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Though it may sound daunting, throwing the perfect New Year’s Eve party only really requires a few basic essentials. Once you have those fundamentals in place, you can get be as simple or as extravagant as you want and people will still have a great time. Just don’t forget the following necessities!

Invite guests early. Of the elements needed for a perfect NYE party, guests are the most important. To make sure people come to your party, be sure to invite them at least a couple weeks in advance, and send guests an electronic reminder as the date gets closer if you invited them via Evite or email. Make sure to mention in the invitation all the fun stuff you have planned for the party so they know it’s worth their while.

Prepare a playlist. A New Year’s Eve party without good tunes can get very boring and awkward, especially if guests aren’t very talkative. While a radio or those music stations you get on your TV are better than nothing, a handpicked playlist is much better. Before the party, put together a playlist with a diverse mix of music, including multiple genres and both classic songs and hits from the current year. Try to keep the tone fun and uplifting.

Stock up on fun drinks and finger foods. Rather than a traditional sit-down meal with wine, fun finger foods and cocktails are better for a party atmosphere. For food, think appetizers like mini-quiches, deviled eggs, and fondue. Some fun and easy drink ideas include Jell-O shooters and champagne cocktails.

Plan some organized activities. Having some organized activities will help keep people entertained and give shyer people a chance to interact with the group. Some ideas include karaoke, a Wii dance game, or even something as elaborate a poker tournament. Try not to let the activity dominate the whole party – provide a place for people who don’t wish to participate to talk and mingle.

Don’t forget the décor. Although you can get very elaborate with NYE party décor, you can also create a festive feel with just a few simple decorative elements. Some ideas include balloons, confetti strewn on tables, LED fairy lights, and using party favors such as shiny party hats and blowers as décor.

Be ready for midnight. The best part of any NYE party is counting down to the New Year together and the ruckus that ensues as the clocks strike midnight. To prepare for this special moment, be sure you have plenty of noisemakers and chilled champagne with glass or plastic flutes. Some people may want to watch the ball drop live in Times Square, so you may want to have a TV set up as well.

Some other ideas/fun things to have: a “resolution board” where people can write their resolutions for the New Year, a Polaroid camera set out for people to snap wild party candids, and a mini dance floor with a disco ball. If you have an outdoor party area, sparklers and a bouncy castle for the kids are fun ideas, and patio heaters are a must.