Being with family and friend for New Year’s Eve is a perfect way to start the year. The perfect party is a potluck so you keep the cost down and there are plenty of choices. Everyone stays up until different times that night and you want to make sure there is plenty of food to last the evening.
Planning the Gathering
I have found emails to be a huge time saver when planning a potluck. You can come up with a menu together and everyone gets notice of plans being put into place at the same time. I like to figure out what main dish or other dishes I want to make. Put them on a list and then add a other general list of other items to bring. By general I mean just typing appetizer, main dish, dessert, salad and type out how many of each you would like the group to bring. Then people can sign up to bring whatever dish they prefer to make and you can add it to the list that goes out to everyone with their reply.
Don’t forget to tell everyone if you are serving the drinks or if they should bring their own. If you are supplying the mixers, give a list of what mixers will be on hand so they know what alcohol to bring for mixed drinks.
Set the time. Keep in mind that family members may have other activities planned for the evening or earlier in the day. I don’t find there is a time that is better or worse as it depends on the crowd you are getting together. Typically when planning a party for the first time you are choosing to host it, but you can rotate each year so that no one is missed.
Bring everyone together an hour or two before dinner to have some fun. Interactive video games are a really fun group activity. Rock Band is not just for kids, we’ve enjoyed a lot of family fun with this game.
Don’t forget the card games. Families can have a great time playing Poker the whole night. For the kids, there’s Old Maid, Go Fish and Uno to name a few. Make it interesting by playing for change or candy.
If you set an afternoon party you can mix it up with starting an annual end of the year flag football game. The muddier the better and then you can warm up with hot cocoa and hot apple cider. Not to mention the yummy hot food you can warm up with after.
An Amazing Meal
Set up a table where everyone can serve themselves buffet-style. If your event is going to last the night through, consider having people bring their hot dishes in a slow cooker. Chafing dishes are a great way to keep foods warm and are surprisingly affordable. It also helps the food to stay warm instead of overcooking. There are also some great slow cookers that are made for buffet serving. They have 3 smaller cookers for you to have multiple dishes. My Mom has one and it’s been very useful. I just have to learn to scale down my recipes when I use it. lol
Use paper products so clean up is easy and you have even more time to enjoy with friends and family. No one wants to be a slave to the dishes when there are movies and chatting to enjoy.
Dessert will put the finishing touches on your potluck meal. Each family can bring their own offering for the after-dinner treat to add variety. Anyone want ice cream and cake? Or keep it simple and have everyone bring their leftover cookies from the holidays. If everyone knows ahead of time then they can freeze their extra cookies and you will have a huge selection. I know we always get trays of cookies from various people and families and can’t eat them all before they go bad.
Well for our New Year’s Eve parties there really isn’t an after dinner, since we munch our way through the entire night. But before everyone gets away, try this activity. Go around the room and let each person tell one thing that they would like to accomplish in the New Year. Now, your friends and family can help encourage you to meet that goal over the next twelve months.
Plan a New Year’s Eve potluck dinner and get all your loved one’s together for a new tradition. Have some food, some laughs and make new memories.
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
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