7 Ways to Enjoy New Year’s Eve Without a Party

A New Year’s Eve party is always fun, but if you’d rather bypass the glitz and glam of large, loud (and often expensive) New Year’s Eve parties, there are plenty of ways to opt for a more low-key celebration. Enjoying New Year’s Eve without a party can be as simple as an elegant dinner for two or as exuberant as  a family game night.

Need a little help creating a fun alternative for New Year’s Eve?  Use these ideas to get started:

7 Ways to Enjoy New Year's Eve Without a Party

Dinner for two

New Year’s Eve has become as important as Valentine’s Day as a date night for couples. Dinner for two can be an upscale event at an elegant restaurant, an intimate dinner by candlelight at home or even a picnic filled with the couple’s favorite treats.

Another option is to avoid the crowded restaurants and cook your favorite meal together with a little music playing in the background while sharing a cocktail. Staying in for an intimate meal will not only save money but will provide an opportunity for a more private evening.

Dinner for more

Invite a few friends over for a potluck supper and game or movie night on New Year’s Eve. Chances are, you are not the only one who would prefer a relaxing New Year’s Eve sharing good food, friendship and laughter.

7 Ways to Enjoy New Year's Eve Without a Party

Winter Wonderland night

Turn New Year’s Eve into a special theme night. A Winter Wonderland night can be planned for a couple, a group of friends or a family with children of varying ages. This theme works best in areas where there is plenty of snowfall.

Start the afternoon or evening off with outdoor activities like sledding or ice skating. A rowdy game of touch football of snow soccer can be fun and the activity will keep everyone warm. Have a snowball fight, snowman building contest or work together to build a snow fort or other creation while enjoying the brisk outdoors.

After playing outdoors, return inside for a warm meal like chili or stew. Continue the theme with a game of Winter New Year’s Charades where each item performed relates to winter or something with the word new in it. Conclude the evening with mugs of hot chocolate or cider.  Have everyone share one memory from the old year and one wish for the new year.

Game night

A game night on New Year’s Eve can be planned with friends or family and adapted to fit a variety of ages. Whatever the group’s interests are, there are games available.

Consider cards, board games, and activity games like charades, Pictionary and Wii console games. Munch on pizza and snacks and keep everything simple and relaxed.

Movie night

Similar to game night, a movie night can be planned on a limited budget.  You can even throw this celebration together at the last minute. Plan to watch several movies, either new releases or old favorites. Be sure to have plenty of snacks including popcorn and movie-sized boxes of candy.

Set the cell phones to vibrate and issue a “no texting” rule during the showing of the movie. Plan to take an intermission at 11:45 p.m. in order to be ready to welcome in the new year.

7 Ways to Enjoy New Year's Eve Without a Party


Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to give a bit more of yourself to those who are needy. Why not start on December 31 and volunteer to help at a shelter, retirement home or other center that might need volunteers? You can volunteer during the day or the evening, whatever suits your schedule the best.

Volunteering may not be the most “glamorous” way to spend New Year’s Eve but you can truly make a difference in someone else’s life, if only for a few hours.

Virtual Visit

If you have a long distance friend, family or love, spend New Year’s Eve together via the internet. Use a web cam or video conferencing to visit and ring in the new year together. If that is not available consider instant message, texting. Or simply spend a few hours on the phone catching up with each other.

Share a meal, a relaxing drink or coffee over cyberspace.  Reminisce about the last time you were together and be sure to countdown to midnight in both your time zones. You get to celebrate the New Year twice that way.

On New Year’s Eve, opting out of attending a party can reduce several hassles. No party means no finding something special to wear, no fighting traffic, and can even can save you money. Choosing a party-free New Year’s Eve can be fun and a great way to start a new end-of-the-year tradition.

Tags: holidays, party
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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