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What to Bring to a New Year’s Eve Party

I love Christmas: dressing up, stacks of presents, seeing family, a delicious dinner, and a few bottles of wine. But as exciting as the Christmas season is, I always look forward to New Year’s Eve. It’s a night to spend time with friends and significant others, reminiscing and making wishes for the New Year. Since high school, my friends and I have been gathering at my best friend’s house and recently at her apartment, to ring in the New Year.

The best New Year’s Eve party is a hodgepodge of food, alcohol, and games. If you won’t be heading downtown to watch the ball drop or hitting up a bar or swanky club, here’s my list of things you can bring to a New Year’s Eve party to make it extra fun!

1.  Alcohol

Everyone is different, but we always did BYOB or you could ask whoever was doing the booze run for a bottle of something and pay them at the party. If you aren’t hosting the NYE party, be a courteous guest and bring something you’re willing to share or swap. Don’t forget the mixers if you’re bringing something like vodka or rum.

2.  Appetizers

I love appetizers more than anything! If you can’t cook, fear not, everyone loves chips and salsa with queso. My go-to is Buffalo Wing Dip (the recipe is on the back of Frank’s hot sauce bottles, but I recommend using ranch instead of blue cheese dressing). A classy option is something like bruschetta, which is still super easy as long as you can chop tomatoes. If you’re good at baking, trying making baked brie, check out this recipe. You could also bring a bag of Totino’s frozen pizza rolls (the original flavor, obviously) and you’d be surprised how big a hit these are after midnight!

3.  Games

You should never be too cool to play games. Bringing a deck or two of cards will give you numerous options. I’m a personal fan of King’s Cup (Ring of Fire, whatever you and your friends call it), A**hole (President), Ride the Bus, Up and Down the River, etc. Last year my friends and I spent several hours playing Cards Against Humanity and we used to love playing Apples to Apples. If you have a smaller group and like a competitive intellectual game Settlers of Catan is a blast but you’re definitely going to need an expansion pack. Pick something you enjoy and bring it along, you may not use it, but it’s a great option. You can always play stuff like Never Have I Ever which only requires you and your friends!

4.  Killer Playlist

Every great party has great music. If your iPod or iPhone is usually the one getting plugged in for music, plan ahead and make a great playlist. If you’re with your high school friends, be sure to include your high school favorites. They will bring back great memories and probably a few colorful remember whens. Don’t forget the classic Sing-Alongs like Sweet Caroline, Don’t Stop Believing and All I Want for Christmas is You (you can still sing this on New Year’s Eve).

5.  Dessert

If you’re more of a baker than a chef, why not bring a baked good? I have a major sweet tooth, which means I love brownies and cookies, but I always tried to do something more unique for NYE. Peanut butter balls (also called Buckeyes) are delicious and not too hard to make as long as you’re patient. Cupcakes are also super easy and if you put a little extra effort into decorating them you’re sure to receive lots of compliments. If you want to get fancy you could try infusing the icing or the cake with booze for a surprising twist. I’m not a terribly creative baker, but feel free to try out things like cake pops, cheesecake bites, or mousse in plastic champagne flutes.

You obviously don’t have to bring all of these things, but why not ask whoever’s hosting if you could help with any of these things. Even if they insist they’ll have alcohol, it’s always a nice surprise to bring the host or hostess a decent bottle of wine or a six-pack. Sometimes even just offering to show up early to help with setup can make a huge difference. If you’re hosting, don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring some of these items, just make sure you delegate the most important items to your most responsible friends.

Have a great New Year’s Eve and don’t forget to be safe. Take care of the people you’re with and remember no drinking in driving: arrange for a DD in advance, take a cab or Uber, or plan on crashing wherever you’re celebrating. One last thing, don’t forget to make a New Year’s wish, you never know what 2015 will bring and there’s no harm in asking for a great year! 


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Images: 1, 2, 3&7 courtesy of the author, 4, 5, 6

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Maria Fahs

Notre Dame

Maria is finishing her Masters in English at Notre Dame. She has read many good books and several bad books, but she usually tries not to finish those. Her current favorites are: 1984, The Book Thief, The Tragedy Paper, Code Name Verity, Dr. Copernicus, I Am the Messenger, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. She is writing her second thesis on Harry Potter, exploring notions of authorship and reader agency in the digital age. She even managed to write her Capstone on British Children's Literature and designed her own Directed Readings Course on Notre Dame history during undergrad. Her favorite way to read is with a mug of tea and scented candles. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she can be found binging on the BBC (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin [RIP]). Her favorite color is purple, she studied abroad in London, and she enjoys being an amateur painter. She harbors a not-so-secret dream of one day writing a children's book, but until then, she is likely to be found reading them and writing letters whenever she gets a chance. She hopes to teach English or work in a university sharing her love of education.
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