Ringing in the New Year; Hello, 2021!

What do you get when you put together an event planner that is unemployed during a pandemic and a great desire to celebrate the end of 2020? A New Year's Eve non-party party for the people already in the house!

The end of this year marks 8 months of unemployment- the longest I've been unemployed since I graduated high school. 2020 sure has been a unique year, and not working on events has started to take its toll on me and clearly prove that I was in the right field. So I decided to treat the coming of the new year like an event to give myself a project to focus on to fill my event planning void.

My Plan

First, I decided on my color palette: black, silver, gold, and white. Second, I decided I wanted to go a bit classier in the look (but while not blowing my budget). And third, I decided that I wanted to make all the food, and I wanted the full spread to be entirely vegan and vegetarian recipes!

I then decided to focus the décor to one room, the living room, to create a more immersive area instead of spreading out the decorations through-out the house. The decorations fell into two different categories: purchase/thrifted and DIY'd.

Purchased & Thrifted Décor

  • "2021" golden balloons from a local dollar store

  • Helium tank and assorted balloons

  • Golden foil tassel banner we already owned

  • Short foil table skirt

  • Black and metallic gold crepe paper

  • Tradition NYE décor from Party City: top hat, noise maker, party hat

  • Re-used thrifted golden frames and mirrors (from my Alice in Wonderland-inspired Sweet 16)

  • White light strand

  • Spray painted wine bottle

DIY'd Decor

  • 'Happy New Year' Banner - Depending on the size and aesthetic of the banner you need, sometime making your banner is most cost effective. For this banner, I purchased a large plain gold pennant banner from Party City. You can always cut out the pennants yourself, but for the size I was looking for, I would have spent more on individual pieces of gold paper from the craft store to create it. From there you can either hand draw or print out (like I did) your individual letters. I then cut them out and simply attached one to each triangle. And ta-da!, you have celebratory banner!

  • Wall Stars - One of the cheapest decorations in the room was the collection of stars and circles taped to the walls. I found a star shape I liked online and printed it out in 3 different sizes on plain card stock to create my templates. I then purchased a few sheets of sparkly paper in my theme colors from Michaels, traced my templates, and cut out all the shapes. I was then able to attach them to wall with painters tape and easily fill larger blank areas. Yes, cutting out all the shapes is a time-consuming process, but sometimes these items are more expensive to purchase and you can't always find the style or color you're looking for. To achieve the best look, you want a variety of styles and sizes so everything on the wall doesn't look incredibly uniform.

  • 2021 - There are dozen places that you can purchase letters and numbers from, but I decided to just print out my four numbers on card stock in a font I liked and cut them out. Once they were cut out I added sparkles I already owned and they were ready to be added to the wall.

The Food

I've been vegetarian for a little over 2 years at this point, but I like to test myself and see how many recipes I can make vegan instead- so that's what I decided to do for this entire party! I wanted to create a menu that offered everything from appetizers to dessert, looked elegant, but contained no meat-products. I crafted most items for the menu, but was gifts the mousse, spinach dip, and donuts to add to the buffet.


Caramelized Onion & Apple Tarts

Guacamole & Salsa

Spinach Dip*

Antipasto Skewers with Tortellini, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil*

Soup, Salad & Sides

Gazpacho Shooters

Arugula Salad with a Ginger-Dijon Dressing, Pomegranate Seeds, and Red Onion

Garlic Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes


Veggie Burger Sliders with Fried Onion Straws


Vegan Chocolate Mousse with SoDelicious CocoWhip

Spiced Mini Donuts*

Cinnamon-Apple Roses

Lemon Blueberry Cake

(The items denoted with a (*) are vegetarian and contain dairy, eggs, and/or cheese products.)

As for the presentation, I created my menu first and then decided what specialized dishes and serving utensils I needed to make everything on the table look elegant. Once I wrote down how I ideally wanted to set the buffer, I went to a local thrift store to find the items I needed. 95% of the dishes on that table were thrifted for a little over $20! In addition to finding the dishes the food would be in, I wanted to make sure I also had trays to place all the dishes on. By layering with trays, I was able to elevate the look of the buffet. I also decided to find dishes that were either glass, plain white, or silver to keep everything relatively uniform and in theme. By using real glassware instead of plastic, single-use items, you can easily make a simple spread look more put together and elegant.

For a time when gatherings weren't appropriate and we were coming off a year like none other, I loved having a little celebration that said, "Congrats, you and your family are healthy and you made it through a tough year!" Adding a little fun and elegance to a night that would have been like any other at home gave the end of our year a little sparkle. I highly recommend throwing your family a little elegant party every once in a while, because being alive is always something worth celebrating!

Cheers to 2021!