December 31: an evening for celebration, festivity and perhaps a touch of elegance. Whether you’re throwing a formal gala or a casual fete, these decorating ideas are black-tie-only special.
- Wow your guests before they even step inside your home! Create stunning ice globe luminaries to line your driveway, the pathway to the front door, or anywhere you wish for a magical touch. Here’s how:
- You’ll need 12” or larger balloons and votive candles.
- Fill a balloon with water by placing the lip of the balloon over the faucet. Fill it slowly and hold one hand beneath it as it fills. Try to fill it as fully as possible without it breaking. Tie the balloon as you normally would.
- Place the filled balloon in a bowl just large enough so that about three-quarters of the balloon is exposed while the rest sits inside the bowl.
- Set the bowl outdoors. You may want to put it on a piece of newspaper or cardboard to keep it from freezing in place.
- In freezing temperatures, the balloon should form a solid “wall” of ice in about 24 hours. Check it regularly—it’s all about how cold the weather is. You do NOT want the balloon to freeze solid—there should still be water inside.
- When it’s frozen, take it out of the bowl and carefully remove the balloon from your now-frozen globe. (You may want to do this in the sink, as water will gush out the bottom.)
- You should now have a perfect orb of ice with a hollow center. You’ll have an opening where the balloon didn’t freeze over.
- Repeat the process to make as many globes as you’d like.
- Place a votive candle inside the opening and enjoy the warm glow of your ice globe. If you prefer, use battery-operated flameless candles.
Pro Tips: Be sure to try this out well in advance of your party, as some trial and error is involved. It helps to first blow up the balloon before filling with water—this stretches it out. And if you’re not the DIY type, there are kits available that make creating ice globes easier.
In warmer climates, you can make paper bag luminaries instead. Put some sand, pebbles or dried beans in the bottoms of white paper lunch bags. Place a votive candle in each bag (flameless candles are a great idea here).
- Give the bubbly a rest this year and pop confetti-filled balloons at midnight! Use a small funnel to add confetti to clear, white, silver and/or gold balloons. Then fill the balloons with helium and tie with long ribbons. The balloons will sparkle and shine from the ceiling during the party. When the clock strikes 12, give each guest a pin for popping the balloons, releasing a magical shower of glittering confetti while toasts and kisses take place.
- Create a beautiful backdrop for your buffet table, bar or photo booth. While this one takes some time, it’s well worth the extra effort, especially if you have another pair of hands to help. Here’s how to do it:
- You’ll need about 600 large gold sequins (paillettes), about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Find these at a craft store or online. You’ll also need sequin pins, plain gold wrapping paper or gold spray paint, six pieces of foam core, 32”x40” and about ⅛” thick, and easy-to-remove tape.
- Use the wrapping paper to cover one side of the foam core, or use spray paint.
- Pin each sequin with a sequin pin in rows onto the foam core. It’s important that the sequins can move freely to allow them to flutter. Pulling each sequin toward the head of the pin helps with this.
- Mount your sparkly wall where desired using tape. For extra sparkle, make sure there’s some light shining on the sequins and that there’s plenty of moving air for maximum shimmer.
- Set a romantic and elegant mood by adorning every mirror in your home with strings of tiny white holiday lights. Not only will this add a beautiful glow to the room, but it will also make the room look instantly bigger.
The mood is set. The champagne’s on ice. Let the party begin. Happy New Year!