It's never too late to plan a New Year's Eve Party!

New Year’s Eve…for the young at heart and the old!

What better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than as a family, surrounded by kids of all ages. Instead of getting a sitter and dressing up to go to a formal cocktail or dinner party, host a neighborhood New Year’s Eve Pajama Party.

My neighbor Monique threw this last year – and it was one of my favorite parties all year long.

Invitation – it sets the tone, gets everyone onboard for the fun theme ahead, and lets everyone know to dress the part! There isn’t much time to get the word out, so have the kids draw up some artwork and write out the time to be there. You can dress the kids up in their winter finery and hand deliver them door to door. Or, for a faster invitation, just pick up the phone and invite everyone personally.

Timing – get here by 7, back home by 11. It works great for kids (and exhausted adults!) of all ages.

Décor – all white is my favorite – with hints of sparkling silver and gold. White hydrangea look like fresh fallen snow, and gold or silver wire wrapped around the vases add a hint of sparkle to the décor. As always, candles, candles, candles…you can even wrap the silver or gold wire around glass cylinder vases and fill with water, placing floating candles inside. These should always be placed high so they are out of danger to children.

Drink – champagne for the adults of course (I love serving off of a champagne bar – set up various bottles of Prosecco, Champagne, Sofia Coppola minis), and pajama punch (sparkling cider with fruit juice) for the kids makes everyone feel included and sip a special cocktail or mocktail all night long.

I always love a great specialty cocktail – and my new favorite 2008-tini is made with the hot “green” 360  Vodka – the first eco luxury vodka.  Mix it with cherry limeade (at the grocery store in the juice aisle) and a splash of ginger ale for a great holiday martini.  More recipes available at http://www.vodka360.com

Food – Pajamas and pizza go hand in hand…and from gourmet flavors for the adults to kids making their own mini pizzas, there is something to please even the pickiest of palettes. I love Homemade Pizza in Chicago – the pizzas are premade, and all you have to do is pop them in the oven.  And the flavors are divine!  Second, their Pizza Party Kit for kids is chock full of mini size crusts, sauce, and toppings.  My kids think they have won the lottery when I bring this home.  If you don’t have a Homemade Pizza, you can use premade Boboli pizza crusts (I love the whole wheat), or store bought fresh pizza dough. My Dad loves to throw them on the grill instead of in the oven – boy do they taste like heaven.

Dessert – a hot “green” dessert trend is to have the dessert buffet double as a take home favor. All white candies like yogurt covered pretzels, non pareleils, white chocolate covered malt balls, m and ms, jelly bellies and more play to the theme, and are displayed in glass jars tied with white bows. Candy boxes can be labeled with custom labels, or decorated by the kids as an art project during the party.

Ring in the new year – childhood style – by having the ball drop and clock strike at 9 or 10 pm. You can set a countdown timer, ring bells, blow party horns, and blow bubbles to their heart’s content to celebrate 2008. Happy New Year to you and your families… >

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