If you're ringing in the new year with a party at home, you want to be the host with the most (or the hostess with the mostest).

But a good gathering requires good planning, so BC Almanac guest host Jodie Martinson spoke to wine writer, educator and presenter Michaela Morris for her advice on how to make your New Year's Eve pop like a champagne cork.

"Just keeping things simple is really the key thing," she said. "I've been doing New Year's Eve parties myself for 10 years, and I just have to get in the mindset to relax, and do a few things ahead of time."

Morris outlined a few key things to plan for, to keep your party enjoyable for everyone — including yourself.

  • You can entertain on a budget and it doesn't have to be complicated.
    "Doing things that are simple, one pot, looking at proteins that are less expensive … maybe sticking with something like chicken. You can still make it really flavourful by adding some nice spice to it."
  • And wine doesn't need to be expensive either.
    "There are plenty of great budget sparkling wine options, like Cava from Spain, that I would pour if the crowd is bigger or money is tight."
  • Don't fret over the invite list.
    "I really am of the mind, 'the more the merrier,' and if someone doesn't have a place to go, they're welcome with my friends. … Obviously space and food might be an issue, but that's where you can adjust and have something a little bit easier like a charcuterie plate."
  • Looking to break the ice? Try playing some party games.
    "I absolutely love games. Sometimes they might be cheesy, the way cheese fondue is a throwback. Things like Charades, or if you're music fans you could play Name That Tune. These games don't cost anything at all, and they're all really about giggles. As soon as people start laughing, I think you make that connection."
  • Keep drinking responsible.
    "It comes down to planning ahead. The designated driver is great, but sometimes things go south, and that person wants to drink. … It can be difficult to get a cab just after midnight, so you might want to have it in your mind that you'll be staying a little bit longer. I think it's up to the host to keep those games going, maybe to put on some tea or coffee, maybe put on a funny movie, or a comedy show that's going to keep people entertained."

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Tips to make your New Year's Eve party fun and headache-free