It’s nearly time to bid farewell to 2020 and welcome in a brand New Year. Now that calls for a celebration!
If your New Year’s Eve normally involves large crowds cheering and embracing each other at midnight, it’s probably safe to say that you’ll have a different sort of celebration this year. Yes, with social distancing guidelines in mind, we’ll have to tweak some of our traditions—but with a little flexibility and a lot of creativity, we can make this New Year’s Eve one to remember!
Whether you’re planning to celebrate with a few friends, family, your special someone, or solo, we’ve gathered 21 fun ideas to ring in 2021 from the comfort and safety of your home. Happy New Year!
1. Dress Up.
Missing the chance to get all dressed up for a night on the town? Plan for a romantic date night at home and let your partner know that the dress code is formal. Break out that party gown or 3-piece suit and dress to impress the person you plan to kiss at midnight!
2. Dress Down.
On the other hand, staying in is the perfect excuse to get comfy and cozy. Why not make your New Year’s Eve celebration a pajama party? If you’re torn between dressing up and dressing down, you could always make it a “Jammies and Jewels” night. Put on your PJs and layer on some bling for the best of both worlds.
3. Create a Playlist to Set the Mood.
If it’s a date night in, make a romantic mix of your favorite songs from over the years. For a family affair, keep it upbeat with current hits and old school tunes that everyone knows and loves. Having a few friends over? Pick a popular New Year’s Eve Spotify list that will keep everyone in the party mood. Whichever mix you choose, be sure to play “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight to get everyone feeling sentimental and excited for the New Year!
4. Have a Selfie Station.
No matter the size of your New Year’s Eve party, you’ll want to preserve the night with fun photos of your favorite people. Get out the streamers, grab some 2021 photo props, and create an Instagram-worthy selfie station or photo booth to capture the fun. Pop onto Pinterest for loads of glitzy, glamourous, good-time photo ideas.
5. Prepare a Feast.
Planning dinner for two? If you’re a foodie or a fan of cooking shows, New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to pick a detailed and decadent recipe and have fun preparing it together. You can challenge your culinary skills, have fun teaming up in the kitchen, and then dine on your feast by candlelight.
6. Support Your Favorite Local Restaurant.
Or, leave the prepping to the chefs and enjoy your favorite take-out! With Covid restrictions causing major challenges for local restaurants, now is the time to show your support so that they can be here to thrive in 2021. Take the night off from cooking and order a New Year’s Eve-worthy to-go feast from your favorite local eatery.
7. Sip a Signature Drink.
Nothing says New Year’s Eve like a glass of bubbly. Whether you raise a glass of Champagne, Prosecco, non-alcoholic sparkling wine, or ginger ale at midnight, it’s fun to have a signature drink on hand at your New Year’s Eve celebration. Find a fun list of New Year’s Eve cocktails at TheSpruceEats.com. Cheers!
8. Bake a Boozy Dessert.
What’s the perfect sweet to pair with a glass of New Year’s Eve bubbly? Champagne cupcakes! Bake enough for a crowd and drop some off on your neighbors’ doorsteps as your last sweet neighborly gesture of 2020.
9. Make a Midnight Kiss Kit.
Looking forward to your midnight smooch? Put together a “midnight kiss kit” to make your New Year’s Eve date night even more memorable. Fill a festive bag with everything you’ll need for your midnight celebration, including party hats, noisemakers, confetti poppers, mints, lip gloss or chap stick—maybe even a mini disco ball. This could also be fun if you’re planning a double date night in with friends. It’s a perfect party favor to welcome them at the door!
10. Fill a Time Capsule.
This has been a year unlike any other, and while there may be parts that we’d rather leave in the past, there are also moments that we’ll want to remember forever. To commemorate this crazy year, create a time capsule of some uniquely 2020 items. Your capsule might include a mask, puzzle pieces, a few squares of toilet paper, an “I voted” sticker, or a newspaper clipping. It could also include more personal items that will remind you—years down the road—of what your life was like at this historic moment in time.
11. Have a Movie Marathon.
Celebrating at home with the family? One of the best ways to make sure everyone’s still awake at midnight is to plan a movie marathon. Find a favorite series that’s fun for all ages—like Back to the Future or Harry Potter—and keep the popcorn and movie snacks going all night long.
12. Beat the Clock.
Gathered with family or a small group of friends? Minute-to-Win-It games are a fun way to keep everyone entertained! From guiding a cookie from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands, to naming as many celebrities as you can think of before the timer runs out, you can find all kinds of one-minute game ideas online.
13. Send the Kids on a Scavenger Hunt.
If the little ones are going to make it to midnight—or at least New York midnight in the western time zones—they’ll need to be entertained! Keep them busy and get their wiggles out with a New Year’s Eve themed scavenger hunt. Give them a phone or tablet and they can have fun taking photos of each item as they check it off their list. Search online and you’ll find plenty of printable scavenger hunt ideas.
14. Take a Moment to Reflect.
Pause for a moment on New Year’s Eve to reflect on this one-of-a-kind moment in time. Print a list of reflection questions from TheArtofSimple.net, cut them up, put them in a bowl, and pass them around the room to take turns sharing thoughts on 2020. There’s even a kids’ version for the younger party members!
15. Break Out the Board Games.
Take out your favorite board games this New Year’s eve for some good old-fashioned fun. We love the classics, like Scrabble and Yahtzee—but if you want to dial up the fun and competition, check out this list of “Best Board Games for Adults” on Refinery29.com. From pop culture trivia, to strategic stacking, to a hilarious dating game, these board games will ensure that nobody is bored at your party. #dadjoke
16. Make it a Virtual Game Night.
If you’re resolving to stay healthy in 2021, the best kind of game night for this New Year’s Eve may be a virtual game night! Friends from near and far can join in the fun and friendly competition. From murder mysteries, to group escape rooms, to trivia challenges and more, there are a variety of virtual game night options out there. Check out SnackNation.com to start planning!
17. Resolve to Live Well.
Studies have shown that resolutions have a much higher chance of sticking if they’re adding something to your life—not taking something away. If you haven’t already nailed down your resolutions, take some time on New Year’s Eve to think about what would add to your life and make 2021 a happier year for you and the people around you. Will you resolve to read more books? Discover a new favorite wine each month? Use all of your vacation days? Spend more time with friends? Encourage your partner, family, or friends to do the same and have fun sharing your plans to make 2021 your happiest year yet.
18. Host a Virtual Midnight Toast
If you’re staying healthy by flying solo this New Year’s Eve, there’s no need to ring in the New Year alone! Invite your far-flung friends and family to join you for a BYOB Midnight Toast over Zoom or Google Hangouts. Encourage your guests to get dressed up like you’re going out on the town, put on some party music, pour your drinks, and enjoy some great company as you welcome in the New Year.
19. Light Up the Night.
Most major cities are cancelling their New Year’s Eve fireworks shows, but you can light up the night on your own with a set of festive sparklers! Light your sparkler just before midnight to add some excitement to your end-of-year countdown.
20. Try a Good Luck Tradition.
You could eat 12 grapes during the countdown to bring luck for the 12 months ahead, as they do in Spain. Or stand on a chair and jump off at midnight, as is done for good luck in Denmark. You could wait until after the clock strikes midnight and enjoy a bowl of black-eyed peas, as is southern tradition. After the year we’ve had, you may want to try all three traditions—and any others you can think of to bring all good things our way in 2021!
21. Tune in to Watch the Ball Drop.
New Year’s Eve will undoubtedly be different this year—but you’ll still be able to watch the ball drop (virtually) in Time’s Square at midnight! Tune into your local channel to catch this television tradition and feel the annual excitement of counting down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1,” knowing that your neighbors, friends, and community are all doing the same in their homes!
How do you plan to spend the last night of 2020? Share your New Year’s Eve-at-home ideas with us in a comment below!