Every time you give a party - especially a New Year's Eve party - there are people who go through your medicine chest to find out all about you.

But they never discover anything important. A half-empty bottle of Grecian Formula, some Kaopectate, a squeezed tube of Nupercainal . . .

The people who discover all your most secret thoughts, words and deeds, though, are the ones who take over the stereo and go through your record collection, holding up - for everybody to see - those faded copies of Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, Sunshine Superman, Vanilla Fudge, even (if they are exceptionally cruel and you're been no more than ordinarily foolish) the Dave Clark Five . . .

"My, um, cousin, or was it this girl I knew? anyway worked in a whaddyacallit? headshop?" you begin weakly."So I got all these free records I never even played . . ."

But the records are already on the turntable, Donovan's tenor a burred bass of needle scratches, nicks and knocks, all a result of playing the thing for hours and hours and hours on your first portable, real loud.

So don't use the record player this year. Even in the unlikely event that you have no records you just can't throw away and can't help being embarrassed by (think hard - how about 'My County 'Tis of Your People You're Dying,' 'Twenty-five or Six-to-Four,' or Richie Havens singing 'Sugar-Sugar'), half the guests will decide they can't stand and the other half that they can't stop dancing to some dated dreary disco thumper.

Instead of records, play the radio. There, all the esthetic mistakes are passed off as nostalgia, all the esthetic choices are beyond the power of anyone at the party to influence. And, best of all, Washington has so many and such varied stations that you can choose exactly the kind of program that will set the mood for exactly the kind of party you intend to have. Classical, Country, Soul, Big Band, Jazz, even - if it's come to that - a roundup of the most important news stories of 1977. IF IT'S COME TO THAT

WRC (980 RM) 11:05 p.m. to midnight, the news of the year in review - may be your last chance to hear old familiar terms like Sun of Sam, Bert Lance, Human Rights, Energy Crisis. Not a lot of giggles here, but guaranteed to give you a sense of relief at saying goodbye to 1977 JAZZ

WGTB (90. 1 FM) 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., National Public Radio Special - live jazz from New York City at the "Cookery" and "Village Gate" - Helen Humes, Alberta Hunter, Rosemary ('Chi Chi') Murphy, Stanley Turrentine and Junior Mance. A mix of a predecessor of Billie Holiday (Hunter), in-fra-bop hipster (Murphy), stone mystic (Turrentine) and Junior Mance, which should be the best jazz show of the night. Unless you think that WAMU has the best jazz show of the night.

WAMU (90.1 FM) 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. All Star Parade of Bands, Big bands from the '30s and '40s, with Lionel Hampton, Jack Tea-garden, Glen Miller, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and his All Stars (the All-Stars that could play good).

WPFW (89.3 FM) 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., hard core jazz; 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., top jazz releases of 1977. CLASSICAL

WGMS (570 AM; 103.5 FM) 10 p.m. to midnight, a New Year's Eve Party with live music: light classical, Renaissance, chamber, conviviality without raucous roaring. Needs no recommendation to people who like it. ROCK/COUNTRY/SOUL

WXRA (105.9 FM) 6 p.m. to midnight, a solid gold special of Country Hits from the past, full of marital advice ('Ru-beee, Don't Take Your Love to Town'), filial devotion ('Blind Man in the Stands'), political commentary ('I'm Proud to be an Okie from Muskogie'), sexual experiment ('Thee Bee Thavage') and nostalgie de boue ('God Never Made Honky Tonk Angels'). Then at midnight, the top 100 Country Hits of 1977 starting out with Number One, another first, a song in favor of child desertion ('You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille').

WHFS (102.3 FM) Continuous. It is always a difficult thing to classify Rock stations. WHFS describes itself as 'Progressive Rock.' Many loyal listeners call it 'Aging Hippie.' Whatever you call it, this is the station to celebrate the seemingly interminable passing of the '70s in the company of the great stars of the '60s: Jimi, Janis, Cream, Come on Baby Light my Fire.

WWDC (1260 AM) noon till midnight, the top 77 singles of 1977. Singles are mostly bought by younger people - the kind who do not buy albums because they are unwilling to risk half a week's allowance on any single group. Lots of people call this music bubblegum, but it is very good party stuff. Eagles, Andy Gibb, Fleetwood Mac. You will have to wait till midnight to hear the number one single of the year. I know what it is, but I'm sworn not to tell. (Hint: not light my fire, but light up my . . .).

WEAM (1390 AM) noon till noon Jan. 1, a countdown of the top 100 soul records of 1977: disco, croon, hustle, rock, maybe even a little jazz. Needs no recommendation to people who know what it is.