Darcy Miller, author of Celebrate Everything!, shares her expert tips for breaking the ice and popping the champagne

By Mackenzie Schmidt
Updated December 29, 2016 02:04 PM
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Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Bryan Gardner

“Appreciating the last year, looking forward to the next, spending time with people you care about, and hugging and kissing your family.” Darcy Miller‘s New Year’s Eve #goals seem simple enough. But the editor-at-large of Martha Stewart Weddings and author of the new book Celebrate Everything! has a few more tricks up her sleeve when it comes to throwing a flawless and (most importantly!) fun New Year’s bash.

“Any great New Year’s Eve party starts with the people you love (including newcomers), fun activities that look back on the past year and help you look forward to the next one, a great playlist and delicious food,” Miller says. “It’s all about using what you have and adding a couple inexpensive touches.”

Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Donna Newman

1. Spell It Out! Her fabulous and free go-to takes a cue from those goofy New Year’s eyeglasses: Putting anything in the shape of 2017. She suggests votive candles, bud vases with flowers, or cupcakes. The latter is also one of her “four C’s” for a great party — confetti, cupcakes, champagne and confections — all of which are musts for the grand finale of your holiday season.

2. Let the Confetti Flow. “A pinch of confetti makes everything a bit more festive,” Miller says. “Add it to the table, trays, favors or even inside a piñata!” If you’re serving a meal at your fête, line the dining table with the glittery sprinkles, and add crowns, hats, and noise makers to your place settings.

Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Bryan Gardner

3. Embrace Some Non-Cheesy Ice Breakers. Especially if your crowd is a blend of old and new friends and family, embracing some silly activities together will make everyone feel welcome. Make guests mix and mingle with a game of Who Am I?, advises Miller. “Write the names of notable people like Simone Biles, Adele, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Michelle Obama” on blank cards, “put one on everyone’s back and have them ask others yes or no questions to guess who they are. Or, apply the same pop-culture approach to charades or trivia.

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Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Bryan Gardner

4. Make Your Resolutions a Party Game. Have your guests write down their resolutions on these cute cards (print the template on darcymillerdesigns.com), then read them aloud and have everyone guess whose is whose. “We do this every year and it’s always so fun,” says Miller.

5. Throw It Way Back with Cootie Catchers. No crafting skills necessary! Just print out Miller’s NYE Fortune Teller template and get to prophesying. Forget how to fold one of these bad boys? The instructions are on her site too.

Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Bryan Gardner
Credit: Darcy Miller Designs/Bryan Gardner

6. Gift Something They’ll Use . . . Before Midnight! While Miller advises party favors aren’t a necessity at New Year’s. (After all, who’s thinking of a goody bag in the wee hours of January 1?) But if you do want to provide a little something, she says “I love the idea of dressing up a bottle. It’s easy and it’s a toast and a favor all in one.” Get the how-to for Miller’s decked out version, complete with a party blower and duh, confetti.