If you’re tired of fighting the crowds to have fun on the biggest party-going night of the year, but also don’t relish the idea of falling asleep in front of the telly before the clock strikes midnight, never fear; there’s still time to whip up a New Year’s celebration for your nearest and dearest!

Here are some quick ideas for planning a fete your friends will never forget.

  • Invite right: Concentrate your invitation efforts on those you’d be most likely to enjoy the holiday with anyway and keep the number of potential guests relatively low. This will stop you from having to prepare a mass of food, drink and favors in such a short time. Send out evites or make phone calls to let everyone know what you’re planning, and, since it’s short notice, be sure to follow up within a day or two.
  • Perfect timing: The later you start your shindig, the better. If you tell guests to arrive at 9 p.m., no one will expect a full meal, and you’ll save yourself the trouble putting one together. An even better idea? Start your bash an hour before midnight for a burst of fun before the New Year kicks in.
  • Get some stealthy assistance: Assembling a playlist shouldn’t take up too much of your time, and, to make sure guests enjoy your New Year’s Eve party sounds, ask them for their current top three favourite songs when they RSVP. Fill the playlist in with your own tune choices and everyone can dance the night away. A mixed CD of the songs played at your party will make a nice parting gift for your guests at the end of the night.
  • Snack attack: Use an array of attractive, easy to prepare, store bought or homemade foods to keep people sated in between bouts of singing and dancing. Be sure to scatter trays of finger foods and napkins around your home to encourage mingling. ‘Vice stations’ filled with the sweets and salty treats people tend to cut back on or give up for New Year’s resolutions give guests a last, guilt free shot at their favourites. If you want something a bit fancier, recipe ideas can be found at BBC Good Food and All Recipes.
  • Imbibe right: Even if you’ve asked guests to BYOB, you should still keep a fully stocked bar, with a variety of beers, tonics, sodas, drink mixers, lemons, limes and the like on hand. You can create your own fancy cocktails during the evening, but be sure to provide champagne for midnight toasts.

There! Fill your house with cheerful decorations and favors for your guests, and you’ll be sure to have a festive New Year’s Eve!