How to Keep the Party Going After New Year’s Eve

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
Cropped shot of a group of young friends having a dinner party at a restaurant

After the confetti has been thrown and the last toasts given, there comes that inevitable let down at the end of the holiday season. January brings with it that quiet calm that’s tinged with just the slightest bit of loneliness—we’re just not quite ready to let go of all the celebration bred by the last two months of partying.

Carla McDonald, better known as The Salonniere, is one of the great masters of entertaining. A former PR exec with a penchant for a great party, McDonald has chaired more than 20 gala fundraisers and is known as Austin’s queen of entertaining. Like us, she believes in keeping the party going after the holidays are over—and she was kind enough to show us how.

So, why should we keep the party going?

It’s wonderful that holidays provide a natural reason to entertain, but social gatherings play a vital role in our lives and communities—they connect and support people in meaningful ways and serve as platforms for raising funds for important charities and introducing and advancing important ideas. As such, it’s important that social gatherings take place all year long. Sure, parties are fun, but they’re also a critically important part of human existence.

What are the best kinds gatherings to host during that beginning-of the-year lull?

January parties actually tend to be pretty popular, especially for people who travel over the holidays and don’t have a chance to gather with friends. When hosting a party in January, the key thing to remember is that, by then, most people are pretty exhausted after the holidays, so small and casual gatherings—where everyone can relax and share stories about the holidays—work best.

Movie nights and game nights are great ways to entertain in January because they’re low-stress parties to host and fun for both hosts and guests. For more ambitious hosts, there are plenty of holidays in January and February that can serve as the basis for fun, themed parties: Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, National Wear Red Day, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year (2019 is the Year of the Pig).

Unique ways to get guests excited and talking around a post-holiday party?

One idea is to hold a post-holiday re-gift party, where each guest brings to the party the one gift they received over the holidays that they’d most like to exchange. This usually results in a funny final holiday-gift exchange.

Decor suggestions for a January/February soiree?

Keep it simple. Just as guests tend to feel a bit tired after attending so many holiday parties, they’ll also feel a bit overstimulated by all the bright and colorful holiday décor. Simple flowers, lots of plain white votive candles, and a roaring fire are all you need to create a wonderful and relaxing post-holiday party ambiance.

Favorite cocktails for post-holiday parties?

By January, most people are ready to “get healthy” after the holidays, so I like serving lighter, lower-calorie, veggie-based cocktails, like green juice margaritas and kale martinis. They’re delicious and a nice break from the sweet foods and drinks we tend to consume during the holidays.

We’d love some tips for making your home party ready at all times.

I suggest keeping seven things on-hand to stay party ready: wine, Champagne, nuts (Marcona almonds or cashews sprinkled with rosemary), rice crackers (in case your impromptu guests are on a gluten-free diet), and some cheese, salami, and marinated olives, so you can put together a great charcuterie platter with ease.

Let's Keep This Party Going

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