2012 was a crazy year! Let’s take a look back at the major news events, scientific discoveries, and pop culture trends of 2012 and find the reasons to party.

  1.  ObamaRom-a:Use the best memes from the United States’ presidential campaigns as your party inspiration: let female guests take photos in a fun photobooth and showcase the results in a binder full of women, tell guests to avoid sitting in a particular chair labeled “invisible Obama,” and serve up some delicious Big Bird cupcakes (for added authenticity, make guests pay for them).
  2. A Doomsday Diversion: Some people have misinterpreted the cycles of the ancient Mayan calendar to mean that the end of the world is nigh. As a result, lots of people are pretty freaked out about December 21st this year. Party on this date by throwing a Maya-themed gathering that helps guests understand what the pre-Columbian Maya were actually about. (Hint: pyramids, the number zero, maize, and astronomy could make appearances at your party)
  3. Zombies vs. Vampires: Exploit the pop culture trend with a blood-and-brains themed blowout that asks guest to take sides and party like the undead. Blood red wine and bowls of spaghetti will feature prominently.
  4. Mission to Mars Party: In August, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had the world on the edge of their seats as we watched the aptly-named Curiosity rover land on Mars. Curiosity’s purpose is to find evidence that Mars was ever conducive to life. NBD. Use new photos of Mars as décor inspiration, and raise a glass full of one of these themed cocktails to the NASAites who had the audacity to dream it up in the first place.
  5. HoloPac Hullabaloo: For many, a highlight of 2012 was Tupac Shakur’s posthumous performance at Coachella alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. While most people thought of the Tupac-like object as a hologram, it was actually made possible by an updated version of an old stage trick known as Pepper’s Ghost. You can invite guests over and make your own (but perhaps with something less creepy than a dead artist)!
  6. A Wild Party: Beloved children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak passed away in May. His book Where the Wild Things Are makes a great party theme. I also recommend serving chicken soup with rice, which is the title of my personal favorite Sendak book.
  7. Felix Fest: Celebrate Felix Baumgartner’s sound barrier-breaking 24-mile skydive with Red Bull based cocktails (Red Bull sponsored his jump), lots of helium balloons, and doing scary things.
  8. The God Partycle: On July 4th, experimental physicists working at my favorite particle accelerator shared evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson (which is sometimes inappropriately referred to as the “God particle” by non-scientists like me). This article explains the significance of this finding better than I can, but for party purposes, you can pull together a physics-themed soiree with a “Find the Higgs” game where you hide a small, valuable object somewhere and offer a prize to the guest who finds it.
  9. Paralympics! The Summer Paralympics received record-breaking media attention this year (though not so much in the United States). Host your own athletic competition for friends, using whatever space and equipment you have available. Create a podium for medalists to stand on while you play their favorite pop anthem (in lieu of a national anthem, since most likely many of you will be from the same country).
  10. Gangnam Style Dance-off: Sing the song. Do the dance. You know you want to.