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Two cups of hot chocolate on a rustic wooden table with chocolate pastries and cookies in the background



Tired of the traditional New Year’s brunch? Looking for a more original way to shake up this holiday? Try one of these fun ideas for gathering with your friends to celebrate the coming year.

Bagel Buffet

One of the best things about a bagel buffet is that you can host it at midmorning as a fun twist on New Year’s brunch, or in the afternoon as a light dinner (which means you don’t have to worry about how late you stay up the night before, celebrating the countdown). You’ll want to get a variety of bagels as well as the traditional sides, including cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, and dill. And don’t forget all the extras, like thinly sliced onions (pickled is even better!), cucumbers, radishes, sprouts, tomatoes, lemons (for squeezing onto prepared bagels), and jam.

Pro tip: Set a toaster near or on the buffet table so your guests can have a crispy bagel if they prefer.

Hot Cocoa Night

If you’re up for another evening celebration, invite your loved ones to a hot cocoa party. Make one large batch of hot cocoa and offer every topping and ingredient a guest might want: candy cane stirring sticks, marshmallows (go gourmet, if you can), sea salt, toffee bits, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, whipped cream, flavored syrups, and even a little Irish Cream, perhaps. Use mugs for an indoor soiree, or offer paper cups with sleeves and tops, just like a coffee shop, for gatherings you might want to move to a patio or balcony.

Dessert Buffet

You can make this an afternoon event, or after dinner, and the best part is, you don’t have to focus on a full menu – you can focus on the best part! The two things that are most important to remember are: keep everything small (there’s only so much dessert one person can eat, and you’ll want to encourage guests to try as many items as possible), and make everything “grab and go” style (you don’t want guests to have to worry about utensils and other dining ware). Instead of offering pies and cakes, opt for cookies, truffles, mini tarts, donuts, and cupcakes.

Pro tip: Have guests bring their own desserts and make it a potluck! You’ll save a lot of time on cooking and cleanup!

For more ideas on living your best life, follow the Olympus Woodbridge blog.