flutes of Champagne in front of sparkly background

Uber surges, triple digit cover charges, cheap Champagne bars,  and dance floors packed with guys named Trent. Oh and “where the &#@! did Liz just go?!”  I think that we can all agree going anywhere in public on New Year’s Eve is the worst.

The natural alternative is to throw a New Year’s Eve party so swanky and fun, it’ll make this year of infinite disaster, both natural and manmade, seem like it never even happened.

Okay, great! Sounds like a plan. Only one problem: You bought exactly zero Bitcoins and parties, especially cool ones, tend to be expensive. Well we’re here to tell you they don’t have to be and together we’re going to hack our way to a wicked New Year’s Eve party. On a budget.

The Food

Chances are you’ll want your faboosh fête to carry through midnight, so it’s also likely starting late too. Score! You can get away with heavy apps, which you’re going to slay, and do let guests know so they don’t come expecting five courses.

It’s New Year’s, so you’ll want to do something special but that doesn’t mean you have to break yourself. Aim for something fun but fancy and a little unexpected like Crab Guacamole on Endive. Substitute perfectly suitable canned jumbo lump to save on crab costs.

Consider a hearty stuffed mushroom appetizer Chowhound[/caption]

Get our Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms recipe.

Or go with a retro cheese fondue with toasted bread cubes Chowhound[/caption]

Get our Cheese Fondue recipe.

Shrimp cocktail is painfully overpriced in restaurants but surprisingly inexpensive (shhh) and relatively easy to make at home. Take things a bit further with prosciutto wrapped shrimp with smoked paprika Chowhound[/caption]

Get our Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Smoked Paprika recipe.

For something snackable and sweet, whip up a batch of these literally amazing bourbon pecan pie chocolate truffles New York Times Cooking[/caption]

Get the recipe.

Or serve Champagne sorbet floats Chowhound[/caption]

Get our Champagne Sorbet Floats recipe.

The Booze

Give em’ a Punch

A sexy NYE punch is both economical and fun. Do it right, like with this sparkling orange cranberry champagne punch Boulder Locavore[/caption]

Get the recipe.

“Champagne For My Real Friends…”

sparkling Champagne cocktail


So the saying goes. There’s no way around it: You’re going to need Champagne and the good stuff ‘aint cheap, BUT it’s the perfect thing to ask guests to bring. Folks should bring at least as much as they anticipate drinking, so for couples and those who tip ‘em back (looking at you, Aunt Janet), don’t be afraid to suggest they bring a “couple of bottles.”

Stockpile a few yourself, just in case, but do your research. Gruet runs only $13 per bottle and gets consistently high marks from critics. At a slightly higher price point ($32) you can sack a few bottles of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc. Pop and pour ‘em as everyone gathers around for the ball drop, per tradition, whilst someone’s hacks their way though Auld Lang Syne.


I’m not here to lecture you on the importance of good music at a party but believe me when I tell you, nobody wants to hear that Black Eyed Peas song three, or even two times during the evening.

You have good taste, you know you do, so take some time to put together a fun thoughtful and lively mix long enough that there are no repeats. And/or text some attending friends for a few of their favorite song suggestions and incorporate accordingly.

Keep it fun and mix it up. Start things off with something smooth and upbeat like Diana Ross or Janelle Monáe and build towards midnight with more aggressive funk and pop and dance beats. Or just throw on Prince Pandora and call it a year.

Of course, at the end of the day, music is ultimately a matter of taste, so if your crew wants death metal, by god give them death metal!

Decor and More

Sure, you could just raid Party City for silver balloons, confetti, and those cardboard kazoos, and I suggest you do because it’s an inexpensive way to infuse some shimmer, but be creative. Spring for white or clear helium balloons—with a little coordination and varying sizes, you can achieve this trippy balloon bubble strands New Year's Eve decor Magic in the Middle[/caption]

And why just decorate your place when you can decorate your guests, too…

Step 1: Flip through your rolodex and find that one friend you know loves putting on makeup and call them on the sly.

Step 2: Buy something glittery like THIS or THIS.

Step 3: Ask he or she put just a little on everyone, boys and girls, over the course of the evening (those who resist shall be shunned and banned forever).

Step 4: Turn an iPad into a photobooth and capture the glamour of your very first and very fabulous New Year’s Eve party.

Congratulations. You did it. Happy new year. Now go to bed. Your resolution diet starts in two hours…


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