Last-minute New Year's Eve party ideas

You're hosting a party, and your guests are going to be streaming through your door in just a few days to ring in the new year. But you've still not pulled all the details of food, drink, decor and so forth together. Here are a few suggestions from Helene Miller and Heidi Klotzman of Heidnseek Entertainment, a special-events firm (and b partner) that caters to young professionals, to have an unruffled holiday party.

•Don't fake it. The most important thing is that the party — from the decor to the canapes — should reflect your personality.

•If you have a fireplace, by all means make sure it is blazing away.

•Don't get stuck in the kitchen. Prepare hors d'oeuvres in advance. Good suggestions are antipasta pizza, mini-sliders, crab balls, fried mozzarella balls, assorted cheeses, stuffed mushrooms, marinated olives and wasabi deviled eggs.

•Ice breakers aren't just for old people. To get the conversation started, have guests write down a New Year's resolution. Everyone draws one of the resolutions out of a fishbowl, and guests then have to determine who wrote which resolution.

•If it is in your budget, hire a bartender (there may still be time), and offer a few signature cocktails, such as a pomegranate champagne punch, mulled white-wine sangria (served hot or cold) and blood orange champagne cocktails. For the teetotalers, have plenty of water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages on hand. And, be sure that you have a couple of "designated drivers" to make sure that everyone gets home safe.

•For desserts, think chocolate: chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-chip cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Counting calories can wait.

•Make sure someone's taking pictures and posting them online.

•At some point, tune into the celebration at Times Square and make sure everyone has a glass, or more, of bubbly as the countdown to 2012 begins.

Mary Medland

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