Following closely on the coattails of autumnal and winter holidays, the celebration of the new year can often be overlooked due to an understandable desire to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season. But, a holiday that celebrates past memories and the opportunity for both new experiences and a fresh start shouldn’t lack any of the glitz of its celebratory predecessors. Round out the final days of the year reminiscing on or saying goodbye to the experiences—good and bad—of the previous 12 months with a simple end-of-the-year gathering that isn’t lacking any of the glamour.
1. The Drinks
Champagne has long been a traditional drink to toast to the new year. Keep it simple but step up your game with your own DIY Champagne cocktail bar. Consider stocking your bar full of custom Champagne or bubbly choices, festive mixers like cranberry juice or rosemary simple syrup and unique garnishes like fresh fruit and herbs or decorative ice cubes with edible flowers.
2. The Decor
There’s no need to go out and buy a ton of additional decor when you just decked the halls (quite literally) with holiday ornamentation. Make those decorations work as hard as you did by repurposing all the greenery, pine cones and wood place settings you just couldn’t say no to. Throw in some neutral napkins, some natural twine and some dried orange peels for a woodsy (and fragrant) twist.
3. The Snacks
Keep your guests happy with the perfect cheese plate. Consider how many people you’ll be serving, whether you’ll be serving before or after dinner and what cheeses you’ll want to include. According to WineFolly.com, sparkling wines pair best with creamy, sticky cheeses due to the high acidity and carbonation.
What You Need
Cheese board or serving plate
Assortment of cheeses (we recommend Brie, Port Salut, Muenster, Camembert or Gruyere)
Putting it Together
Cheese is best served at room temperature, so be sure your cheese has time to rest prior to serving. Slice the cheeses and arrange artfully on your cheese board with labels for each. Consider providing separate serving knives for each cheese to avoid any mixing of flavors. Add any additional bites you’d like and enjoy!
4. The Traditions
No matter where you are in the world when the clock strikes midnight, ring in the new year internationally by taking part in one of these worldly traditions.
+ SPAIN Spend Nochevieja (“old night”) at home watching the countdown on TV—you can party later! Are you in need of some luck for the upcoming year? Wearing red underwear for the night may give you some.
+ MEXICO Be sure to have lots of grapes on hand. Demonstrated by Spaniards as well, this tradition involves eating 12 grapes with every strike of the clock, symbolizing good luck for every month of the new year.
+ DENMARK Destroy your frustrations and start the year fresh by smashing unwanted glassware. Danish tradition calls for smashing plates on the doors of friends and loved ones around midnight, but we think you should probably save that part for when you’re actually in Denmark.
+ SCOTLAND Although its singing has become pretty standard worldwide, “Auld Lang Syne” originated in Scotland in 1788 as a poem by Robert Burns. Go ahead and make a cheat sheet for all your friends—we won’t judge.