Make this celebration one to remember.

By Nashia Baker
December 15, 2020
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With COVID-19 mandates and travel restrictions still in place as a new year comes around the corner, your annual festivities will likely be held in a more intimate setting than usual. Even if the party you normally throw will be going virtual, the perks (especially your loved ones staying safe and healthy) will be well worth it. According to Brittany Ward, the lead planner and virtual event producer for Modern Rebel, not only will an online celebration allow in-person ones to pick back up sooner than later next year, but you will also get to connect with more people globally than you would otherwise by having a digital fest.

Seniors toasting with glasses at a virtual holiday party with family
Credit: Manmarumaki / Getty Images

"Even though we're staying indoors to be respectful and responsible, we can still have some fun while flattening the curve," Megan Miller, the marketing and communications lead at mmhmm, says. By celebrating virtually, you can still play games, have midnight toasts, and create fun backgrounds with your video conferencing app of choice. Plus, you can even transport yourself to your favorite destinations with a digital-only platform. "Create Times Square in your living room and share your excitement with a Polo video that can make you feel like you're together in the same room," Vlada Bortnik, the CEO and cofounder of Marco Polo, shares. "Another benefit of celebrating virtually is that you get to be more authentic and get to travel (virtually) to New Year's celebrations all over the world." Need more ideas to create a virtual New Year's Eve party? Stay tuned. Ahead, we get more tips from these experts to plan a celebration to remember.

Decide on the platform and guest list.

Before you hit the ground running for your virtual party planning, make sure you start by choosing the best digital platform for your festivities and creating a guest list, Ward says. "Send out your online invites via email or using a site like Paperless Post," she notes. "Also, decide if you want to keep it to people in your own time zone or open it up to everyone across the country or globe!" With some teleconferencing apps, you can do all of this at one time.

"With Marco Polo, you can create a group and invite everyone to share their celebration whenever they may be ringing the bell," Bortnik says. "You can share the link for the group with your whole family or group of friends so they can all experience everyone's celebration."

Set the tone.

"Choose attire and virtual backgrounds to fit whatever mood you're going for," Miller says. "If you're feeling extra fancy, dress up and use mmhmm to place yourself virtually on a yacht or in a Michelin-starred restaurant." If you opt for a more casual affair, that's perfect for the festivities, too. Bortnik notes that as long as guests are present in the moment, the party will be smooth sailing.

Don't be afraid to get festive and share decorations you already have on deck in your home, either. "You can mail guests party favors like 2021 glasses, party hats, noise makers, and mini bottles of champagne or sparkling cider," Ward adds.

Make a menu for the night.

Round up some ideas and put them in an itinerary for the night ahead—including some delicious recipes. "Choose a recipe ahead of time to share with your friends and family so that everyone can make the dish while still chatting over video (or even having a glass of wine!) and share their results," Miller shares. "If you're feeling a bit competitive, choose a judge to pick the winner." In addition to dishes, Ward says you can make a signature cocktail or mocktail while everybody spends time together, too.

Play games and activities.

Pick out some of your go-to games for your virtual celebration. "For example, you could do trivia and set up a slideshow beforehand with the questions to present in the background," Miller says. Put a twist on your trivia with a "2020 year in review" edition. This way you can prompt questions related to everyone's New Year's resolutions, favorite memories from 2020, the growth they've noticed within themselves during the year, and what they are thankful for, Bortnik suggests.

Count down to the new year.

"Times are tough, but seeing your family and friends on video and planning something special will make this strange New Year's one for the books," Miller says. So, coordinate in advance to start counting down to the new year depending on the time zones of everyone in your group. You can even still tune in for the annual New York City Times Square ball drop (just minus the crowds). "Encourage your group to share their reactions when the ball drops during their respective time zones," Bortnik notes.

Lastly, make sure to commemorate positive times from the year and capture the moment once you reach the new year. "Make a slideshow of photos from celebratory moments from the year (quarantine birthdays, virtual graduations and weddings, baby announcements)," Ward suggests. "Keep the memories going by taking a group screenshot photo together."

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