Ring in the New Year with your loved ones by your side. If you don't want to take part in what's often referred to as "amateur night" at the bars, plan to host a party at your own home. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are the epitome of "out with the old, in with the new," so get ready to start fresh with a party at home.
Begin your New Year's party planning by deciding which day -- December 31 or January 1 -- you want to hold your party, or if your party will be a sleepover and carry over from the night before. This will also help you determine how many guests you can invite -- if you have people spend the night, you won't want as many guests as if you were just hosting an evening party or a brunch on New Year's Day.
Food and Drink
Plan your New Year's party menu. On New Year's Eve, plan to have wine, Champagne, beer and other liquor for the adults and sparkling cider, soda and water for kids and anyone who doesn't wish to imbibe. Provide chips, dips, salsa, crackers, cheese and other appetizers to feed your guests. If you're planning a New Year's brunch, have orange juice and Champagne, bloody Mary mix and vodka, as well as water, soda and other fruit juices. Make quiche and strata, bacon, eggs and toast and a spinach strawberry salad for your meal.
Games and Activities
Plan to have games and activities for your guests -- especially if some of them are children. Make sure music is available via iPod, stereo or radio so your guests can dance if they want to, and set up any video game systems you have for kids to play while the adults mingle. If it's a small affair, set up movies to watch and board games to play before the big countdown begins around midnight.
Decorate your house for your New Year's party with crepe paper streamers and balloons in your favorite colors. Tie an 8-foot rope to a disco ball, then suspend from the ceiling to mimic the ball of lights in Time Square -- as the ball drops there, slowly lower your own simultaneously. Hang a banner that says "Happy New Year!" and attach it to the wall with a picture of the New Year's baby on one end and Father Time on the other. Set up a countdown clock on your computer screen and have kazoos, poppers, party horns, bubbles and sparklers for your guests to celebrate with once the clock strikes midnight. If your party is going throughout the day and night, buy a bunch of cheap, plastic battery-operated clocks and set them to different time zones, so you can celebrate midnight as it reaches different areas of the world.