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Take the stress away from New Year’s Eve celebrations with our guide to the perfect party at home.

A New Year’s Eve Party at home is a great way to bring in 2020 without the hassle of massive credit card bills. Besides, nothing quite kills the buzz like a never-ending taxi queue at the end of the night.

THE VERY BASICS

Before you send out invitations please note some practical considerations that may be specific to the area you live in — like ease of conveyance for guests and any special permissions you or they might require in terms of access etc.

With that out of the way, hosts and guests should be mindful of some basic rules.

It’s the night to let go of the past. Everyone wants to let their hair down; no host or guest wants to be the babysitter of the group, so best to invite people you know will get along with each other.

This can also be a very lonely time for many people. So, as hosts, keep an eye out for someone who would really appreciate an invitation. As guests, give an ear or a shoulder to someone who could do with a little ‘pick me up’.

Avoid discussions of politics and money — but I’m sure you already know that.

People should not take pictures of others that might be misunderstood out of context. Do not post pictures of others on social media if you don’t have their permission beforehand.

THE LOOK

For a decadent New Year’s Eve party, set the tone with decor. Post Xmas, fir, baubles and wreaths would be discounted. Buy some, deconstruct them and arrange them over door frames, balustrades and balcony railings. Avoid flame candles, opt for battery operated ones to avoid mishaps.

Your best friend this festive season is the trusted fairly lights. Strew the copper wired ones around the cabinets, consoles etc so lend a magical glow. Invest in corded fairy lights — white wires please — and using paper tape, arrange them from the ceiling like garlands or buntings.

Closer to the arrivals, switch off all lights and bathe your guests in the flattering, amber light.

THE MOOD

One up the Jones’s by setting the tone for your New Year’s Eve. Make a trip to any of the party shops that are dotted around the city. Buy some helium balloons — gold and silver are still in trend, but people are loving matt black as well!

Caps, party crowns, fun masks and party horns are the absolutely essentials. If your home allows, you can also set a small photo booth. You will need: some props, a tinsel curtain to demarcate the area and if you really want to go all out, a Polaroid camera. Whilst the camera will require someone to be in duty, your guests can always use their camera phones. This would be the perfect opportunity to use crazy filters and apps — Boomerang Gold.

Karaoke is a great idea too. New Year’s Eve at home is perfect for all sorts of boardgames — of course, depending on the number of people and what they like. Monopoly is a firm favourite this time of the year, as is Heads Up! This app version of charades is outrageously fun, works for all group sizes, age groups and interests. Just don’t let anyone’s competitiveness be a buzzkill.

Set up a hashtag for your party so that guests can easily locate pre-approved memories from your fun night!

THE FOOD

The work outs and diets can start in the new year, what everyone expects on New Year’s Eve is flowing canapes and bottomless drinks. Whatever your menu, elevate it to silver service standards by serving in brass and silver pass-around trays.

Hosting at home should not translate into stress for the hosts. Forego a sit-down meal and opt for finger food. This will lend variety and take away the hassles of timely courses.

Prep in advance to avoid the rush of December 31, especially road closures if you live somewhere that offers great views of the city’s fireworks. Do your supermarket trip latest by the 29th, so that you have time to prep and still enjoy the last few days of the year.

When planning the catering, think smart. For stress-free hosting mix home-made specialities with some deli bought items that you can pop into the oven and delivery specials. In case of the latter do make sure they deliver in your area closer to the time of guest’s arrivals on the 31st.

A cheeseboard is a great idea — easy to assemble, no cooking required. You will need a wooden board, an assortment of crackers, some fruit and chutneys to zhuzh up even the most inexpensive cheese selections into something totally Instagrammable.

Try not to invest too much time or money on dessert. Chances are they will be forgotten, or people would be too full to indulge.