Less time prepping, more time partying: It’s an admirable goal anytime you have people over, but especially on New Year’s Eve. Here are two strategies that will have you mixing and mingling in no time.

The first is to make a bunch of snacks ahead of time — pre-assembled dishes you can pull from the oven once guests arrive. The other is to swap out made-to-order cocktails for a make-ahead punch. Prep the base. Then, just add any sparkling ingredients when the first doorbell rings. Sounds like a recipe for a good time, right?

And speaking of recipes, here are six from our archives — three snacks and three drinks — to get you ready for the party.


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

On the First Day of Christmas This Punch Came to Me. Don’t let the name fool you. This wintry, colorful punch will be a festive addition as you count down to 2020. Be sure to freeze the ice block at least one day before (we added cranberries to our bundt-shaped creation). Make the flavored syrup in advance, so putting this together will be a breeze the day of your party. Extra syrup can flavor seltzer for the nondrinkers, too.



(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Maple-Bacon Spiced Nuts. As long as you hold off on adding the bacon until the day you plan to serve these spiced nuts, they will be fine made ahead of time. Or, you can skip the bacon entirely, and you’ll still have a tasty snack. Double the batch for a large gathering. They won’t go to waste.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Warm Crab and Spinach Dip. Assemble this luxe-but-lighter appetizer from Ellie Krieger the day before; then pop it into the oven as your guests arrive. Add a few minutes of cook time if it has been refrigerated.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post)

Holiday Red Sangria Punch. Sangria, it’s not just for summer! Celebrate New Year’s like the Spanish do while eating grapes and sipping this stunner. It can hang out in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Add the ice when ready to serve.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Roasted Feta With Grapes and Olives. This hot cheese dish is adaptable, easy to scale and downright delicious. Assemble it in your dish of choice ahead of time, and be ready to pull it out of the oven once your friends are hanging around with drinks in hand.



(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Bob’s Your Apple PunchYes, another punch. Who doesn’t like a New Year’s punch? It’s got a seasonal feel, too, and your choice of garnishes — star anise, cinnamon sticks, slices of apples — can further dress it up for the party.

More from Voraciously:

7 recipes to help you throw a festive New Year’s Eve party that won’t break the bank

The 10 recipes our readers loved most this year

Make the Swedish mulled wine glogg, and your house will smell like Christmas