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Welcome, underachievers! Ready for some last minute party planning tips? New Year’s Eve is coming up, and that means it’s the perfect time to host your friends without overexerting yourself. I am a big fan of the last minute party, but when I go to do a search for last minute party planning ideas, it seems like everyone gets “last minute” confused with “easy.” Yes, it would be easy to blow up fifty balloons and tape them in a rainbow design to your wall. No, it would not be something I could do at the last second before guests show up. So, with that in mind, let’s see what us realistic party planners can actually get done when we decide to host a same day party.
Last Minute Party Planning Tips
First of all, there’s no point in last minute party planning if you don’t have time to go to the store. At that point you just call everyone and tell them what to bring. If you do have time to go to the store, then you’re in luck, because the deli/bakery section is going to plan your menu for you. Whatever tasty looking desserts and/or dishes they have cooked up is what you’ll be serving. They pretty much always have cookies and cakes and some sort of chicken, so those are safe bets, but you do not need any sort of theme for a last minute party, so feel free to pick up whatever looks tasty. Now, if you live in a small town with only one grocery store and they don’t have a deli/bakery (I grew up in a town like this, so they exist), just pick up frozen stuff instead.
You’re also going to want chips or whatever. I highly advise against taking on too much actual cooking, but if you are going do so, I’d go with an easy dip. There’s so many of them and they don’t have to look nice. Here’s a place to start. Thinking about making your famous dessert? Can I tell you why I wouldn’t bother? Unless you’re a professional baker or your friends are food critics, they probably won’t know the difference between a box dessert mix and something homemade. Trust me, I tried it with brownies. Save those good recipes for when you have more time.
Well, my general theory on decorations is don’t bother, but I know how people are obsessed with decorating, so here’s my thoughts. Get something fancy and tall to put on your food table. I like a crazy cupcake holder, although that would require you to buy cupcakes. If that’s not your thing, really any serving dishes with varying heights will do. I’ll put a few shopping items at the bottom for you – surprisingly, this kind of thing is hard to find at your regular Walmart! I think that’s really all you need, but if you can’t stand the idea of using only dishes as decor, add a tablecloth and/or confetti, and possibly balloons, assuming you have time to get helium-filled ones. Don’t bother if you have to blow them up yourself.
Clean Your House
Okay guys, here’s why you can’t spend all your last minute party planning time on decorations. It is so much more important for you to clean your house than it is for you to google free printables or hang streamers. If you’re like me, you’re always prepared for drop-in visitors, but if you’re not I suggest you get yourself a housecleaning schedule put together now so you’ll be able to throw spur of the minute parties later. If it’s too late for the party you’re currently working on, find the worst areas and work on those. The good news is you won’t be doing much cooking so the kitchen should be easy!
The Important Stuff
I want you to think of the granddaddy of all parties. You know, weddings. What’s the best one you’ve ever been to? Was there food? Probably. Decor? Undoubtedly. Dancing? Absolutely! You remember that part even if you have no idea what the centerpieces were. Having fun is what makes a party memorable, not oohing and ahhing at tissue paper creations. So what should your focus all your last minute party planning energy on? Entertainment, of course!
Now, I’m not saying you need to turn your house into the club, but music would probably help. I’m not a big buyer of music, but there’s always things like Party Mixes on Soundcloud. Games are always enjoyable, drinking or non. Or both, if you’re creative. Drinking Operation, anyone? If you don’t own games, charades or Pictionary are easy to do. Playing cards are cheap to pick up and can be found everywhere, plus the game options are endless. Remember, if you’re enthusiastic about whatever you’re doing, your guests will probably get more excited too. Now go have fun at your last minute party!