New Year's Decorating Shortcuts

Having a party at home this year? Get our best New Year’s Eve-style decoration ideas, party favors and more.
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Having a party at home this year? Get our best New Year’s Eve-style decoration ideas, party favors and more.

ROLL CALL

Start dinner with a bang this New Year's: Place silverware along a napkin edge, roll up and tie with ribbons on either side like a firecracker.

roll call

See more napkin folding ideas

MAKE SOME NOISE

Rattle in the New Year by dropping a few pink peppercorns, popcorn kernels or jelly beans into clear plastic ornaments.

make some noise

See more ideas for Decorating with Ornaments

PACK THE ULTIMATE PARTY BAG

Carry a stash of inexpensive costume jewelry in case you need to dress up an outfit at the last minute.

party bag

Check out more of Gretta's musts for a night out

EYE CANDY

Winter wonderland, you say? We never need an excuse to eat candy, which is probably why we loved those potted lollipops from Dylan Lauren (of Dylan's Candy Bar). For a wintry version, just fill a small pot or planter with white gumdrops (or yogurt-covered candies) and “plant” some rock candy sticks. Your New Year's guests will love snacking on the candy all night.

eye candy

Dylan Lauren's potted lollipops

See more Holiday Centerpieces

WORK THE ROOM

When you're looking to impress, don't try too hard. Casual confidence always works: Have good posture, speak with conviction and make eye contact.

work the room

Get more tips for working the room at a party

BRIGHT IDEA

For quick New Year's decoration, spray-paint the leaves of pineapple tops silver and place a tea light in the center.

low budget new year

See more low-budget decorations

MIX CD

Write the New Year's Eve party details on a blank CD with a fine-point permanent marker. Ask guests to fill the CD with their favorite songs, then send out the disks in CD mailers. You'll end up with a whole night's worth of groovy tunes!

dinner party cd

See more invitation ideas

THE LONG VIEW

For a festive New Year's night, hang strings of lights from the ceiling about a foot apart along a blank wall, using extension cords to plug each into an outlet. Hang semi-sheer fabric in front (not touching the lights) to create a light wall.

the long view

See more lighting ideas

POUR A GREAT DRINK

Add garnishes before you mix or shake your cocktail; it'll add more flavor. Also, use small ice cubes or crushed ice to chill your drink faster.

pour a great drink

See more cocktail tips

See all our cocktail recipes

PREP FOR A PARTY

Use what you have: Make your own centerpiece with items from around the house. Simply line a table with votive candles in sets of three or five, or fill a serving bowl with lemons and limes, mixed nuts, garlic bulbs or colorful pears.

See more tips for prepping a party

SMART COOKIES

Give your guests a fortune for the new year as a party favor. Steam open fortune cookies and add your own clever messages. First, write or type your messages and cut into small strips. Place the cookies in a vegetable steamer over simmering water (don't let water into the steamer basket!) for about 30 to 45 seconds, until they are soft enough to open. Working quickly, replace the fortune with your own, fold the cookie back into the original shape and let reharden.

smart cookies

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BLOOM SERVICE

For a festive centerpiece, place a pot of white poinsettias in a glass vase and surround with kosher salt. Photo: Kang Kim

See more low-budget New Year's decorations

GET READY TO PARTY!

Dress for success: Choose an outfit with as few pieces as possible -- a dress for ladies; dress pants and a shirt for men. You won't have to stress about mixing layers.

get ready to party

See more party tips from Gretta

STOCK THE ULTIMATE BAR

The essential liquors for your New Year's Eve bash: Commercial bars usually have nine alcohol choices -- we like a cocktail, but come on! We've narrowed it down to the top four, vodka, gin, rum + whiskey. Optional: tequila + vermouth.

Get more tips for stocking at at-home bar

Don't forget about bar tools + hardware

SILVER BELLES

Let your guests snack 'til midnight and set out small bowls filled with silver Jordan almonds, M&M's and Hershey's Kisses.

low budget new year 3

See more low-budget New Year's decorations