How do I anti-lame my New Year's party?
December 28, 2003 9:03 PM   Subscribe

How do I anti-lame my New Year's party? [more inside]

I'm not a party person by nature and have hosted a handful of parties in my 23 years. The invites will consist of mostly online people I've only met a few times or not at all. I'm terrified of throwing the lamest party of the century. There will be a wide variety of ages, but I have a feeling the party will mostly consist of 20somethings. Any suggestions on how to be a fabulous hostess? There will be copious amounts of alcohol and snacks, but beyond that, I'm clueless.
posted by Zosia Blue to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get drunk early. Relax. Profit.

Worked for me 3 years in a row.
posted by signal at 9:12 PM on December 28, 2003

I think the term entertaining is bad- parties are thrown so others can enjoy your presence. Make sure you are there, relaxed, and participating. That said..
Really good snacks usually make parties good- ixnay on the cheese doodles and try some kitsch fifties cocktail nibblets like homemade cheesepuffs and bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (baked in bbq sauce- okay, not really fifties, but yummie). Complex isn't necessary in a lot of cases. Triscuits topped with egg salad is something I serve at my Dean Martin-esqu soirees, and they fly off the table.
Most of the best parties I have ever been to involved a subtle theme like tikki or fifties, but not so forced that people felt like they were at Johnny Rockets. Select mood, and go with it. Just one or two changes can be effective. Different glasses or foods, liquor selections or music may be just enough without being overbearing.
Also, I feel that nervous hostesses or host who are forever running about trying to make sure that everyone is happy make parties more anxious. Set up the food/beverages in ways where they are easily accessible, and where you don't have to check on them all the time (I went to a party where the host thought it would be better to have several small tables of food scattered about. He ended up running around all night, making sure they were all filled, thus missing his own party).
Someone helping you to do the necessary food-filling and drink stocking is a good idea, too.
Good luck, and have fun!
posted by oflinkey at 9:19 PM on December 28, 2003

Zosia - Funny, small web world. Make sure you invite people from Uber. ;)

Umm... let's see. Three things I know of that make every party a success:
* A variety of beverages and food, always available. Make sure there's always nibbles, as food is a good conversation/icebreaker. Cheese plates rock.
* Make sure there's several places for people to gather... several centers of conversation that aren't within hearing range of one another. Separate rooms are really good. If one room can be quieter (maybe with an Xbox or playstation?) and one room can be the center of conversation with people gathered around the table, or the couch, or whatever... that's usually a good idea.
* Relax. Don't try to prepare events ... just leave things open. People will generally have a good time if they like, or especially, if they don't yet know each other. Once people start to show up, it's out of your hands.
posted by SpecialK at 9:22 PM on December 28, 2003

Ooh, oflinkey's got the right idea... Put the food in one place and people *have* to get up to get some if they want it, which can force them to mingle more.

One of my friends, the daughter of a politican and the best party-thrower I know of, keeps all the food on the kitchen counter (she's got an open kitchen that faces out into the apartment, and a bar-like counter on the outside) and then just stays in the kitchen and drinks and occasionally restocks the food. Emphasis on drinks. People come over to talk to her and hang out near the food, and other people wander around the rest of her apartment.
posted by SpecialK at 9:26 PM on December 28, 2003

dont worry , even if it is lame , it wont be as lame as the one i'm going to , where they play the bay city rollers every year,the highlight of the evening is a raffle and everybody resents each other.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:55 PM on December 28, 2003

Large fireworks are good. Especially in densely-populated urban areas.
posted by mrbula at 10:20 PM on December 28, 2003

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips so far. The food in the kitchen thing is a good idea, as is the early drinking. I will have three other roommates helping me out, and we have a spaced-out house with a nice rec room, so hopefully I won't be too flipped out.

Mrbula reminded me - if you're in the Minneapolis area, and a respectable upstanding citizen, e-mail me for details because you're certainly invited. The party, with the intended coming so far, looks to turn into an oversexed college party or the exact opposite. So take heed.
posted by Zosia Blue at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2003

I'd say that good music can make a party and bad music can break it. Problem is that people generally have differing taste. I'd recommend inviting your friends to bring some CDs that they like, and making it obvious to several people that the music playing isn't fixed and letting your crowd decide. Of course if you can have a person dedicated to DJing that's cool, but unlikely.
posted by woil at 11:19 PM on December 28, 2003

Response by poster: There will be a mixture of live music as I live with a band and constant DJing throughout the night as I also live with three former music majors and that tends to go with the territory. But asking people to bring music is a great idea - I'll mention that, thanks.
posted by Zosia Blue at 11:23 PM on December 28, 2003

1) Turn down the lights, or, at the very least, turn off all those bright overhead lights. Light with a combination of table-lamps (low wattage bulbs only) and candles, and go buy a night-light to put in the bathroom so guests can see even if they can't find the light switch.

2) I'd try to ixnay on the live band, at least until 75% or more of your guests have arrived. All parties have a natural life-cycle, and nothing will kill a party dead faster than walking into a house full of people who don't know each other and crashing into a wall of sound. If that isn't possible, at least try to make sure there are warm, inviting, comfortable spaces where small groups of people can sit and talk without having to shout over the band. Or get the band to play at super-low volume. A good party (even a good oversexed college party) should shoot for an atmosphere closer to sexy jazz club or cocktail lounge rather than a disco/rock concert).

3) Buy some stupid party hats and other typical New Years Eve Party favors, and then just leave them around. Arrange them as decorations, even. You'll find that people are far more likely to use/wear them if they just pick them up off a table/shelf than if someone passes them out.

4) Act as a host should act. Make sure somebody is walking around the party, checking for empty dishes, finding wall-flowers, making sure there is still toilet paper, picking up empty glasses, etc. Try to have someone meet guests at the door to say "welcome, the food's in there"....

5) Put the trash somewhere its easy for everyone to get to and obvious what its for.

6) Have fun!
posted by anastasiav at 11:40 PM on December 28, 2003

Even with music, put something on the television. It gives shy people somewhere to put their eyes early on, and might help kick-start a conversation or two. If there's plenty of drink try to display as much of it as possible, and present it in such a way as to make it inviting. If there's wine, open a couple of bottles in advance and, if possible, make it look like people have had some already: have a glass or two yourself with your room-mates and don't worry about hiding the empty glasses. Try to relax and have a good time from the outset, so people think they're in for a fun time from the moment they arrive.
posted by nthdegx at 12:46 AM on December 29, 2003

Two words: COSTUME PARTY. With prizes.

posted by davidmsc at 6:21 AM on December 29, 2003

If you're going to have a TV on in a room, be sure and have a place where it isn't on for those people like me who are practically allergic to the things. :) Sounds like it'll be a great party, too bad I'll be in Seattle. Happy new year.
posted by woil at 11:35 PM on December 29, 2003

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