Get ready for the New Year's countdown. During this exciting time in
Shanghai, hundreds of thousands will jam into such places as People's Square in
the city center or Longhua Temple where the bell will ring to welcome in 2007.
Venturing into the crowds, however, means that you run the risk of getting
pushed around by the masses, or worse, losing your partner, family and friends
in the proceedings. But what if you are the one throwing the party and are
looking to do something different and memorable for your guests?
Here are a few tips for hosting successful parties whether it be this New
Year's Eve, the upcoming Chinese New Years on February 18 or whatever the
To host a good party, try to decide in advance what food to serve, as well as
the games to play and the choice of decorations. If these concerns are addressed
properly, undoubtedly your guests will be more than happy with the preparations
that have gone into the evening.
For a memorable evening, first it is suggested to select a party theme.
Having a theme makes it easier to decide the decoration style and invitation
design. For Shanghai expats, why not throw a Chinese-themed New Year's party for
something a little different and with a Western flavor.
Next, you should establish a party budget. This will vary according to the
type of event, its scale and the number of guests. Location is also very
important in having an ideal place to host your event. A residence can often be
best if it is big enough to comfortably accommodate visitors.
Finally, make a list of your party guests, and remember that their number can
impact your budget and venue to host the party.
James Lee, who runs a lifestyle showroom and a bar in Shanghai, has thrown
many such parties. The Hong Kong native advised carefully choosing your guest
"People who are invited to the party are the most important element. It is
always good to invite people of the same level, otherwise they may just ruin the
With that in mind, now it is time to plan and execute the details. You need
to figure out what to serve, how to decorate and how to entertain.
Did you know that there are certain foods that are considered good luck if
eaten on Chinese New Year's Day? For party food and beverages, dumplings,
chicken and fish are ideal options. A fusion of Western cocktails and wines and
Eastern food is also a good idea.
You can also hang "spring couplets" around the house. These are paper curls
and squares engraved with blessings and auspicious words, such as "good fortune"
and "longevity." It is customary to paste them upside down as dao, the Mandarin
word signifying upside down, is a homonym for "arrival." Thus, the paper squares
signify the arrival of spring and the coming of prosperous times.
Paper lanterns which are easily available online or at stores, can also bring
forth the true essence of the festive mood.
Expat Francois Grele is an enthusiastic party planner. The 25-year-old
Frenchmen recommended that every party should have balloons as they are
beautiful in color and fun to break. "Candles are also important as they create
a mysterious and romantic atmosphere. I usually buy them at Yuyuan Garden."
It is also helpful for your guests to specify a dress code for the event and
stick to it. This adds to the atmosphere and creates a level playing field for
all in attendance. "House parties should be private, warm and simple," said