Art of Chill Holidays

3…2…1! Your Guide to a Chill & Memorable New Year’s Eve Party

A relaxed countdown that involves zero chaos.

December 31, 2018
Photo by Pexels

It's the most wonderful time of the year—so bring on the comfort & joy, we say. In The Art of Chill Holidays, we'll show you how we keep celebrations low-key, with festive decor tricks, clever time-saving tips, and scrumptious spreads of snacks (always snacks!).

If you’re over the rowdy New Year’s Eve parties, we’re with you. Sometimes it’s fun to dress up and go out with the crowds, but other years, hanging at home with your favorite people is much more appealing.

Even if you’re having a low-key New Year’s Eve celebration this year, you can still make your countdown to 2019 intimate and memorable. Here are several chill ways to ring in the new year right, and create a special experience for all.

Say ‘No Thanks’ to Glitter

For many people, New Year’s Eve and glitter go hand-in-hand, but glitter has a special way of getting on everything. The floor, the table, the counter, the sink, the dog—they’ll all end up with glitter on them. This sparkly craft supply has a mind of its own and makes cleanup infinitely harder, which is the opposite of chill. The moral of this story? Those gold, glittery decorations and confetti cannons may be tempting, but they’re not worth the weeklong glitter hunt that follows.

Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to stray from the traditional black-and-gold theme? We’re kind of crushing on the idea of more muted, cozy decorations—like this chic fringe tassel garland or neutral-colored paper lanterns. Don’t forget the buckets of Champagne!

Cook Smarter, Not Harder

Yes, you need some food and libations for your chill New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a week in the kitchen prepping. Minimize your stress and enjoy the holiday with these low-effort meals, instead.

What’s a party without a cheese plate to pick at? We’ve got you covered with tips on creating an unforgettable cheese board, straight from a cheese expert. If you want to jazz things up a bit, use a fancy serving plate like these matte black hex boards.

If you’re doing a sit-down dinner, you can’t go wrong with our top-rated Betty Wason's Basic Pot Roast. It takes just a few minutes to prep, then you let it cook for five hours in the slow-cooker—it truly couldn’t be easier.

For dessert? Chill out with Sheet-Pan Sugar Cookies, which are topped with a delectable cream cheese frosting. Oh, and don’t forget to whip up a bowl of Bowery Punch for everyone to dip into.

Enjoy Chill Activities

If everyone wants to just hang out and talk, that’s perfect! No need to force people to play games or make resolutions if they’re having a good time. However, if you want to have a few activities in your back pocket, just in case, we’ve got some ideas.

You can encourage people to reflect on the past year with these easy conversation starters from Alice & Lois. All you have to do is print the cards out—each one has a thoughtful prompt like “the best piece of advice you got this year” to get people to share happy memories.

Board games are another fun, low-key activity that people can participate in—or not! Some of our favorites include Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Codenames. If you’re looking for a more rowdy game, Cards Against Humanity is a classic that will keep everyone laughing until the countdown.

If board games aren't your jam, grab the nearest large branch and create a beautiful centerpiece that doubles as an icebreaker (watch the video here to find out how).

Create Countdown Bags

Another easy way to keep everyone entertained is with “countdown bags.” Basically, you have a bag to open each hour until midnight, and each contains a little goodie, whether it’s a delicious snack, a game to play, lip scrub for your midnight kisses (ha!), or 2019 glasses for everyone to wear.

This is a great way to keep kids entertained, but it can be fun for adults, too. You can easily create adorable little baggies out of paper lunch bags with this template from So Festive, and you can make as many or as few as you want. It all depends on how you’re feeling—that’s the beauty of a chill NYE.

How will you be counting down to the new year? Let us know below!

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Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.