Say goodbye to 2021 in style.

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Friends celebrating at party on rooftop
Credit: alvarez / Getty Images

After the frenzy of planning and preparing for November's and December's holidays, throwing together a New Year's Eve party at the last-minute can mean a generic aesthetic: lots of black and metallics, Champagne glass-shaped décor, and hats and glasses emblazoned with the new year to come. But putting a more creative spin on your gathering allows you to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new with thought and care. "Everyone loves a good theme party," says event planner Gail Johnson. "It is a great way to bring all of your unique party ideas together—starting with the invitations, which set the tone of your party." Johnson shares three of her favorite ideas for festive New Year's Eve themes that make your party memorable—and one firm don't: "Never throw a glitter-themed New Year's Eve party," she says. "This may sound good in theory, but it is something that should be best saved for a children's event."

Charcuterie Soirée

Replace a full meal with a selection of creative charcuterie boards designed with presentation in mind, offering bite-size meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, dips, snacks, and sweets laid out in pretty arrangements. "A charcuterie board is a great crowd-pleaser because these stylish cheese boards are so versatile," says Johnson. "This late-night meal is light, filling, and fits the bill for even the picky eater." She recommends a "winter white" dress code, which gives your party a cozy après-ski vibe.

Breakfast for Dinner

Say goodbye to the old year and ring in the new with an upscale take on breakfast favorites, which work both as late-night snacks and early-morning noshes. "Breakfast is my favorite meal no matter what time of day," says Johnson. "It would be my first choice for a New Year's Eve party." Serve mini versions—or a full buffet—of all your favorites: pancakes, chicken and waffles, bacon, fruit skewers, French toast bites, quiche, fried potatoes, croissants, and bagels. Whatever you do, don't forget the mimosa bar. "You may be inclined to wear pajamas," says Johnson, "but the dress code should be classically chic."

Bohemian "Bochella"

Relaxed elegance is the key phrase when designing a Coachella-themed New Year's Eve party: Think low-key dress code, family-style fare, and lots of natural textures and fabrics. "Coachella has inspired everything boho, from clothing to décor to food," says Johnson. "Your free-spirited creative party lovers will love this New Year's Eve theme. Starting with an area rug, a low table with tons of pillows, and dried florals, the possibilities are endless. Comfy clothing is a must—flowy maxi dress, tunics, and jeans."

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