New Year's Party Planning (as featured on WGN Morning News)

The holiday celebrations are in full swing and the New Year is just around the corner. It’s time to start thinking of some fun and interesting ways to create an unforgettable evening. If you’re entertaining at home, here are a few simple tips on how to “wow” your guests and add chic to your party this New Year’s Eve!

For at-home celebrations, table top centerpieces are a great way to stylize your party. To create a fun and festive New Year’s Eve centerpiece in minutes, simply use glass bowls that you already have at home. Fill will collections of noise makers, party horns and New Year’s Eve tiaras. All of these items are available at party stores and are a great way to create that joyous atmosphere. For a fun and decorative finishing touch, scatter these festive flutes with an array of vibrant colored candles.

Creating the specialty cocktail is one of my favorite party planning activities – and an ideal New Year’s Party starter. “Champagne Icicles” are the perfect celebratory drink. Simply combine Brut Champagne, White Cranberry Juice and a splash of Blue Curacao. For a special touch, serve cocktails on a tray as guests arrive. And don’t forget the mocktail! It’s always a good idea to have a non alcoholic drink for guests to enjoy.

Want a stylish menu of gourmet hors d’oeuvres? Why not consider a selection of the following gourmet specialties, as ingredients are available from your local grocery store:

-Bruschetta pops – skewered cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are easy and enjoyable.

-Soup sips – An absolute winter wonder! Serve holiday soups such as roasted chestnut or butternut squash in shot glasses or Irish Coffee Mugs.

-Shrimp “cocktails” – With cocktail sauce pre-poured, place shrimp bites in a tiny glass or cup. Tasty and healthy!

My professional menu tip is to always have one vegetarian, meat and seafood selection available, so that everyone’s tastes are accounted for!

Serve on a coffee table or buffet table using a collection of glass or silver trays. The secret to making it look professionally catered, is for all trays to coordinate; same color, style, etc!

You’ve heard me say it before but Dessert Bars are a “hot” entertaining trend and a great way to add that finishing touch to a fun filled party. For a festive dessert bar, spice things up a little and provide an array of different candies for guests to serve themselves. You can theme with colors or various types of candies…perfect for that inner child!

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