Our mental images of New Year’s Eve parties are generally of men and women in fancy dress, dancing to band music and sipping champagne. Everyone seems to be having fun as the confetti flies and as the new year begins.
But if your idea of a great evening is more casual and cozy, plan a New Years pajama party for your family, neighbors, friends, or adult friends. You can go the intergenerational route, or you can have an all-children or all-adult party. You could also have an all-girls or all-guys party.
Once you have decided who to invite, consider a theme if you want to include that in your invitations. You may ask everyone to come in particular color pajamas or to bring New Year’s or sparkly decorations to accessorize their pajamas. You might ask them to come in costume pajamas –funny ones, superhero ones or TV/movie/book characters.
Regardless of your theme, you need to ask everyone to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and air mattress, if desired.
If you are having an all-girl event, you may want everyone to wear pink and to bring beauty items for spa activities. For an all-guy party, guests might be asked to wear their favorite sports jerseys and be prepared for guy-games like pool, foosball, darts, and video games.
Once you’ve planned your theme, you can decide how to decorate. You may want to leave up your Christmas decorations, or put up some silver and gold glitzy sparkle. You may want to bring out (or borrow) lots of floor pillows, or if kids are coming, set up some blanket tents. Leave some floor space for dancing.
Plan an evening menu that is appropriate to your theme. If you are going with a girly spa theme, have foods like fruits, cheeses, and light sweets and fruity drinks. If it’s a guy party, go with tailgate-type food–pizza, chili, chips, and beer. Popcorn and party mixes are great treats to nibble on throughout the evening if you are playing games or watching movies. Champagne and sparkling apple cider or grape juices and ginger ale are all options for a midnight toast.
Activities to keep your guests interested all evening should be varied–some quiet, some physical, some requiring skill, some requiring thinking. You cam begin with traditional ice-breakers and getting-to-know-you games and then move to some physical games like Twister, relays or dancing. You can also play group games like Guesstures, Charades, or so many more. Contests are always fun–for example, best pajamas for theme, best dancer, best New Year’s headdresses or the best in other crazy categories.
You may also create some special New Year’s Eve countdown activities that you and your guests stop to do on the designated hour. For example, your guests may stop at 10 pm to taste some good-luck-for-the-new-year foods like hopping john or 12 grapes from Spain or fortune cookies. At another hour, you might stop to make simple noisemakers to use at midnight to scare away the evil spirits as people in the olden days used to believe.
At midnight, you might want to watch the ball drop in Times Square and dance along with the party on television, use noisemakers and fireworks (only if lawful in your area and if adults are handling them), share a toast and a special dessert, and have guests share their hopes and wishes for the upcoming year.
After the midnight madness, you may want to designate different areas of your party space for those who are ready to go to sleep and those who want to keep playing. In the morning you could have a simple breakfast bar of juices, yogurt, cereal and pastries for your guests before they head out for home and begin their new year!