If any of you have ever been to one of our parties or done anything with me, you know I'm a planner. I'm okay going to a party that is just people hanging out but I like to be creative and throw in a couple of small things to make the party more memorable. So when we decided to throw this party I started searching the internet for New Year's Eve party ideas for adults. And there were a couple of things out there but most of them were types of drinking games or other things I didn't think were appropriate for our group. So using things I've seen on Pinterest as inspiration, I planned the party on my own. And hopefully the next person that Googles New Year's Eve Party games for adults can get ideas from our party.
DecorationsI tried to keep the decorations simple but unexpected. The noisemakers were really cheap at the party store and the stars were leftover from our Black and White Party last year. I saw this balloon chandelier on Pinterest a while back and knew I was going to try it at our next party. It was so simple to make (put pennies or marbles in the balloons to weight them down) and it was a hit.
Fun & GamesAnother idea I saw on Pinterest was a mom that made countdown bags for her kids to help them stay awake until midnight. Her bags were full of cheap treats and goodies. I thought the idea was fun and came up with the idea of doing countdown boxes with games and prizes for each hour of our party. We didn't actually end up opening the boxes right at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 but it was somewhere in that hour that seemed like a good stopping point for the group.
Each box was based on a theme and contained three different things - the theme, a game/activity, and a prize. The 9:00 box was all about the past year with the theme "We Were There." The game was 2011 events and pop culture trivia and the prize was movie tickets. It was pretty entertaining to see how frustrated people got when they couldn't remember things like who won the Super Bowl. I was pretty impressed, out of 31 total points possible the winner got 21 correctly. Email me if you want to see the trivia questions I came up with.
The 10:00 box theme was New Year's Resolutions and looking forward to 2012. The game was to match celebrities to their 2012 New Year's resolutions. Luckily enough there were a number of articles with resolutions for the stars. This one was pretty fun because it was really just everyone guessing to see if they could come up with the right answers AND some of the stars' resolutions were hilarious. My favorite was Rob Kardashian's resolution to launch his new dress-sock line successfully in 2012. What was even better was that the winner of this game got 8 out of 11 resolutions correct by sheer guessing. He won a $12 Panera gift card for his efforts.
The final 11:00 box's theme was celebrate. It was filled with noisemakers and toys for celebrating the new year. There wasn't really a game associated with the theme other than one of the noisemakers had a lucky sticker on it (I didn't tell anyone while they were choosing). The person who picked the lucky noisemaker won a $12 Target gift card because who doesn't love Target. The best noisemaker of the night, however, was the conch shell brought by our friend Ryan.
And finally for the midnight celebration we broke out the sparkling juice - red grape, white grape, and apple cider - with fake plastic champagne cups. Because plastic champagne cups makes drinking sparkling juice way more fun.
The FoodAgain, we tried to keep the food as simple as possible. We made most of the savory dishes and our co-hosts brought some beautiful looking desserts. Most of our savory dishes were better hot so we prepped three batches of each and just kept throwing things in the oven for a few minutes when they started to run low. It worked beautifully and I don't think anyone was ever hungry. For the first time I ever I also copied all of the cute parties I've seen out there and made fun labels for the food. It was easy and amazing how much cuter it made the whole setup. Oh and of course we had to have drinks - citrus water, lemonade, and diet coke.
We also had this really good cowboy chip dip, buffalo chicken dip (so easy), and everyone else brought either a sweet or salty snack to share. So yes, we had plenty of food. Email me for any of the recipes.
Party FavorsOne of the first things I decided when starting to plan the party was that I really wanted to send people home with something. We ended up sending everyone home with plates of food so we didn't have to keep it all, but I wanted to send them home with something else. When I searched the internet the only ideas I could find were breakfast and hangover remedies, neither of which really seemed appropriate. So I decided to make a CD, not of the top Billboard songs from 2011 that most people have heard on the radio a million times this year, but of our favorites songs from 2011. It definitely included some of the biggest hits (Rolling in the Deep, Party Rock Anthem, Last Friday Night), but it also included some of our favorites that people probably have never heard (Bulletproof Weeks by Matt Nathanson, Eyes Like Static by Rocky Votolato). And I know people don't really CDs anymore but I figure they can put it on their computer on iTunes and listen to it however they listen to music. And they were a simple way to say happy new year as people were leaving. Email me if you want the full 20 song list.
And that's it. The party was completely planned, shopped for, setup, thrown, and cleaned up in less than 48 hours. Everything was fairly simple, and that's how I think parties should be, but it all came together really well and everyone had a blast (I hope).