It has been a while since any of us have hosted a proper family gathering, and our entertaining skills might be a bit rusty. But now that we can all welcome five visitors into our homes, perhaps it’s time to send out the invitations for a reunion for the Year of the Tiger.
If you got arrowed by your family or friend group to play host this CNY season, here are 10 must-haves to prepare for, especially if you’re Singaporean. You don’t have to go all out and throw a Crazy Rich Asians-level party. Something small and intimate will be good enough for your folks.
P.S. Do adhere to current restrictions as you wouldn’t want any SDA to come bai nian at your door.
A sign that you and your guests are having a good time is when the conversation doesn’t stop flowing. And you wouldn’t want to be known as the host who serves tap water when everyone gets thirsty halfway. To preserve your reputation as an A+ host, prepare some beverages, bottled or in a packet, like those from POKKA.
From classic Iced Lemon Tea to Jasmine Green Tea that can’t go wrong, having an assortment of drinks for your guests will guarantee that no throat goes parched.
No, your freezer’s ice tray is most definitely not enough to keep all your drinks chilled. Grab a bag of ice from the nearby supermarket or convenience store and keep it in your freezer till the party starts.
If you don’t have space left in your freezer, put the ice in a bucket and wrap some kitchen towels around it to try to keep it as cool as possible. The best option is having a cooler box that can keep your ice and packet drinks cool.
Assuming that most of you reading this are of legal drinking age, a good year-end party can be made merrier with some cocktails and alcohol. Whether you’re toasting the coming year or just imbibing for some good vibes, this is your chance to show off any bartending skills you’ve picked up over the past year or two.
You should also check beforehand to see if any of your friends have any specific drink preferences. Having non-alcoholic mocktails will also make your non-drinking friends feel included – you can use any extra POKKA drinks as mocktail mixers, too.
Alternatively, you can set up a cocktail corner by stocking up on some garnishes and mixers so they can be their own mixologist.
DIY mala nuggets, courtesy of an Eatbook recipe
Drinks alone are not enough to fill the bellies of your guests. Even if your gathering is set at dinner time, we’d suggest preparing some finger bites like nuggets and seaweed chicken to whet the appetite of your pals. They’re easy enough to be made in an air fryer. Those feeling up to the challenge can also make their own nuggets by following this Eatbook recipe.
Oh, and don’t forget to bring out the boxes of pineapple tarts, love letters, and bak kwa for everyone to nibble on.
When everyone has arrived and settled down, it’s time to bring out the mains. If this is a last-minute arrangement, you can whip up something simple like bee hoon, pasta, or fried rice that doesn’t require 10 hours in the kitchen. Otherwise, those with more time and budget to spare can indulge in something fancier like steak or a seafood platter.
Alternatively, you can host a potluck dinner so your guests don’t feel paiseh and can feel like they’re contributing to the festivities. Here’s a list of other easy-to-cook dishes that you can make in big batches:
Always have a Plan B. Things might be sold out at the market and you might be super exhausted from just cleaning up the house. When all other options are shot, at least you can rely on pizza delivery to get the party going. What’s the worst that can happen, someone being lactose intolerant? Ha….haha…
Before food coma strikes and people start leaving, bust out some board games that everyone can play. Since restrictions are still capped at five visitors per household, this gives you plenty of options from Cards Against Humanity to Monopoly Deal. If you just have a pack of cards, here are some classic card games to revisit with your fam.
You can even check out some free online games to play with your buddies.
Unless you’re often hosting packed tables, chances are you might need to get some disposable plates, cups, and cutlery so your guests aren’t eating bee hoon out of their hands. One pack can last you more than just one occasion too. Aside from the usual spots like FairPrice and Cold Storage, you can also get them from SKP and online retailers too.
There are even fancy options that come in rose gold and myriad patterns to jazz up your table setting. But if you want to rack up some good karma going into the new year, we’d grab some biodegradable cutlery to use instead.
The last thing any host wants for their party is to have a bout of awkward silence. To avoid that, curate a playlist that will last a couple of hours without you having to supervise every song. A good tune playing on the speakers also helps set the tone of the evening, so be sure to queue upbeat tracks. Leave the mellow songs cliched dong dong chiang for another time.
Also, if you’re hosting a gathering after 25th December, it’d be good to skip any song that’s Christmas-themed. Here are some Spotify playlists you can consider putting on for any gathering:
After the fireworks have popped and the festivities are winding down, it’s time to get all your guests home so you can have your home back to yourself. But while a good host will see them out the door, a great host will ensure everyone gets back home safely.
Simple things like booking your inebriated friend a taxi home or checking the timings for the last train and bus will be appreciated by your pals when they wake up in the morning. Another party planning tip is to simply cap things off by a certain time in the night so they can beat the traffic. But don’t rule out the possibility of someone having to snooze on the couch!
If you’re responsible for any gatherings this CNY, it’s imperative that you go into it prepared. From food to drinks and entertainment, this is the time to show that you’re the host with the most. This list we’ve curated is also not exhaustive, and there are plenty of other things you might need depending on the crowd. From goodie bags to desserts, anything works.
When you’re out shopping for some beverages to stock up on, keep an eye out for the classic POKKA drinks that most of us are familiar with. As long as you spend $8 on their drinks at any participating supermarket, convenience store, and even mini marts, you’re eligible to participate in their CNY lucky draw with a grand prize of $888. Three winners will also walk away with $188 each.
It’s pretty easy to hit that $8 mark when you’re shopping for drinks, and if you happen to spend more, you can even redeem some homeware to keep your kitchen organised. Shoppers who spend the following amounts can redeem these gifts:
The lucky draw and redemption drive runs from now till 28th February 2022, so you have plenty of time even after all the CNY festivities have calmed down. You can submit your receipts over at POKKA’s CNY page.
This post was brought to you by POKKA.
Photography by Zhou Jinquan
Originally published on 24th December 2021. Last updated by Josiah Neo on 15th January 2022.
BRB, going to pack our bags.
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