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Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

We’ve got plenty of scrumptious recipes, DIY décor and creative cocktails to help you celebrate.

The New Year is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to plan a festive fete for friends and family. Craft your own handmade favors and decorations that will add sparkle and shine to your celebration.

Your unforgettable evening begins with an easy-breezy menu featuring seasonal fare and classic holiday ingredients. Greet your guests with a tasty tray of Sweet and Sassy Tartlets, Butterflied Shrimp Scampi and Beef Filet Crostini.

After a few light bites and Cranappletinis, adorn your table with a hearty spread. Baked Maple Orange Glazed Ham and Chicken Parmesan Casserole are the main courses for your flavorful feast. Include a fresh Winter Pear Salad for the vegetarians on your invite list.

End your meal on a decadent note with Champagne Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits and a Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake Roll. Then, before the big countdown begins, give your bubbly a boost! Raspberry Champagne Cocktails and Sparkling Champagne Cocktails are perfect pre-ball-drop sips.

Planning a memorable New Year’s Eve bash doesn’t have to be stressful. Get the confetti ready, whip up the fuss-free recipes above and enjoy!

Raspberry Champagne Cocktails

Raspberry Champagne Cocktails

Decadent raspberry liqueur gets a kick from icy vodka and fizzy champagne…bring it on, 2018!

Hands-on Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 10 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
  • 3 Tbsp. ice-cold vodka
  • 1 bottle (750 ml.) well-chilled dry champagne
  • Fresh Kroger® raspberries, blackberries and mint
Directions:
  1. In small pitcher, mix raspberry liqueur and vodka. Divide evenly among 8 champagne flutes. Fill each with champagne.
  2. Add small ice cubes and garnish with fresh fruit and a sprig of mint.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 190, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 3g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 12g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 0%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Sparkling Clementine Cocktail

Sparkling Clementine Cocktail

Clementines add a sophisticated twist to classic Mimosa cocktails, making them special for a New Year's Eve celebration.

Hands-on Time: 35 min.
Total Time: 45 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup Kroger® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup chilled clementine juice (about 16-18 clementines)
  • ½ cup ice-cold vodka
  • ½ tsp. bitters, if desired
  • 1 bottle (750ml) well-chilled champagne
  • Ice
Directions:
  1. In small saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate 30 minutes to chill.
  2. In small pitcher, mix simple syrup, clementine juice, vodka and bitters. Divide evenly among 8 champagne flutes. Fill glasses with champagne and add ice, if desired.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 170, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 19g (6% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 16g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Cranappletinis

Cranappletinis

Apple liqueur adds a tart tang to classic cosmopolitans for a refreshing after-dinner cocktail.

Hands-on Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 5 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups Kroger® 100% Cranberry Juice, chilled
  • ½ cup ice-cold clear apple liqueur (not green apple)
  • 1 cup ice-cold vodka
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Ice
Directions:
  1. In small pitcher, mix all ingredients. Add ice and stir. Strain into chilled martini glasses.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 10mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 20g (7% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 20g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Butterflied Shrimp Scampi

Butterflied Shrimp Scampi

Tender, succulent shrimp pair with a creamy dip for an impressive and delicious appetizer.

Hands-on Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 20 min.
Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large and 1 small clove garlic, grated and divided
  • 1½ tsp. lemon peel, grated and divided
  • ⅛ tsp. Kroger® Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped (or ½ tsp. dried tarragon)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Cut along fleshy outside curved part of each shrimp, to within 1" of tail, not cutting all the way through. Spread apart.
  2. In medium bowl, mix olive oil, large clove garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon peel and pepper. Add shrimp and stir to coat completely. Place shrimp on large cookie sheet, cut sides down, spreading so shrimp stand up and tails curve over the shrimp.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix mayonnaise, tarragon, small clove garlic and remaining lemon peel. Place shrimp on serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve with dipping sauce.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 70, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Saturated Fat 1g (5% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 90mg (4% DV), Carbohydrates 0g (0% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 0g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Beef Filet Crostini

Beef Filet Crostini

Beef tenderloin is the star of this elegant appetizer. Zesty horseradish sauce and nutty slivers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese help create a superstar nibble.

Hands-on Time: 25 min.
Total Time: 55 min.
Serves: 32 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 32 slices French baguette (¼”), about ⅔ of a 12 oz. baguette
  • 3 Tbsp. Kroger® Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. Kroger® Garlic Powder
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place bread slices on large cookie sheet. In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic powder; brush over bread slices.
  2. Bake 8-11 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
  3. Rub surface of tenderloin with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; place on baking sheet. Roast 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature is 135°F for medium rare or 145°F for medium (temperatures rise 10 degrees while resting); cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard. Cover and refrigerate. With vegetable peeler, shave large curls of cheese from narrow edge of cheese.
  5. When ready to serve, very thinly slice the tenderloin across the grain into at least 32 slices. Spread each crostini with mayonnaise mixture. Top with a few leaves of arugula, a slice of beef and a few shavings of cheese.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 110, Calories from Fat 80, Total Fat 9g (14% DV), Saturated Fat 2.5g (12% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 90mg (4% DV), Carbohydrates 4g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 0g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Sweet and Sassy Tartlets

Sweet and Sassy Tartlets

A dab of raspberry jam adds a little sweetness to the mild heat of red pepper flakes in these creamy, crispy tartlets.

Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 15 min.
Serves: 30 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. Kroger® Cream Cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. orange peel, grated
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 packages (1.9 oz.) frozen phyllo tartlet shells
  • ⅓ cup red raspberry preserves
Directions:
  1. In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except tartlet shells and preserves. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth; cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  2. Or to serve immediately, spoon filling into each tartlet shell. Top each with ½ teaspoon preserves.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 60, Calories from Fat 30, Total Fat 3.5g (5% DV), Saturated Fat 2g (10% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg (3% DV), Sodium 45mg (2% DV), Carbohydrates 5g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Champagne Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Champagne Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Champagne adds a slightly tart sophisticated flavor to strawberry cream cheese parfaits in this special New Year's Eve Dessert.

Hands-on Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 50 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered and stems removed
  • 1¼ cups Champagne, divided
  • 8 pecan shortbread cookies, from 11.3 oz. package
  • 1 Tbsp. Kroger® Butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 small fresh strawberries with green tops, halved
Directions:
  1. In shallow bowl, combine quartered strawberries and 1 cup of the Champagne. Let stand 30 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in large resealable plastic food storage bag, crumble cookies. With rolling pin, crush until coarse crumbs form. In medium bowl, mix with butter. Set aside.
  3. When strawberries are finished marinating, in large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on low speed until mixed; beat on high speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add whipping cream; beat until thick and creamy. Beat in ¼ cup Champagne. (Filling can be prepared, covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours ahead of time.)
  4. Spoon cream cheese mixture into pastry bag or gallon re-sealable food storage plastic bag; cut ½" from one corner. Spoon 1 tablespoon of crushed cookies into bottoms of 8 Champagne flutes. Pipe a 1" layer of cream filling over cookies; top each with a layer of strawberries, using about half of the strawberries.
  5. Repeat cookie, cream filling and strawberry layers once more, reserving enough cream filling for a small dollop on top of each parfait. Top each with a strawberry half. Serve immediately or cover loosely and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 340, Calories from Fat 190, Total Fat 21g (32% DV), Saturated Fat 11g (55% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 60mg (20% DV), Sodium 150mg (6% DV), Carbohydrates 29g (10% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 18g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 6%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake Roll

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake Roll

Rich whipped mascarpone filling flavored with cherries and almonds is a perfect partner for the light chocolatey sponge cake. Glossy ganache is the crowning glory.

Hands-on Time: 40 min.
Total Time: 2 hrs.
Serves: 10 | Difficulty: Hard

Cake:
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup Kroger® Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Filling:
  • 1 container (8 oz.) mascarpone
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • ½ tsp. Kroger® Pure Almond Extract
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup candied red cherries, finely chopped
Ganache:
  • ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. corn syrup
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 15"x10"x1" baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and grease parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in ¼ cup of the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  4. In another bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed 5 minutes or until pale yellow and thick. Gradually beat in remaining ½ cup sugar, vanilla and sour cream. Add mixed dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined; beat on medium speed until creamy.
  5. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites until blended. Spread evenly in baking pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until center springs back when tapped.
  6. Let cool 2 minutes. Run knife around edges to loosen. Lay clean thin kitchen towel on work surface; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
  7. Turn cake out onto towel. Remove parchment. Spray another piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and lay sprayed side down over top of cake.
  8. Loosely roll paper-topped cake up in towel. Cool on cooling rack 35-45 minutes or until nearly cooled.
  9. In medium bowl, beat mascarpone and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. On low speed mix in whipping cream and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until thick and creamy and good spreading consistency. Fold in almonds and cherries.
  10. Carefully unroll cake and remove paper. Spread filling over cake; carefully roll up and place on platter, seam side down. Tuck strips of waxed paper under edges of cake to protect platter while frosting.
  11. Place chocolate chips in medium bowl. In small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just until hot and bubbles start to form around edges. Pour over chocolate chips and let stand 3 minutes; stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in corn syrup and cool until mixture mounds slightly when stirred.
  12. Spread ganache over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate 20 minutes to slightly set ganache. Slice to serve.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 370, Calories from Fat 200, Total Fat 23g (35% DV), Saturated Fat 12g (60% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 130mg (43% DV), Sodium 140mg (6% DV), Carbohydrates 37g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 27g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 8%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Winter Pear Salad

Winter Pear Salad

Pears are at their peak of quality and flavor in the winter, so they’re ideal for beautiful and fresh fruity salads. We combined ours with a sweet and zesty fresh lemon vinaigrette.

Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 15 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ tsp. lemon peel, grated
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. shallot, grated
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup Kroger® Pure Vegetable Oil
  • 10 oz. baby salad greens
  • 2 ripe firm pears, cored, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted slivered almonds
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola
Directions:
  1. In small bowl, whisk lemon peel and juice, sugar, shallot, mustard and salt with wire whisk. Whisk in oil; set aside.
  2. In large shallow bowl, arrange salad greens. Toss with enough dressing to coat greens. Arrange remaining ingredients over the salad greens; drizzle with a little dressing.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 280, Calories from Fat 170, Total Fat 20g (31% DV), Saturated Fat 3g (15% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg (2% DV), Sodium 190mg (8% DV), Carbohydrates 25g (8% DV), Dietary Fiber 4g (16% DV), Sugars 19g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 50%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 8%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Cherries Romanoff

Cherries Romanoff

Luscious sweet dark cherries turn a summer classic strawberry dessert into an easy elegant winter dessert. It’s traditional to serve the cherries topped with sweetened sour cream, but you can use very soft vanilla ice cream instead.

Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 32 oz. frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Kroger® Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp. brandy or cognac
  • 1 cup Kroger® Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Fresh mint sprigs, if desired
Directions:
  1. In large bowl, mix cherries, brown sugar, orange liqueur and brandy. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 but up to 4 hours.
  2. In medium bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and sour cream. Fold into whipped cream.
  3. To serve, spoon cherries and juice in 8 small dessert bowls. Top with large dollop of sour cream mixture. Garnish with mint.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 300, Calories from Fat 150, Total Fat 17g (26% DV), Saturated Fat 10g (50% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 55mg (18% DV), Sodium 25mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 32g (11% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 28g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 8%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Baked Maple Orange Glazed Ham

Baked Maple Orange Glazed Ham

Orange and maple flavors work well in a glaze and sauce for tender, moist and smoky ham. Pairs well with Belgian tripel ale and Gewürztraminer white wine.

Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 2 hrs. 15 min. – 3 hrs.
Serves: 10-14 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 fully cooked spiral-cut bone-in ham half (7-10 lbs.)
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) orange marmalade
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp. dry ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. Kroger® Ground Cloves
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Unwrap ham and place face down in baking pan with at least 3” sides. Add 1 cup water and cover tightly with foil; bake 15 minutes per pound or as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly; set aside. During last 15 minutes of baking, remove ham from oven and drain all liquid from pan. Baste ham with ½ cup of the orange sauce and return to oven until thoroughly heated.
  3. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes. Warm remaining sauce in small saucepan. Slice ham and serve with warm sauce.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 450, Calories from Fat 120, Total Fat 13g (20% DV), Saturated Fat 2.5g (12% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 175mg (58% DV), Sodium 2550mg (106% DV), Carbohydrates 27g (9% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 25g, Protein 58g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 4%, Iron 10%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This quick and easy casserole has all the family favorite flavors of chicken parmigiana without the work of breading and frying chicken. Pairs well with pilsner and Chianti red wine.

Hands-on Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 45 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. Kroger® Salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1½" cubes
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) Kroger® Grated Italian Style 5 Cheese Blend
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup Kroger® 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil or oregano, chopped, if desired
  • Hot cooked pasta tossed with olive oil, if desired
Directions:
  1. Position oven rack in upper ⅓ of oven. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13"x9" baking dish (3 quart) with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper; add chicken cubes and toss until coated.
  2. Spread floured chicken in single layer in baking dish. Spray tops with cooking spray. Bake on upper rack 15- 18 minutes or until light golden brown and no longer pink in center.
  3. Pour marinara sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with shredded and grated cheeses. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted, casserole is bubbly and interior temperature of chicken pieces is at least 165°F.
  4. Mix breadcrumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over cheese. Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown; sprinkle with herbs. Serve alone or with hot cooked pasta.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 170, Total Fat 18g (28% DV), Saturated Fat 10g (50% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 130mg (43% DV), Sodium 1220mg (51% DV), Carbohydrates 15g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 35g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 30%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Cue the Confetti!

Cue the Confetti!

Planning a spur-of-the-moment NYE bash? Our tips and tricks will inspire you to conquer your kitchen and create dazzling décor – all before the clock strikes midnight!

We’re Helping You Host an Unforgettable New Year’s Eve Celebration

Say cheers to the New Year by plotting a stress-free gathering for your friends and family! We’ve mapped out the ultimate guide for a simple and spontaneous celebration that can be thrown together in a flash. And since you can find everything you need for a fabulous fete in-store, doing your event shopping is a snap.

Get the party started and fill your shopping cart with shindig essentials:

  • Décor: Keep it simple. Grab a ready-made centerpiece from the floral department, or choose a bouquet of your favorite flowers. Candles add a festive glow to any event; today’s battery-operated flameless candles look just like the real thing and there’s no worry about wax drips or fire hazards. Look for crepe paper to craft your own streamers, and pick up a variety of helium balloons (white, black and gold are especially pretty for New Year’s Eve). Use paper or plastic tablecloths and plastic utensils to make cleanup a breeze.
  • Hors d’oeuvres: Visit the Deli for ready-made veggie trays, meat and cheese platters, salads and more. Choose a selection of crackers, chips and nuts to have on hand. Check the frozen department for heat-and-serve nibbles, and top off your festive feast with a selection of olives and pickles. Remember to pick up a box of toothpicks for skewering finger foods.

  • Breads and desserts: Offer guests a fresh lineup of breads and rolls from the Bakery. Croissants, mini rye slices and hearty wheat are sure to please. For dessert, choose a decorated cake, miniature cupcakes, bars, petit fours or holiday cookies.
  • Beverages: Break out the bubbly and give your guests a variety of sparkling drinks to sip! You could offer wine (red and white), beer, soda and sparkling water. Or offer a signature drink – find a recipe you like and stock up on everything you’ll need. If you’re setting up a full bar, grab mixers, lemons, limes, maraschino cherries and olives. And of course, remember the ice!

Voilà – instant party! Now for the fun part: welcoming your guests and creating warm memories.

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!

Illuminate Your New Year’s Eve Celebration with Four Dazzling DIY Ideas!

Illuminate Your New Year’s Eve Celebration with Four Dazzling DIY Ideas!

December 31: an evening for celebration, festivity and perhaps a touch of elegance. Whether you’re throwing a formal gala or a casual fete, these decorating ideas are black-tie-only special.

  1. Wow your guests before they even step inside your home! Create stunning ice globe luminaries to line your driveway, the pathway to the front door, or anywhere you wish for a magical touch. Here’s how:
    • You’ll need 12” or larger balloons and votive candles.
    • Fill a balloon with water by placing the lip of the balloon over the faucet. Fill it slowly and hold one hand beneath it as it fills. Try to fill it as fully as possible without it breaking. Tie the balloon as you normally would.
    • Place the filled balloon in a bowl just large enough so that about three-quarters of the balloon is exposed while the rest sits inside the bowl.
    • Set the bowl outdoors. You may want to put it on a piece of newspaper or cardboard to keep it from freezing in place.
    • In freezing temperatures, the balloon should form a solid “wall” of ice in about 24 hours. Check it regularly—it’s all about how cold the weather is. You do NOT want the balloon to freeze solid—there should still be water inside.
    • When it’s frozen, take it out of the bowl and carefully remove the balloon from your now-frozen globe. (You may want to do this in the sink, as water will gush out the bottom.)
    • You should now have a perfect orb of ice with a hollow center. You’ll have an opening where the balloon didn’t freeze over.
    • Repeat the process to make as many globes as you’d like.
    • Place a votive candle inside the opening and enjoy the warm glow of your ice globe. If you prefer, use battery-operated flameless candles.

    Pro Tips: Be sure to try this out well in advance of your party, as some trial and error is involved. It helps to first blow up the balloon before filling with water—this stretches it out. And if you’re not the DIY type, there are kits available that make creating ice globes easier.

    In warmer climates, you can make paper bag luminaries instead. Put some sand, pebbles or dried beans in the bottoms of white paper lunch bags. Place a votive candle in each bag (flameless candles are a great idea here).
  2. Give the bubbly a rest this year and pop confetti-filled balloons at midnight! Use a small funnel to add confetti to clear, white, silver and/or gold balloons. Then fill the balloons with helium and tie with long ribbons. The balloons will sparkle and shine from the ceiling during the party. When the clock strikes 12, give each guest a pin for popping the balloons, releasing a magical shower of glittering confetti while toasts and kisses take place.
  3. Create a beautiful backdrop for your buffet table, bar or photo booth. While this one takes some time, it’s well worth the extra effort, especially if you have another pair of hands to help. Here’s how to do it:
    • You’ll need about 600 large gold sequins (paillettes), about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Find these at a craft store or online. You’ll also need sequin pins, plain gold wrapping paper or gold spray paint, six pieces of foam core, 32”x40” and about ⅛” thick, and easy-to-remove tape.
    • Use the wrapping paper to cover one side of the foam core, or use spray paint.
    • Pin each sequin with a sequin pin in rows onto the foam core. It’s important that the sequins can move freely to allow them to flutter. Pulling each sequin toward the head of the pin helps with this.
    • Mount your sparkly wall where desired using tape. For extra sparkle, make sure there’s some light shining on the sequins and that there’s plenty of moving air for maximum shimmer.
  4. Set a romantic and elegant mood by adorning every mirror in your home with strings of tiny white holiday lights. Not only will this add a beautiful glow to the room, but it will also make the room look instantly bigger.

The mood is set. The champagne’s on ice. Let the party begin. Happy New Year!

View Party Plan: Cheers to the New Year!