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Toast the New Year before midnight with the Midday Eve Party

Don’t want to stay up until midnight on the last day of the year? Families, early sleepers and those wishing to socially distance might consider a midday celebration for Dec. 31.

It’s easy to bring the festive feeling of a late night party into the daylight hours at home.

SET THE MOOD

First, keep your circle small, per coronavirus health guidelines. “The safest way to celebrate the New Year is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you or virtually with your friends and family,” advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One way to combine a sparkly New Year’s vibe with a daytime vibe is to host a British-style tea party, suggests Maria Lucia, designer and stylist at online service Decorist. Ask everyone, including those online, to wear fun hats, tiaras or crowns, and consider getting personalized masks.

“Decorate hallways with a mix of silver and gold patterns and solids,” says Lucia. “The mix of whimsical and traditional will give the party a unique look that is suitable for all ages.”


Decorations can include safe LED flameless candles; confetti; fairy lights, hanging or in glass containers; and plates and balloons with an iridescent disco or mirror ball atmosphere.

Or take a sunnier approach. Martha Stewart Living editor Lorna Aragon suggests ditching the glitz and glamor of midnight revelry.

“Start the day fresh, ‘ready for the New Year,'” she says. “A colorful tablecloth, table runner and fresh flowers are a good choice.” Choose different shades of the same color (she likes green for renewal) for flowers, linens and candles.

Sarah Wentworth of Ivy Paige Parties in Meridian, Idaho has a downloadable template for a “Lunch Brunch of the Year” venue or buffet card.

If you’re having your little party outdoors, have plenty of blankets and pillows on hand.

WHAT TO DO?

Depending on your timing, you can still ring in the new year with noisemakers as the clock strikes 12 in other countries around the world.

New York wedding and event planner Marcy Blum suggests collecting everyone’s New Year’s resolutions on pieces of paper, putting them in a bowl, then reading them one by one, guessing who is who. Online guests could send resolutions in advance or enter them in a chat.

You can also ask everyone to suggest or offer one thing that would go into a group time capsule.

EAT DRINK AND BE HAPPY

“A daytime NYE party should always be special and celebratory,” says Greg Lofts, associate editor of Martha Stewart Living. “For drinks, bubbles are a must, even if alcohol isn’t, to set the party mood. Make a mocktail as your featured drink.”

“For a quick and easy idea,” he says, “brew and chill some hibiscus tea, then mix it over ice with a squeeze of lime and high-quality ginger beer.”

Blum suggests Bloody Marys for a midday party, in Mason-style jars.

Later, she says, you can replace the booze with hot chocolate by arranging prepackaged mixes, wrapped chocolate spoons and festive mugs.

For Lucia’s high tea, consider mini sandwiches, dessert bites on tiered trays, iced teas, or hot teas.

ENTERTAIN KIDS

Fondue is an entertaining way to feed the youngest members of the family, says interior and event designer Kate Spiro from New York.

“Try toasting with champagne flutes filled with milk, accompanied by homemade cookies,” she adds. Acrylic or stemless glasses might be safer for little hands.

Spiro also suggests fruit smoothies or non-alcoholic sparkling cider.

Lofts says its years of experience catering to children and adults “taught me that the most valuable, sophisticated and labor-intensive hors d’oeuvres will never be as popular than pigs in a blanket with ketchup and mustard to dip.

“Make up a dip or two, like sour cream ranch and herb green goddess, and serve with a giant platter of kid-friendly veggies (think carrot and celery sticks and mini peppers) and crackers” , he said.

Kim Cook writes about homes and design for The Associated Press.