Countdown to New Year’s Eve

It’s “Time” to Party Again… Here’s our ‘Countdown’ to New Year’s Eve Party!

I love the Holidays! I love the lights, the music, the FOOD, family, friends, and festivities! And that does NOT all end at Christmas!

It was my turn to Host our family’s Annual New Year’s Eve bash, and after also hosting everyone for Christmas Eve, I wanted to keep it fun and festive, but still simple. The easiest way for me to bring the party altogether is by having a theme, even if that theme is just a color scheme. While my dream New Year’s Eve party was a black tie kind of Cocktail Dinner party, that wasn’t really feasible with twelve kids coming. Yet, that idea inspired my color theme- Black and Silver! But to bring it together a little more, I decided to focus on the “Countdown” aspect and used a Clock face and time as a recurring symbol. Usually, once I have a theme, I tend to go a little overboard with it. I really did want to focus on spending “time” together, and tried very hard to keep things focused and simple.

So I focused my efforts into a few key elements, and here is what I have to share with you.

Time for Creativity

Most of my Serveware is White or Clear Glass which would have been just fine, but I’m me, so I really wanted to some black serving pieces to fit my theme and add just a little bit of drama.

I found some gorgeous black cake pedestals at Macy’s that I could not justify buying for this one event, but I quickly decided to create my own DIY versions. I knew I wanted the bases to be a little more chunky and dramatic than simple little candlesticks, so I went on the hunt. I was ecstatic when I found this set of three Black Candlesticks at TJMaxx for only $10!! Then I was on the quest for Black Plates, originally I was looking for a plate with a design, a scroll or geometric pattern perhaps? But when I found these simple black plates at the Dollar Store, the price was right and I was sold. Lastly, I decided I loved my Candlesticks and could envision other purposes for them as well, so I did not want to make my pedestals permanent (but if you wanted to make them permanent, you can glue your top to your base with some epoxy). So I made three Pedestal Plates for less than $15!!

To attach and create my Pedestals, I used my very own Secret Ingredient… Silly Putty! Yep, Silly Putty was perfect, I rolled it into a snake and coiled it on top of the base, and then pressed my plate on firmly in the center. It worked perfectly, it held strong but came off when I was finished with them. And I love the way these turned out! Can you just imagine the possibilities!?

Time to Decorate

We were not hosting a sit down dinner, so I didn’t worry about setting a full table with settings and everything. But I still wanted to create one decorated focal point besides the food, so here is my table. I made a simple black and white table runner that I ran down the center of the table topped with a Porcelain bowl with a black ribbon. I simply filled the bowl with some Silver tinsel and ran a little more down the table for some sparkle. But my favorite element of the whole party was my “Centerpiece.” Usually, when you have a big beautiful Centerpiece, it gets in the way of conversation, so I decided to bring my Centerpiece… UP! I used Silver ball ornaments (that reminded me of the ball they drop at Times Square) combined with some black ball ornaments which were decorated with some Silver glitter accents. I simply tied the balls to my Chandelier and let them hang at varying heights with some Silver curling ribbon. I gently curled the ends of the ribbon to add more texture and fill in the visual space. It turned out AMAZING! And I loved it so much, I left it up for at least a week, and it was quite the conversation piece as well.

Time to Drink

This was a Family party with lot’s of kids, so we didn’t serve any Alcohol. But it’s New Year’s so we wanted to have fun drinks, we decided to have a Mocktail Bar! We let guests create their own drinks, I supplied lots of Ice, Sodas, Juices, Flavored Syrups, and even garnishes so they could have fun making their own special and creative concoctions! I have a good large collection of stemware, so no plastic at this party. Even the kids got their own stemmed glass. But also, I did not want to spend New Year’s day washing dishes, so I made little labels for each person on each glass so they could easily keep track of which glass was theirs all night long. Monograms for the adults and names for the kids. It was just scrapbook paper punched into a circle and tied on with more silver curling ribbon. Easy and effective!

Hint, I always put out my drinks in their own area, a little away for where the food is being served, and in an easily accessible area to allow for good traffic flow and conversation areas.

Everyone was contributing to our food display, so I just did some simple prep to keep it interesting and easy. I used a scrap fabric of silver velvet over my island, sprinkled with silver tinsel. I laid out my three black Pedestal servers and a pretty silver bowl, and we were ready for whatever everyone was going to bring.

Time to Eat!

We decided that we did not want to have a complete Dinner, but who doesn’t love to EAT all night long on New Year’s?

I tend to be a little protective of my Menu at my parties (usually because I know I will be taking pictures and sharing recipes with all of you). But, with our family parties, we all pitch in and help with the food. For this night, I decided to have Appetizers, but with a twist, we suggested to bring something with International flair. Originally, our idea was that each guest would represent a different country. We loosely followed this vision… and here is our yummy spread!

My empty pedestal plates look great piled with yummy appetizers!

We don’t always have to make everything from scratch, and in keeping with my goal to keep things easier this time, these are Puff Pastry appetizers from Costco. Simply delicious!

Representing France, I made Brie En Croute. Simply let a sheet of Puff Pastry thaw, and top with a wheel of Brie Cheese. I topped that with some homemade Raspberry Jam and toasted Almonds. Then wrap the dough up and around your cheese wheel and brush with some egg wash. Bake in the oven and serve warm!

Patty represented Italy. Simply slice a sourdough Baguette, top with a little Mozzarella and toast in the oven until melted. She served with a tomato, basil, olive, and olive oil spread.

My brother in law made a Hummus Spread and a Seafood Spread and served with sliced bread and Crackers. Yummy!

Patty made these Bruschetta as well, the bread had a cream cheese spread on it underneath the more traditional tomato topping, and these were SO yummy! I could not get enough!

My sister wisely thought the kids might not all be as interested in our International flavors as we were, so she made them their own Macaroni and Cheese bites.

Simply bake your favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe in muffin tins and you have a fancified version of a classic!

What appetizer spread would be complete without a bubbly pan of Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip?

And representing Argentina, we have an Antipasti platter with Salami, Prosciutto, Menster and Mozzarella Cheese, and a variety of Olives.

“I know it looks pretty enough to eat, but can we eat now!?”

Time to Shine

Patty made these Festive little pieces. She printed out her cute signs and simply put them in a mirrored frame. Genius!

I love the Glitter accents as well!

A printed clock matched our “Countdown” theme simply perfectly!

Time to Indulge

Patty was representing Italy remember? So, she showed off by baking some Chocolate dipped Chocolate Biscotti!

I was inspired by Martha Stewart to combine our desserts with my decor. I used my batch of Vanilla Cupcakes to create two clock faces. I simply frosted the cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream and piped on numbers in both standard and Roman Numerals. I kept them together on top of a silver Pizza pan turned serving tray. Fabulous!

We ate until we were full, then we ate some more. We played games, talked, laughed, and waited… Most of the kids even made it to Midnight.

At midnight, we have some new traditions shared by our good friend Ivanna, we throw pennies over our shoulders and eat grapes for good luck. We also share a kiss, and then toast with our favorite bubbly to another wonderful year filled with food, fun, friends, family, and of course some fabulous galas!

Happy New Year’s!!


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