Remember New Years 2020/21? When we were all so full of hope for the following year? “It can’t be any worse than the year we’ve just had”, well for most people, 2021 hasn’t lived up to our hopes.

So why not say “Good riddance” to another bad year and welcome 2022 in style with a New Year’s Eve party…!

OK, so with the way things are with the growth of the Omicron variant you’d be forgiven for thinking that it may just be too much hassle. After all, is it worth the risk to plan a big blow out only for the next government announcement to shut it down at the 11th hour?

But we’re a resilient and resourceful bunch down here. So with a little bit of planning we can have a good time despite the current challenges.

Venue

  • Nightlife – The night-time economy has suffered over the last 2 years, the festive season is traditionally a lucrative time for bars and nightclubs. Heading out on the town should be a much-needed shot in the arm for the region’s venues. They’ll take care of a lot of the hard work, from décor to washing up whilst ensuring a great atmosphere. And if you’re not really feeling the vibe then just move on to the next spot.

Some of this year’s news stories could lead you into thinking that Devon is not a safe place to venture out at night. But according to the ONS the South West as a region is still one of the safest in the country.

  • Home – Throwing a party at home comes with plenty of benefits: you know where everything is, you don’t have far to crawl to get to bed, you’ll have control over who comes, and you can really put your stamp on the night.

A cocktail party is a great way of getting rid of any booze that you may have left over from Christmas. And if you have a dinner party at home then any leftovers mean that you won’t have to cook on new years day. Whatever party you plan to have at home just be sure to inform your neighbours beforehand.

  • Other – We are lucky enough to have a good stock of hireable venues who would be more than happy to host your party for you. For a memorable private party, look at some less obvious locations such as an aquarium or a theme park. Just be aware that they will usually charge a premium on NYE.
  • Street parties – Looe and Kingsand/Cawsand in Cornwall are some of the best places in the country for New Years Eve parties. The fancy dress street parties are legendary and are usually rammed. If you’re looking for a more covid safe party then these could be a great option – if you take proper precautions of course. Oh and wrap up warm cos they can be collllld….
  • Virtual / hybrid – Keep in mind that some people on your invite list may still be a little unsure about gathering in large numbers. The technology available now compared to 2 years ago is staggering. Zoom quizzes were all the rage back at the start of lockdown 1, but now we can do so much more.

How about a Facetime wine tasting? A portal murder-mystery? Teams karaoke? A Disney+ GroupWatch or good old fashioned online gaming give you the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and share an experience without having to physically meet. Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to ensure that old acquaintances are not forgotten.

Themes

Theming a party is a great way to get attendees out of their comfort zones whilst creating a more playful atmosphere.

However, most themes for parties have been done to death by now: 70’s disco? Saints & sinners? 007? We’ve seen them all and they usually require a lot of specific costumes and decorations that you’ll probably only use once.

Besides, wearing a mask can really ruin the illusion created by a well thought out caveman costume. That’s not to say that you should side-line themes altogether. Combining themes can put a new spin on them, Pyjama party from the future? Sports-Goth banquet? Post-apocalyptic gameshow? Your theme could also influence the food, drink, and activities that you have on offer.

Timings

It’s easy to get bogged down in the timings of a NYE party which can cause un-necessary stress and cost, but the timing can be adjusted to suit your situation.

Got small kids? Start at noon! Working on the 31st? Do it in mid-January!

Keep in mind your reason for throwing the party in the first place, if the fun’s being drained out of the festivities by punctuality then don’t be afraid to be flexible.

The one staple of an NYE party is the countdown to midnight, that time when we all cheer our collective ability to count down from 10.

Don’t worry about being too specific when it comes to the timing of this, if you have kids (or adults) who are starting to flag just do the countdown early. Or if you’ve got so engrossed in the conversation that you miss midnight, that’s fine too, just start counting down, everyone will be happy to join in.

Considerations

  • Legal – Make sure your new year headache only comes from partying too hard – not legal issues! If in doubt, check with your local licensing team. One rule of thumb is that if you’re charging for anything, you’ll need to get some paperwork in place to do so. This could be a temporary event notice (TENS) to allow you to sell alcohol, or possibly a PRS licence to play music. In the run up to the big night it will pay to pay close attention to government guidelines, you don’t want the police knocking down your door because you had too many different households mixing over a rowdy game of Pictionary.
  • Covid – Regardless of what you’re planning it’s a good idea to keep up the regular testing. We’ve been doing it for ages now and with the new Omicron variant on the rise it’s more important than ever. Be sure to remain vigilant and avoid inadvertently spreading anything nasty. If you’re due for your booster it may be an idea to get it sooner than later so you can ride out any side effects before party time. Keeping numbers down is a good way of minimising any potential outbreaks, it also keeps things more intimate than a busy night in a crowded venue.
  • The Environment – With COP26 still fresh in everyone’s minds it’s important that we keep up the momentum and try to do our bit for the environment wherever possible. Avoiding single use plastic and excessive burning of fossil fuels go without saying but there are loads of less obvious ways of reducing your carbon footprint whilst still having a good time. Have a look at where your consumables are coming from; instead of buying everything online and getting it shipped in from overseas you could look at buying direct from local producers. Or even see what there is in the local charity shops. Whether you’re reducing, re-using, recycling, refusing or repairing it all helps, you could even incorporate it in your theme.

Contingencies

The possibilities of external forces affecting your plans does remain higher than usual. One way of mitigating the affects is to throw multiple smaller events.

Having less people in attendance adds more covid safety, shrinks the impact on the environment, and reduces number of people being let down if you are forced to call things off just be aware that it could add to your stress and workload.

Regardless of what you plan it’s worth having a solid plan B, just in case… maybe a plan C too, and if things do get too tough you could always just sack it all off and have a night in watching Jools Holland.

Whatever your plans are this New Year’s Eve, try to keep it as stress free as possible, avoid causing any issues for others or the environment. And have a great time. You deserve it!