12 Ways You Can Be Everyone's Favorite New Year's Eve Guest

Invited to a New Year's Eve party? Read on for party etiquette tips that will help you have a fun night and score an invitation next year.

New Year's Eve Party Set-up
Photo: Stanton Stephens/Getty Images

New Year's Eve is a time for celebrating and letting loose, but it's still important to be a thoughtful party guest. From bringing drinks and snacks, to playing music, to making sure guests get home safely, there are plenty of ways to be a good New Year's Eve party guest. Read on for our best advice.

1. Respond to the Invite Either Way

Promptly let your host know you'll be attending, this not only shows your enthusiasm, but it also helps your host with planning. If you can't attend, also let them know by thanking them for the invite and wishing them well for the coming new year.

2. Check the Dress Code

Unlike other holidays, the dress code for New Year's Eve parties can vary wildly, from costumes to black tie to completely casual. Ask the host what everyone will be wearing and find out whether the party will be held indoors or outside. You won't want to miss out on a fun backyard bonfire if you're shivering in a party dress.

3. Arrive on Time, But Not Early

Arrive within 15 minutes of the party's start time. Don't show up early, however, as it potentially puts the host in rushed state.

4. Buy a Good Bottle of Bubbly

"Good" doesn't necessarily mean expensive. If your budget is limited, you can find plenty of delicious bottles for $12 to $15. Go to a wine store for expert advice and the most options—grocery stores tend to carry only a few brands. And don't limit yourself to Champagne. Cava and prosecco are wonderful sparkling wines and are generally less expensive.

5. Help With Snacks

It's always polite to ask "What can I bring?" and New Year's Eve is no exception. Even if the host says nothing, it's nice to bring a simple snack that can be served as-is or enjoyed as a host or hostess gift when the party's over. Spiced nuts, snack mix, or flavored popcorn are crowd-pleasing, grab-and-eat ideas that can be easily scaled up or down, depending on the size of the party.

6. Play DJ

If music's your thing, offer to curate a party playlist through a streaming service, or hook up your phone to the host's stereo and play DJ for the night—with permission, of course. (It's also a great way to get conversations going if you don't know anyone at the party.)

7. Bring Something Silly

As the night goes on, New Year's Eve parties can get a little crazy and sometimes props help. Raid the dollar store or a party supply store for party hats, horns, sparklers, masks, and confetti. Or bring a deck of tarot cards to predict what the year ahead will bring.

8. Celebrate, But Maybe Not Limitlessly

New Year's Eve is renowned for overindulgence, so if you plan on celebrating with a buzz make sure not to overdo it, warns etiquette expert Candace Smith, "falling down drunk" is a nightmare for the host, guests, and your head the next morning.

9. Offer Your Services

Lend a hand to your host by offering help, and, according to the Emily Post Institute, be specific about what you can do instead of the vague, "Let me know if I can help."

10. Say Goodbye When It's Time to Exit

When it's time to go, say goodbye and thank your host on your way out. Just note, leaving too early can be seen as a snub to the host, while lingering around too long may cause annoyance.

"If an event has a start and end time listed on the invitation, you should expect to stay for the whole thing," writes Southern Living Feature's Editor Betsy Cribb in her etiquette guide to exiting parties. "The hosts have likely planned out activities accordingly, and to leave early would be to snub their efforts."

If the party is open-ended, look for signals that the party is winding down—lights brightened, cleaning up, and music turned down are all clues, writes Claire Bahn, a personal branding consultant.

11. Make Sure People Get Home Safely

Whether you're calling Uber or a cab, help the host make sure everyone gets home safely—including you.

12. Say Thank You

It's tempting to sleep off your haze on New Year's Day, but be sure to thank the host for a fun night the next day. You don't have to send a formal letter in the mail. A quick text message or email only takes a few minutes to send and is always appreciated.

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