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Whether you look forward to New Year’s Eve all year, or get a little bah humbug, we’ve got the best ideas for food, drinks, entertainment and becoming the hostess with the mostess!

 

Plan ahead

Going out? Think about how you’re going to get home. Taxis might be scarce, so consider public transport.

Staying in? Put your guests’ needs first: offer to let them stay the night or make sure they get home safely. Ply the designated driver with delicious mocktails and canapés so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.

Food

Forget dining out on New Year’s Eve – the markup on menus can be frightening, and you’re often forced to shell out on a prix fixe menu that is boring at best. Rock hard creme brûlée and overpriced bubbly are not the way to see in the new year!

If you’re planning a house party, serve easy finger food, such as:

* Mini quiches filled with smoked salmon and garnished with chives (fill with sautéed mushroom and zucchini for a vegetarian alternative)

* Figs wrapped in prosciutto

* Skewers of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil

* Baked rounds of brie (top the cheese with herbs such as thyme and rosemary before baking), served with crusty baguette

* Strawberries and cream pavlovas: top baby pavlovas with vanilla whipped cream and diced strawberry

* A beautiful platter of exotic fruit

* And always have bowls of chips and nuts to keep the crowds happy and full

Drinks

Want an insider secret on how you can become the hostess with the mosses? Always greet the door with a cocktail in hand. It instantly puts your guests in a good mood!

Stack the ice bucket with beer (including light beer for those driving home) and bubbly, and create a signature cocktail that you can mix together in a few pitchers and serve without fuss. Our favourite crowd-pleasing cocktails? Mojitos bursting with lime and mint, bubbly with pureed peaches, vodka with pineapple juice and berries, or try this delicious Chambord lemonade.

Entertainment

Have your playlist ready and hit play well before guests arrive – you want to be in the party spirit by then! A mix of new and old school hits is best – YouTube is a fantastic resource for playlists, and if your big screen TV is hooked up to the internet, music clips make great background entertainment (just don’t have the TV on, until it’s time to watch the fireworks).

Make sure the house is clean, and make common areas comfortable and atmospheric. Place candles around the home (too many candles are better than too few), make sure the bathroom has a clean hand towel, and have plates and glasses accessible in the kitchen so guests aren’t rummaging through your drawers all night. Disposable plates, glasses and cutlery save you lots of hassle with cleaning up the next day.

Other ideas:

Not keen on staying in? How about:

* A picnic near a scenic spot

* Doing a pub crawl near your home

* Bah humbug? Forget New Year’s and have a classic movie night in (pillows on the floor and popcorn, just don’t forget the Champagne).

What are you planning for New Year’s Eve?