Ideas for a Last Minute New Years Eve Party

If you are having friends in for New Years Eve, there are so many ideas out there to make this evening special. Decorations, hats, blowers, drinks, food…. it is hard to decide what to do! I am going to discuss a simple quick menu here that you can pull together really fast without a lot of effort & have a delicious New Years Eve

We have had people here many times over the years & the best part for me is really just being with friends  & I like to watch the ball drop down in Times Square.

Just last week we were in New York & staying at The Knickerbocker Hotel…The roof top patio of this hotel has the perfect view of the ball… they were testing it while we were there so that was really cool…to see it change colours & move up & down the poll. It always seems so much bigger on the tv. I tried to get a good picture of it but it was so bright when it was lit up that none of us could get a good shot..& we didn’t see it unlit..This is as close as we were….

We are not having company over this year, but I was thinking about a menu in case we were going to, so I am going to share this with you. I like to make my New Years parties simple… I do not make all of the food, I like to take advantage of pre-made appetizers & simple food if I am having people over…I want to enjoy the evening & not have to be in the kitchen the whole time… I am writing this up in the present as though I am going to do it… you never know… I might change my mind

 This might  be too long to read but bottom line is … it’s about the people you are spending New Year’s Eve with & not necessarily about how fancy the food is…. if you don’t have any plans with friends….make yourself something yummy to eat & enjoy your evening!

There are many ways to do a party like this… & over the years I have done several…some have been pot-luck, some have been sit-down dinners, some just a buffet of appetizers..that is what I will be discussing here. I have cold foods on the table when my guests arrive & the hot food comes last.

I like to have party hats & blowers for everyone who comes over…so when my guests arrive I give them a party hat at the door, they can wear or not …but they have one!

To make the food table festive… put New Years blowers in 3 glasses or in one short container & put this on the table… when you pass out drinks for midnight, tell everyone to get a blower or give them one! Hats on & everyone will be ready to toast 2018


We usually have drinks set out on our island but like to make one mixed drink &
Aperol Spritz is our drink of choice. The first time we had this drink was in Italy & Murray loves to order it when we are out & make it at home. Murray has come up with the ‘recipe’ for this drink on his own after trying different ones on web sites…this is the combination we like

Aperol Spritz

2 oz Aperol

3 oz  Prosecco

a splash of Seltzer/soda

orange slices

Put ice into a cocktail glass , add the Aperol, Prosecco & then the splash of Seltzer. Garnish with a slice of orange… you don’t have to stir this as it seems to combine itself as you add the ingredients into the glass….

Quantities of other drinks depend on the number of people you will be having over!

  • For other drinks… we have diet coke, regular coke, sparkling water, & a non=-caffenated soda… like Fresca ( I am always surprised at how many people love Fresca!)
  • Any mixes you will need for drinks that people might want… orange juice, tomato juice….etc  Depends on what alcohol you put out of course. We always have tequila, rum, scotch, gin & vodka..& a white wine & a red wine….
  • A bowl of ice with a serving spoon & glasses out on the counter for people to fill their own drinks
  • Bottles of Prosecco or Champagne & champagne glasses ready to fill for midnight to make a toast to the New Year. If you have a tray, put the unfilled glasses on the tray, then fill about 10 to midnight…& serve the drinks around so everyone has one in hand for the toast!


  • I always like to have a bowl of nuts with a scoop.. so there isn’t a bunch of hands in the bowl…near the drinks
  • And a bowl of chips of your choice…we like the vegetable chips

Moving to the table, I use my dining room table for the food…we  renovated our house several years ago & that table is the only one I have!

I will put plates, cutlery if needed & paper New Years napkins at the head of the table so my guests can pick up their plate before walking around the table to get their food. Feel free to use paper plates if you want..there are some really nice festive New Years paper plates available.

I have decided not to do a meal….but to do a table of appetizers….then desserts later. I want food that can sit out for a couple of hours without getting gross looking… I never leave food out for more than 2 hours… at that point put the food away & get out the desserts! You could have the desserts set out on another table all evening if you have the room but I usually always put it on the one main table after removing the food.

  • The first thing on the table will be some vegetables. I will have some freshly cut up carrots, celery & a mix of red & yellow peppers cut into strips…maybe have some of those delicious pea pods available at Costco or the grocery store all year round. Put some dip into a small bowl in the middle of a serving plate with a small spoon in it so no double-dipping here. Your guests can put some dip onto their plate. I do not put out broccoli or cauliflower because personally I don’t love it on a veg plate. You can use any salad dressing for a dip…
  • Now, a delish cheese board is in order here. Depending on the size of your table, what your put your cheese & crackers on will be up to you of course. I am using a paddle board now. but I do not like to fill up my board with the cheeses & crackers because it is difficult to get to the cheese…so I usually just put some cheese..& the crackers in a separate serving dish. I decorate the board with some almonds..& some dried fruit but not enough for everyone to eat actually   just here & there to accent the board. The cheese you use is up to you. I like to have a delicious brie & then one other type of hard chess which I do not pre-slice… I actually cut 2 slices & leave the rest of that block of cheese whole… it gets dry sitting cut up so people can cut it themselves. If you are having a crowd, make a couple small cheese plates …maybe the brie on one & some hard cheeses on another…
  • I will have some dips… make some antipasto, or buy it!
  • Some Hummous….my friends like hummous
  • Since you will need pita chips etc for the dips & crackers for the cheeses, if you have a long narrow serving dish that can be in the centre of your table sitting parallel to the food, fill it with a variety of crackers, breads, bread sticks, crackers…then whatever your guests are taking on their plate they can just reach into the centre of your table and get what they want to eat with it! If you do not have that type of serving dish, put the crackers etc into flat bowls….crackers by the cheese, pita chips by the hummus & antipasto…
  • Have dish of olives. I like to have a bowl of mixed green & black olives..but whatever you like is good! make sure you have a small spoon with this so your guests can pick up the olives!
  • I will make my new recipe for Cheezies & have them mixed in with the store-bought crackers
  • You could add some meat or fish onto the table if you want…depends on the number of people you have & the number of hot appetizers… if you have 2 hot appies do not know that you need it, but if you have one hot appetizer then a bit of protein is a good idea…my choices would be to make some appetizers… small black bread with a bit of cream cheese spread on it with a slice of  smoked salmon on top… or you could have some cut up cold salamis if you want to add meat to the table & are not kosher..
  • Since I want some warm food but don’t really want to spend a lot of time preparing any at home, I will go to Costco to see what they have in the freezer…. pick whichever type of appetizer you like! My fav is spanokipita…they are good hot, but ok at room temperature as well. Have your oven preheated & the appetizers on a cookie sheet ready to go into the oven…then put them in the oven about 30 minutes before your guests arrive so you can put them out hot…I find that it takes longer to cook them then the package says so keep your eye on them….I do not like soggy spanakopita!
  • You could have 2 hot appetizers if you are having a lot of guests or a small amount of a couple … I think that if you want a couple of appetizers for just a few people, go to the grocery store & pick your favourite ones! Little quiches are good, sausage rolls…hot dogs in blankets…yum… lots of choices
  • You could add some meat or fish onto the table at the end of the path around the table if you want…depends on the number of people you have & the number of hot appetizers… if you have 2 I dolt know that you need it, but if you have one hot appetizer then a bit of protein is a good idea…my choices would be to make some appetizers… small black bread with a bit of cream cheese spread on it with a slice of  smoked salmon on top… or you could have some cut up cold salamis if you want to add meat to the table & are not kosher….
  • So lets look at the table   Of course this is just a suggestion…put what ever food you & your guests like….

Plates/ napkins

Vegetables & dip





Smoked salmon appetizers or meat

Hot appetizers

A dish of crackers…etc in the middle of the table

I think that’s enough

Now for the desserts

Use some Happy New Years paper plates for dessert…if you do not object to using paper…

I personally do not feel like cutting up fruit for a fruit plate now, so I like to put out a big bowl of small oranges… or buy a fruit platter!

The amount of options for desserts is just about endless. So… I think the rule of thumb is you need 1 dessert for 10 people. But…I always like to have a couple of dessert options even if it is just for a couple of people. If you feel like making desserts, you can make some no-bake desserts…or buy some!

Some simple dessert ideas to make at home are

Rowenas Pineapple Dessert

Chocolate Chip Kaluha Torte

Chocolate Walnut marshmallow Fudge

Puppy Chow

If you want to bake something quick

Graham wafer squares

Meringue Cookies


Have some decaf coffee & some herbal teas ready to serve your guests at the end of the evening….




Published by

Marilyn Dishes

Many people ask me "how did you do that?" "will you show me how?' So I decided to make a blog about what I cook and bake. I am in no way a professional cook, but I love to feed people and try new things as well as making the "old foods" My friends are wonderful cooks, each with their own 'specialty' and i will be having guest cooks here, showcasing their favourite things to cook as well!! I hope you enjoy this blog and maybe decide to make some of these foods yourself! I am always available to answer any questions you might have about anything you see here. Some of my recipes are unique to me but most are not. They are all recipes I have found in a variety of ways, some are old family recipes that date back decades and some are new ones!

Leave a Reply