New Year’s Eve, or “Silvester” as the Germans say, is a popular holiday for celebrations around the world. However, the combination of post-December holiday exhaustion, a late night out, champagne drinking-induced dehydration and midnight snack cravings can ruin a good party faster than the Times Square ball can drop. Here are some helpful tips to keep your guests hydrated, fed and happy.
Jessica Dulkis, self-proclaimed “party professional” and wife of Staff Sgt. Evan Dulkis, has thrown successful holiday parties for years. Her first piece of advice is to start early.
“Proper planning is the key to any successful party,” Dulkis said. “I start jotting down party ideas and making shopping lists almost as soon as Thanksgiving is over.”
With all of the other stresses throughout the holiday season, the last thing that you will want to do is try to make all of your preparations in the narrow time slot between Dec. 26 and 31.
Choosing a party theme makes every other decision easier. Food, decoration and activity ideas are narrowed down once a theme is chosen. While planning your New Year’s Eve party, take into consideration what your guests want. Come up with three to five theme ideas and ask guests to vote on which theme they think would be most enjoyable.
“I attended a Great Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve party once, and the theme really made the party,” Dulkis said. “We danced to the movie soundtrack and acted out scenes from the book.”
Another important aspect of party prep is giving notice to your neighbors. No one likes to be kept up all night by the sound of a party they didn’t attend.
“You don’t want to ruin a long happy relationship with your neighbors by disregarding their feelings,” Dulkis said.
Alerting neighbors is especially important when throwing a party in Germany. Quiet hours in this country are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, and while New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday this year, not everyone will be in a partying mood. Young children still have bedtimes, and not everyone plans to be up until midnight.
Be sure to include activities. Gone are the days of childhood when attending a party is an activity in itself. Games and contests keep guests busy and help the minutes until midnight fly by. Costume contests, for example, let the party fun begin before the night even starts. Refrain from focusing the night solely around drinking alcohol to keep everyone safe and present.
Don’t forget to feed your guests. Setting out a decent spread of food will keep the champagne from going to guests’ heads and keep designated drivers from getting disgruntled.
“There is nothing that ruins a good party faster than hungry guests,” Dulkis said.
Provide vegetarian and lighter options along with traditional party foods, such as a vegetable tray or fruit salad, to avoid heavy food overload. If the cost of feeding a larger number of guests is a concern, ask that guests bring a dish to share. Potlucks provide diversity of food and keep host’s expenses low.
Most important of all, have a plan for any guests that may be drinking alcohol at your party. Allow guests to spend the night, ensure the presence of designated drivers, provide phone numbers of taxi services or make use of a driving service. Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving provides designated driving services out of Ramstein and can be found at www.ramstein.af.mil/ari/index.asp.
Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!