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Countdown To Your New Year's Eve Party

Here are tips on how to throw a fabulous shindig to ring in 2013.

By Deborah Geering

It’s not too late to plan a fabulous New Year’s Eve dinner party. But don’t wait any longer to prepare. Now is the time to start thinking about the details – or at least a few of them.

Here’s a timeline to keep your party planning running smoothly. Follow these guidelines, and you’re sure to be organized come the big day.

In the time before Christmas you should:

  • Determine your guest list and send out invitations. (probably by e-mail at this point) Take stock of your serveware and purchase, borrow, or arrange to rent an adequate number of glasses, plates and platters.
  • Prepare a menu and grocery list. Select foods that you know you can cook and that can be prepared in advance. Measure your serving table/area and your platters, and don’t plan to serve any more items than you can comfortably fit in the serving area.
  • Survey your bar and make sure it has all the necessary spirits, mixers, and garnishes.

Three days before (Dec. 28): Decorate your home for the party. Coordinate menu items with serveware. Match serving utensils and platters, label which will be used for each menu item, and set them on the serving table (or in an out-of-the-way place) until party time.

Two days before (Dec. 29): Shop for food. Do all prep work for cooking.

One day before (Dec. 30): Cook all foods that can be made ahead of time. Clean kitchen thoroughly. Set the dinner table. Set up out-of-the-way spot, in your basement or garage, to stack dirty pots and pans during the party.

Day of party (Dec. 31): Complete any final food preparation. Set up the bar. Move serveware onto kitchen counters, ready for use. Make sure dishwasher is empty and ready for reloading. Plan to walk away from your kitchen two hours before the party to get yourself dressed and to relax before guests arrive.

30 minutes before party time: Turn on the music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and relax! Now the fun begins.

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