give it some body and movement.

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

The Decor: Washi Tape Wall Message

Use a roll of washi tape to create a party message on the wall. It will peel right off (without leaving residue) when the party ends.

The Decor: Washi Tape Vases

Make even the most simple centerpieces stand out with a little washi tape. Add stripes that coordinate with your party, then swap them out for the next event. 

The Decor: Add a Potted Plant

If you have potted plants spread around your home, now's the chance to highlight them. In lieu of a cut bouquet, display potted herbs, succulents or flowers as a centerpiece. 

The Decor: One Bouquet, Many Arrangements

Instead of one large vase, create multiple small arrangements with one large bouquet. Place them around the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom sink, to create a welcoming vibe. 

DIY a Bar, the Lazy Way

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Bar Today, Gone Tomorrow

Bar carts are adorable and uber-trendy, but we don't all have room for a year-round drink station. Luckily, it's easy to turn a piece of furniture you already have into a one-day bar special. Here's how. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Find the Perfect Spot

I always have this book shelf up in my living room. It’s a nice, big piece that is filled with colorful recipe, art and travel books. No bookshelf in the living area? A nightstand, ottoman or coffee table could work just as well. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Keep It Simple

A minimal bar with the basic mixers and garnishes is all you need for a great party. For a fully-stocked basic bar, you'll need the following spirits: Vodka, rum, tequila, gin, bourbon or whiskey, red wine and white wine.

If your budget is limited, choose one dark spirit, one clear spirit and a couple of varieties of wine. Fill in the rest as your bank account allows. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

All-Purpose Mixer

Keep it easy with one type of juice, like a fruit punch you can make by mixing together equal parts orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice. Make it pretty by serving it in a nice pitcher or a clean liquor bottle with the label removed. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

A Selection of Sodas

Sodas do double-duty as mixers and beverages for the non-drinkers among your crowd. Three kinds of soda is enough variety; here, I chose a lemon-lime fresca, ginger beer, and basic sparkling water. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Basic Cocktail Garnishes

Keep it to the big four: olives, lemons, limes, and cherries. I did the limes in wedges and the lemons in slices for visual variety. Beautiful olives for martinis and juicy cherries finish out the available garnishes. Display the garnishes in matching bowls to create a cohesive look. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Add a Few Personal Touches

Swizzle sticks, straws and cocktail napkins are my favorite way to give your bar cart some personality.

Change them up according what kind of party you're having: A spring brunch might call for pastel straws and blush pink napkins, while a classy evening cocktail party could feature black cocktail napkins and shiny gold garnishes.

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

The Right Tools for the Job

An ice bucket, the prettier the better, and a basic cocktail shaker give guests the tools to mix up a frosty beverage. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Mismatched Barware? No Worries

Don’t worry if you only own mismatched glasses because that will bring a homemade, warm, look to your bar. I like to offer three to four types of glasses: martini, wine, and rocks are the basics. Any other glasses you have will work will too, as long as they fit on the shelf.

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Keep Everything Within Reach

Keep your barware, garnishes and mixers within reach of one another so guests can easily create their own sips.  Be sure to leave a spot on the top of or next to the cart where guests can work on cocktails. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Cheers to Your Next Party!

I'll drink to that. 

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

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