20 New Year's Eve Party Ideas To Start 2023 In Style

Who wouldn’t want to RSVP to a cozy NYE pajama party?

champagne punch

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

Ringing in the New Year isn’t something you want to do spontaneously! No, deciding how you want to celebrate the arrival of the New Year is very much a planned activity. After all, there are plenty of New Year’s traditions to partake in—from burning a wish and stocking your pantry to eating your black-eyed peas and greens—and parties to be had.

Need a little inspiration for this year’s bash? We've rounded up 20 New Year’s Eve party ideas ranging from casual pajama gatherings and game nights to elegant sit-down dinners and adventures on the town. With this list of creative dress codes, themes, and party ideas, we have something to please every guest on your list. 

01 of 20

Lean Into a Vintage Theme

Pastel and Gold Thanksgiving Table Setting
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Produced; Page Mullins

What’s old is considered cool, right? Take inspiration from The Great Gatsby and the early seasons of Netflix’s The Crown to influence this year’s NYE hop. Allow the show or book to influence your party decor and dress code. Our suggestion? Keep foods simple, serving holiday finger foods and a special house cocktail such as a retro rum punch

02 of 20

Host a Game Night

4 women playing a table game
Emilee Prado

Let’s face it—only the adults make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. This being so, host a friendly adult game night before the big ball drops. Play games such as get-to-know-you games as well as guessing games to pass the hours before midnight. 

03 of 20

Dine Al Fresco

Backyard courtyard with outdoor fireplace and Christmas tree
Marta Pérez; Styling: Vero Designs

NYE in the South isn't chilly for all! If temps are comfortable in your area, consider inviting friends over for a dinner party in the backyard. You can do up the patio table in the decor you'd use in a formal dining room for a casual-meets-chic night "out."

04 of 20

Make a Travel Bucket List

Bardstown Bourbon Company Kitchen and Bar


If you’re opting for a calm NYE night-in, host a New Year’s travel list party. The concept is simple: Take the time to pen all of the places you wish to visit in the upcoming year. Need some recommendations? Our editors have some ideas.

05 of 20

Host a Pajama Party

women in pajamas


Forget the tuxedo and sequin dress and opt for your cozy slippers and comfy pajamas instead. Since the dress code is simple, keep the menu simple by serving apple cinnamon pancakes with warm maple syrup. 

06 of 20

Invite Your Furry Friends

Sitting Room_Fran Chaiprakob
Annie Schlechter

Your dog may be tired of being left home alone during the holiday party circuit. Take New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to snuggle on the couch with your furry best friend. For a fun activity (and one they’ll love), bake them a batch of these pumpkin peanut butter dog treats. Yum!  

07 of 20

Have a Craft Night

Sohr Sunroom Decorated for Christmas
Photo: Alison Gootee; Styling: Suzonne Stirling

Fun DIY glasses and headpieces to wear while you count the seconds till the ball drops are all part of the holiday spirit. Don’t waste your money buying the generic costume props and instead host a party where everyone makes their own NYE glitzy accessories that even Dolly Parton would be jealous of. 

08 of 20

Make Some Mocktails

Berry Juniper Fizz
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

While it’s customary to toast the New Year with a Champagne flute in hand, the tradition still counts if your coupe is booze-free. If you're celebrating with all ages, or want to serve cocktails sans liquor, consider serving a menu of holiday mocktails everyone will enjoy—like this berry juniper freeze!

09 of 20

Wrap Up the Christmas Tree

Glitzy Flocked Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez

The tree has to come down eventually, right? If you’re staying home, make a game out of taking down the tree and packing the ornaments away by asking trivia questions as well as sipping on the last few drops of eggnog. 

10 of 20

Write Down Your Reflections

Write a Charming Thank-You Note
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Invite your family to sit down at the kitchen table, each equipped with their own notepad and pen. Have everyone write a list of reflections on the finishing year as well as a list of intentions for the one just beginning. It's a healthy exercise to start the new year, and one you will be glad you started. Remember to save their notes from the year prior, as everyone can take this opportunity to revisit and share what inventions they made come true. 

11 of 20

Watch a Movie

Stove-Top Bacon Popcorn
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Why go out for New Year’s when there are so many good things to stream at home? Invite friends over to watch some favorite feel-good flicks. Our personal favorites are And So It Goes on Amazon Prime and The Holiday on Hulu.  Be sure to have cozy candles and popcorn, regular as well as caramel popcorn balls on hand. 

12 of 20

Dress in Sequins

Spiced Orange-Bourbon Punch
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

For many, the arrival of NYE means the last hurrah for wearing sequins head-to-toe. Encourage guests to come dressed in their best sequin looks to shine and shimmy the night away. For festive cocktails, make a batch of punch to keep the crowd hydrated.

13 of 20

Enjoy Fondue With Friends

Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

No matter if you’re a chocolate fondue lover or a melted cheese aficionado, melting cheese or chocolate onto fruits and chips is heaven. Invite friends to gather around the holiday fondue pot to anticipate the mirror ball drop.

14 of 20

Go See the Lights

White House with Blue Accents at Christmas
Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Jenny O’Connor

New Year’s Eve is the perfect (and last chance) to drive around with friends and family to see all of the holiday lights. You can also treat this as an opportunity to wear your Christmas pajamas and blast holiday tunes.

15 of 20

Serve Only Desserts

CROP Spiked Eggnog Bundt Cake Recipe

Much like a Christmas cookie exchange party, host an NYE dessert party, where everyone brings their favorite holiday desserts. Need some baking ideas? We'd bring this butter pecan layer cake with browned butter frosting.

16 of 20

Pick a Fun Theme

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
Southern Living

Invite guests to dress in costume—Yellowstone, Roaring 20s, or decade night, anyone?—while you pass easy finger foods around along with the house's signature pomegranate champagne cocktail. Trust us: Adults love any excuse for dressing up.

17 of 20

Play Some Jazz

Dining Room with Built in Bookshelves
Paul Costello; Styling: Howard Christian

NYE calls for some jazz music, so have folks dress in their snazzy holiday attire while you stream tunes of Southern jazz legends such as Teddy Willson, Mary Lou Williams, and Harry Connick Jr. Pair the ambiance with a jazzy beverage, such as this last-word fizz cocktail

18 of 20

Take a Group Shot

Cristina Lynch of Mi Golondrina Holiday Party Porch Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Paige Morse

There is no shame in that you already have a list of New Year’s captions for Instagram saved in the notes section of your phone. Curating a social media-worthy photo backdrop can turn your shindig from reality to virtual reality with one click. We love the idea of keeping this more natural, framing the scene with something like this stunning fireplace. Just make sure everyone is in the group shot—you'll be glad to have it for your own personal yearbook.

19 of 20

Recreate a Favorite Movie

Hot Buttered Rum Bread Pudding
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Whether you were around for the primetime airing of the hit sitcom Dallas or not is still up for debate. However, the show’s iconic 80’s fashion (big shoulders and big Texas hair) is very in-vogue. Encourage guests to dress in the best 80’s inspired clothing, with a Southern twist. As for you, the hostess? We encourage you to serve hot butter rum pudding for dessert. 

20 of 20

Enjoy Your Favorite Comfort Foods

Basic Pimiento Cheese

Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

If you’ve been craving warm Southern comfort food, serve just that. Ask each guest to bring their favorite comfort dish (along with the recipe) to start the year with our favorite activity: a good, old-fashioned potluck.

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