Looking for some fun and festive ways to ring in 2012? We asked around and gathered ten of our favorite ideas for homemade merrymaking. From family game night to a DIY sparkling drinks bar, we think you’ll find something that suits you. Of course, there are a ton of other ideas out there so let us hear them! Use the comments sections below to share how you celebrate the New Year.
- Host a “Small Bites” Party: Check out 30 delicious small bites recipes for entertaining. You provide festive drinks; ask guests to bring the small bites.
- Plan a Neighborhood Progressive: Connect with neighbors and map out a menu where you’ll walk from house to house and enjoy a different course at each home. Take flashlights and be careful on the walk!
- Propose an Old-Fashioned Family Games Night: Invite kids and their parents, and ask everyone to bring a board game. Enlist your kids’ help in planning dinner and snacks that folks of all ages will enjoy. Set up several card tables and rotate groups of people among games. Come up with fun prizes. Take a break to eat dinner, and make some noise when the ball drops!
- Throw a “My Best Recipe” Potluck Dinner: Invite your foodie friends for a dinner party. Ask guests to prepare their “best” recipe and to bring the recipe on a card to share with the group. The host provides the main course. Non-cooks provide drinks. Vote on the best recipe at the end of the evening.
- Set up a DIY Sparkling Drinks Bar: Stock up on sparkling wine (stop by the wine department and ask for a recommendation), sparkling cider and sparkling water too. Set out colorful juices — think pomegranate, pink grapefruit and blood orange. Cut slices of citrus and set out a bowl of sugar for coating the rims of glasses (rub a citrus slice around the rim, then dip it into the sugar and twist coat). Cover the table with brown paper for guests to write down their favorite combinations. Or, just make a pitcher of Clementine Crush Sparkling Cocktails and call it done!
- Get Cozy Fireside: Hunker down by the fire, could be indoors or outdoors, with mugs of hot chocolate or Allegro® Coffee’s Celebration Caffè. Share your best moments from 2011 and what you’re looking forward to in 2012.
- Host a Cookbook-themed Dinner Party: Did you receive a new cookbook as a gift this year and can’t wait to dive in and start cooking from it? Plan a dinner party based on recipes from the book and invite friends over to enjoy them with you. Check out the list of Cookbooks We’d Love to Receive for inspiration.
- Explore the Traditions of Another Culture: Ask friends of varying backgrounds how they ring in the New Year. You might find yourself eating twelve grapes at midnight, wearing red or yellow underwear or walking out your front door with a suitcase as the clock strikes twelve. It’s interesting to learn the meaning behind the ways we celebrate the transition to a new year and who knows, maybe you’ll start some new traditions of your own.
- Organize a “Best of 2011” Dinner Party: Think back on your cooking over the past year. What were some of your new favorite recipes, ingredients and cooking techniques? Collaborate with friends and cooking partners on putting together a dinner menu that incorporates the best of your cooking.
- Celebrate with a New Year’s Brunch: If staying up until midnight isn’t your cup of tea, make a breakfast casserole or prepare Baked Eggnog French Toast the night before, then head to bed at a reasonable hour and get a good night’s sleep. In the morning throw together a fruit salad, make a batch of muffins and raise your coffee cup to toast the New Year.