Entertaining

The Art of NYE Parties, According to Our Resident Entertaining Queen

More champagne will solve all manner of hosting dilemmas

Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style FilesEasy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files
There are a few ways to handle New Year’s Eve. You could brave the crowds and expensive rideshares for a night out on the town, or boycott the whole thing and go to bed before midnight. While we’re very much against overpriced transportation, we also never say no to a party. That’s why we firmly believe hosting your own shindig is the way to go.

Trust us, playing host isn’t nearly as intimidating as trying to hail a cab on the big night. Or rather, trust our resident entertaining expert, April Head. By day she’s CB2’s Senior Merchandising Manager, but by night she’s legendary for her parties and get-togethers. We turned to April for easy NYE party ideas that still feel fun and fancy. Perfect for ringing in the new year — or the new season, new week, etc. Like we said, we’re not ones to turn down a reason to party.

VINTAGE REVIVALS

Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files

Rallying around a theme helps keep everything cohesive, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy hyper-specific, one-and-done decorations. Let your style preferences guide the way. For NYE (or any time, tbh), April loves a bit of a throwback. She follows @70sdinnerparty religiously on Instagram and doesn’t shy away from trying a vintage recipe — even ones that involve a jello mold.

“It’s like the old movies with the dessert carts and Grace Kelly and cherries jubilee. That’s the world I want to live in.”

“My house has a very old-world feel to it with touches of modern, so I like vintage things. I have all of these cool cookbooks from Better Homes and Gardens from the ‘60s that are so fun. It’s like the old movies with the dessert carts and Grace Kelly and cherries jubilee. That’s the world I want to live in,” April explains. “But the way that you bring it into the 21st century is to put these vintage drinks and dishes in these really cool vessels.”

For example, April modernized an incredibly ’70s jello mold recipe by using it for jello shots. The blend of old and new seems v. appropriate for New Year’s Eve, no?

SET THE MOOD

Our resident entertaining queen shares her easy NYE party ideas

So now that you’ve decided on a festive NYE vibe, how do you bring it to life? “You have to consider everything,” April says. “[For example,] dark marble feels very sexy. It creates a backdrop for the ‘show’ of food.”

Swing by your local florist before the big event, too. April loves Putnam & Putnam in New York City and Cornell Florist in Chicago. You can always go the DIY floral route, too: “I usually just go to the market and see what looks good. You don’t need to have a color theme. The easiest way to make a good floral arrangement is to buy masses of the same thing and put it all together. It looks so strong.”

Our resident entertaining queen shares her easy NYE party ideas

SERVING LOOKS

Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files

One of our favorite party tricks is to skip cooking altogether. “Go to your high-end grocery store and pick and choose through the deli counter, the salad bar, pre-made desserts. And then it’s really about the vessels,” April says. “Find unique vessels for things. It doesn’t have to be a serving platter.”

Some of our favorite ideas include using a spoon rest for caviar, filling a clear vase with chips or crackers and serving individual shrimp cocktails in cordial glasses. Presentation, as they say, is key.

Bonus points for keeping the food on-theme, too. If you’re going vintage, April loves the idea of pulling out a true throwback dessert like Baked Alaska: “That would be really fun. I wouldn’t make it, but I would light it on fire.”

Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files
Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files
Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files
Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BITTERS, BABY

If you’re having a lot of people over, you’re going to want to keep the drinks flowing without blowing your whole party budget on the bar cart. In addition to the aforementioned jello mold of jello shots, champagne is always a safe bet. “If you don’t want to buy a bunch of Veuve, go for a more reasonable Cava,” April advises. “You can doctor it up with bitters. I like to use lavender bitters because they bring a bit of softness. It’s the easiest way to upgrade [your drinks].”

Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files
Easy NYE Party Ideas - CB2 Style Files

“If all else fails, if you drop something on the floor, if you break something, just pour more champagne.”

Champagne can be the saving grace of the whole party, really. “If all else fails, if you drop something on the floor, if you break something, just pour more champagne. That will get you through the worst,” April says. We’ll cheers to that.

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