Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

Ring in the New Year with Style (and Substance)

a group of friends at a New Year's party holding sparklers
Ideas for creating connection and welcoming the next year with hope and joy.

A few years ago (OK, quite a few years ago), my housemates and I decided to throw a fancy New Year’s Eve party. We sent out paper invitations requesting our friends join us dressed in their holiday finest. We served a variety of tasty hors d’oeuvres and kept the sparkling cider flowing. We played table games and set up a karaoke machine in the basement.

Just before midnight everyone made a toast to the new year, then went outside and watched the fireworks display above Pike’s Peak. I had been to very few fancy parties, and I loved planning and executing a fun event for my friends — many of whom were back from visiting family over the Christmas break and had no other plans. We felt so grown up in our fancy dresses and enjoyed creating a space for people to feel included and celebrate.

Five crowd-pleasing party ideas

Whether you’re gathering a few friends or throwing an all-out party, here are some ideas for creating connection and ringing in the new year with hope and joy.

Old-fashioned potluck. Invite your guests to bring a favorite food, snack or dessert (and be willing to share the recipe). You can put together a fabulous feast with no one person bearing the load of cooking. After the meal, play games and spend time reflecting on highlights from the previous year.

Casual hangout. A New Year’s party can be cozy and low-key. Encourage your guests to dress in comfy clothes (or pajamas) and have a movie marathon or video game tournament. Order pizza or takeout and stay up till midnight … or don’t. Sometimes a lazy night is just the right fit after a hectic holiday season.

Share your friends. A new friend once told me about this fun tradition. She and five of her friends would have dinner at a restaurant and each invite one friend the others might not know — both men and women. In this way, everyone met someone new. As a New Year’s Eve party idea, this format also extends community and merriment to those who may not have plans for the holiday.

Countdown activities. Before your guests arrive, write party activities on index cards and place them in sealed envelopes — one activity for each hour of your party. Have your guests take turns opening one envelope each hour (or half-hour) until midnight (with the last card being marked 11:45 p.m.) Each card will have a different activity to keep everyone awake through the night. Possible activities: play a group game, sing karaoke, have a dance party, make a craft, eat dessert, pose for photos, tell a joke, encourage someone, read a chapter of the Bible out loud, make a new year’s toast.

“Pray in” the new year. One friend told me that when she was growing up, people from her church would gather on New Year’s Eve early in the evening to play games, sing songs and share a meal. Around 11, they would start a prayer meeting and pray for the months ahead. They would continue praying until after midnight, committing the new year to the Lord.

The fancy New Year’s Eve party my housemates and I hosted turned out to be a core memory. I love looking back on the photos and I still remember the joy I felt that night, surrounded by friends, sharing stories and laughs and anticipating an amazing year ahead.

If you don’t have plans yet for New Year’s Eve, consider organizing a last-minute gathering. Psalm 133:1 proclaims, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” What better way to start a new year than in community?

Copyright 2023 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved. 

Share This Post:

About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

Related Content