The New Year marks the start of a new beginning, especially for all of the lucky ladies out there who just scored their very own place! I’ve had my to-do list prepared since September: 2012 will mark the start of a tidier, thriftier me and an apartment that sparkles as bright as the New Year’s Eve Ball (I’ll have to get back to you if any of this stuff actually comes to fruition).
But even before we can attempt to diet or go on a Windex spraying spree, we need to get through the dreaded New Year’s Eve bash. I say ‘dreaded’ because, let’s face it – if you’re a recent grad on a ramen noodle-only budget, the festivities can cost a huge hunk of cash you don’t have. And if you’re the first one of your friends to break out on your own (like I am!), you’ll probably end up playing hostess to champagne-happy guests.
So to get a jump start on transforming into the ever-helpful new me, here are ten tips to get you through your New Year’s party with your pretty purse (from Forever21) intact!
- Potluck it! If one of your gal pals is on a smoothie diet, ask her to bring over a basket of fresh strawberries. If your guy friend only eats pizza, have him haul over a pie. Meanwhile, you can whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes and hors d’oeuvres. Voila! Everyone wins and your bank account stays full. Just be super clear: not everyone should show up with a bag of chips and a bottle of soda. C’mon, you guys, this isn’t high school.
- Drinks should stay sweet and simple. Toast the New Year with a glass of cheap champagne. Maybe it doesn’t sound classy, but do you remember ever actually making it past that first sip? Neither do I, and chances are, your guests won’t even remember the toast at all come January 1! Jell-O shots are also a colorful, easy and inexpensive way to keep guests entertained through the night. Check out the recipe here. But if your buds are big drinkers, the potluck rule applies. You have rent to pay!
- An intimate gathering is a must. Remember that time in college when you tried throwing an under-wraps dorm party and everyone on your floor and the floors above and below you showed up? A New Year’s get together isn’t the time to show off your new pad; that’s what Facebook albums are for. Instead, invite your close friends and your crush (hey, a gal needs to have a little fun once in a while!) and have a ball as you watch the ball drop in Times Square. Who knows? You might even snag that New Year’s kiss you’ve been daydreaming of all season.
- Keep decorations to a minimum. Lit candles and dimmed lights will be nearly enough to create a festive, chic setting – and promote some good ole holiday smooching! You can easily create your own confetti by shredding pages of those old gossip mags you have stacked up in the living room. If you can’t throw a party without the traditional noisemakers, dozens of cheap options can be found here.
- Go green! Now’s the time to dust off all the glasses, plates, and cloth napkins the ‘rents gave you. Sure, you’ll have a load of dishes to scrub in the morning, but you’ll save tons of cash and do your part in helping the environment. Don’t you feel the good karma already?
- Your party playlist should rock…hard. The easiest way to perfect it: simply ask your pals which songs will make them dance the night away! Add their suggestions to your mix and watch any tension over tunes melt away.
- Get creative with your favors. Okay, so handing out favors isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it’s a gesture that’ll ensure a memorable party! Here’s an idea: head out to your nearest discount store and pick up a few reusable water bottles and Emergen-C packets. Your friends will thank you in the morning!
- Skip paper. Instead of rushing out for invitations and stamps, create a Facebook event and e-mail blast to let your guests know where to go on New Year’s Eve. Plus, it’ll leave you ample space to lay out party requirements.
- Don’t splurge on a new dress. Pricey frock + cheap champagne = hot mess. ‘Nuff said.
- Have fun! Don’t stress over details you can’t control. And if you don’t get to pucker up at midnight, just remember: there’s always next year and your ladies still think you shine!
Happy New Year’s, everyone! Remember to drink responsibly and always keep the number to a taxi on speed dial.