Celebrate the Ravens season with a New Year’s tailgate (Credit, Antonio Paterniti)

The last game of a dynamic year for the Ravens plus a sure-to-be exciting playoff game awaiting the team in the new year gives fans more than enough to celebrate this New Year’s weekend. Make this final game of the Ravens’ regular season count by spicing up your tailgating scene with the following New Year’s party ideas.

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Finger foods are the paramount tailgating dish, but even these simple meals can use some flair for the holiday. Some easy-to-make, yet fancy-in-appearance options that are specially tailored for Baltimore fans include shrimp wrapped in bacon, fried crab balls or oyster shots. For the meat lovers in every group, try cranberry chili meatballs or mini bbq franks – both of which can be effortlessly cooked in the crockpot starting about four to five hours prior to game time.

For a stress-free main course, leftover turkey or ham from Christmas can be turned into hearty cold sandwiches to snack on. Or if you’re seeking a meal that will take the chill out of the air, just add some hot brown gravy and a spoonful of mashed potatoes to make open-faced sandwiches.

Since New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner and many tailgaters may be regretting a recent Christmas cookie binge, guests will appreciate a healthy, yet indulging dessert like chocolate-dipped strawberries. Moreover, apples, bananas or any fruit can receive a chocolate coating to match every taste and there’s a host of chocolates from white to dark to experiment with.


A traditional New Year’s beverage to get the party started is always the mimosa. This festive drink can be spiced up by adding some frozen fruit like mangos or pineapple, and it’s easy to substitute the champagne with Sprite or Ginger Ale so the under-aged fans don’t feel left out. Complete the effect by pouring the libation into plastic champagne flutes, which are inexpensive and readily available, providing a touch that will make the last tailgate of the season feel even more celebratory.

Another route that is especially great for large groups would be a refreshing champagne punch made from a combination of cranberry juice, lemonade, white wine, champagne and either Sprite, Ginger Ale or club soda for a sparkling finish. Fruit can also be added for decorative or healthy snacking purposes.

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Lastly, there’s nothing like a tall glass of homemade eggnog to end the season on a high note. Making this drink from scratch isn’t as difficult as it may appear, but is best made in advance of your tailgating party since heating the beverage cannot be rushed and the taste is at its finest after sitting for a few hours in the fridge. For the adults, don’t forget to pour in a little bourbon before adding the creamy nog to the rest of the glass. Then top each off with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon before sitting back to watch the game.


For traveling tailgaters who plan to represent the rest of Baltimore in Cincinnati, be prepared that many fans will choose to go all out and bring holiday china, linen napkins and even real silverware. As this will likely prove to be too much of a challenge for an away game, don’t fret as fancier plastic cutlery and dishes are still an upgrade from the traditional paper products. An added bonus is that these items can be bought cheaply right now at party stores and won’t require the added worry of washing that the home team will have to endure.

While your home is likely fully decorated still from the Christmas holiday, if you don’t already own a set of purple lights, garland, tinsel or Ravens ornaments, there will never be a better time of year to buy these items at discount prices than now. Since mistletoe only gets its fame this time of year, many fans enjoy tying mistletoe to a fishing pole or stick to strategically set up fellow tailgaters for an early New Year’s smooch.

Keep the holiday spirit bright and merry with some classic seasonal tunes. However if you’re sick to death of Christmas songs already, seek out some of the more modern, funny ones that know the best ways to poke fun at all the drama of the season. Your guests will likely appreciate the variety as much as you do.

Finally, noisemakers, sparklers, confetti and even those tacky plastic 2013 hats can all be called upon to make your final tailgate of the year one to remember.

Happy New Years and Happy Tailgating!

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

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Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer who enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her on Twitter at @KtBlue16 and online at Examiner.com