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6 Cool Ways to Celebrate the New Year

We promise: there's not an ugly holiday sweater in sight.

Color Parties. Credit: Shutterstock
Color Parties. Credit: Shutterstock
For years ugly sweater parties have been the go-to theme for celebrating everything from Christmas to store openings to concert performances. Now that major retailers are in on the joke, ugly sweaters aren't even ugly anymore. And what's the point of an ugly sweater that's not ugly? Now that's ironic. (Too bad we can't claim the end of these.)

With so much attention paid to our collective ugly sweater party moment, New Year's Eve themes seemed an afterthought of noisemakers and tinsel crowns. No more. Revel in 2014's shift from ironic to high end and add a touch of elegance to your soiree. Throw a Chinese-themed event celebrating the Year of the Wood Horse, or add a black-and-white photo booth to the mix in honor of the selfie. Think you'll miss the competitive spirit from those ugly sweater parties? Host a color party and ask guests to come dressed in the color you've chosen. Give a prize to the guest with the best color-themed ensemble.

Read on for unique New Year's Eve party themes:

Color Parties
With ugly sweater parties so last year, color parties are in. Celebrate the New Year by embracing 2014's color of the year, radiant orchid, by coloring your champagne, food and decor in the purplish-pink hue. For those who loved the challenge of the ugly sweater party, there's no loss in color parties. Challenge guests to wear the color and give a prize to the best ensemble.  


Photo Opp

2013 was the year of the selfie, with the word earning a spot in the hallowed Oxford Dictionary. The selfie eliminates any doubt that we all love ourselves, so kick off the New Year with some photo booth action right in your own home. Pick a part of your home with a photo-worthy backdrop, place a bench or a couple of chairs in front of it and set your iPad to photo booth mode in black and white. Let partygoers click away. Before everyone leaves, print out the images on photo paper and hand them out as party favors. 


Food for Luck

Spaniards eat 12 grapes at midnight for 12 months of good luck. Serves guests foods from around the world that bring good luck for a guaranteed good year. 


Year of the Wood Horse

2014 is the Year of the Wood Horse according to the Chinese calendar. Celebrate the New Year with Chinese food and elegant decor with a rustic twist. Serve food on wooden trays and hang wooden horse ornaments around your home. 


Resolution Party

What would New Year's be without resolutions? A lot more fun. Celebrate the need for a little less pressure in our lives by hosting a resolutions party. Pass out slips of paper for guests to write down their New Year's resolutions, then take a ceremonial turn at throwing them all in a bonfire or the fireplace. Watch your stress go up in smoke. 


Small Plate Parties

Eating small food on small plates is a joy and New Year's Eve is the perfect time to feast on gorgeous finger foods. 


More from Kitchen Daily: 
New Year's Dinner: Steakhouse Filet Mignon Recipe
The Secret to Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes


TELL US: Are you throwing a theme party on New Year's Eve? Share your party plans in the comments. 

This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 

Diane December 31, 2013 at 04:23 PM
An Italian Mediterranean foods party is what will be the theme for this New Years Eve. There will be lots of vegetable based antipasti, such as Pinzimonio, which is a variety of raw vegetables olives and a luscious olive oil to dip into. My contribution will be Fricos - Cheese crisps, from A TUSCAN TABLE The Secrets of Three Generations of Tuscan Family Cooking by Diane (DeAnna) Johnson These are wonderful by themselves served with wine or served with toasted Italian or French Bread. They are best served warm. Fricos - Cheese crisps 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano Cheese Place several tablespoon sized mounds of grated cheese in a skillet, as many as comfortably fit with about 2 inches of space around each cheese mound. Gently flatten them with a spatula: there should still be an inch of space around each frico. Cook a minute or two. Run a spatula under the edges to loosen it from the skillet. Remove from the heat and let them harden a little. Carefully turn them over and return to the heat for a minute or so until the cheese is firm. Remove from the heat, and gently transfer to an oven proof serving platter. Place in a warm oven until you are ready to serve them. Buon Appetito! Diane (Deanna) Johnson

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