Christmas shopping, wrapping and anticipating the Big Day are well underway. Take a second, though, to think about plans for your New Year's Eve party. It's just around the corner.
Pottery Barn party planners say to start "thinking party" three weeks out, so here we go.
Pick a party theme
Local "Gala Guru" Donna Vessey says the most popular parties are themed. For New Year's Eve, that often means the Chinese Zodiac. The departing 2013 was the time of the black water snake, but 2014 is less slithery. Think horse, one of the favorite "Year of" animals. Specifically, it's the year of the Wood Horse or Green Horse, a symbol of spring and new growth.
Put together your guest list. Make it manageable for you, keeping in mind that some invitees will already be committed to other events. Pottery Barn planners suggest that you ask guests to include their favorite New Year's toasts when they RSVP. Later you can type up the toasts and attach to champagne flutes for when the clock strikes 12.
Nail down the other details. What type of dinnerware and tableware do you want to use? And is it glassware (creative wine charms can personalize wine glasses) or Red Solo cups (and Sharpies to mark one your own)? And what about party favors, hats and horns? Also, what kind of menu and what to drink? If guests will be carrying filled buffet plates, how about plates with wine holders? Grab your list and it's time to start shopping.
Other things for consideration: Is there a way for guests to hang up their coats rather than scrounge through a stack on a bed? Where will your guests park? Will they need tiny LED flashlights to find their cars when they leave?
If you're looking for more than cocktail-party chatter and an around-the-TV "Auld Lang Syne" celebration at midnight, the Gala Guru suggests a casino night with funny money or a karaoke night with a large screen for the guests and small screen for wannabe singers to read lyrics. Don't forget to leave room to move and groove to Ellen DeGeneres' just-released "I'm Going to Make You Dance Jams" CD. Other options: magic for grownups or a Wii competition.
"It's all about ringing in the new year with fun!" says Vessey.
Evite.com agrees with Vessey, recommending organized activities in which people can meet each other, relieving the hosts of the remembering-to-introduce-everyone duties.
Since many people will be starting to follow their New Year's resolutions the very next day, Evite suggests a night of indulging in "all the favorite gutbombs" and treats that make people go "Ohhhhh" as they forget calories for a few hours. Put out bowls of yummy munchies all around the party.
Share a local tradition with your guests if you have a clear view of Pikes Peak's summit from your location. At the stroke of 12 a.m. (barring an uncooperative Mother Nature), the Pikes Peak AdAmAn Club will set off fireworks that can be seen for hundreds of miles.
Hardy AdAmAn climbers, who trek to the 14,110 summit the day before, have been doing this since 1922.
Have a special New Year's Eve pin or tag for DDs to wear so other guests won't keep bugging them to have a drink. And how about some sparkling cider or sparkling grape soda for their midnight celebration?
There's a local Designated Driver of Colorado Springs nonprofit but it's sponsored by local bars and restaurants. However, you might have guests with the group's Gift of Life sponsorships who can be driven home from your party. For information: noduicosprings.com.