Nontraditional ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve

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Woman hand with wine bottle pouring a row of glasses for tasting

Image: Shutterstock/Jose Ignacio Soto

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and maybe you don’t want to repeat the same old scene. Perhaps you’re tired of the bars, the clubs, the endless drinking, and kissing strangers at midnight. Sure, it’s fun for some people, but you’re ready for something new and different. Isn’t there anything else to do on New Year’s Eve? The answer is yes! If you want to change up your holiday, check out these ideas for mixing up your New Year’s Eve celebration.

Run a marathon

Yes, you can run a marathon at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Who knew? All across the country, you can find runs in your area. Once you cross the finish line, you can celebrate your achievement by watching fireworks, a parade, or just sitting and eating food. See what’s in your area today and register for your midnight run of fun.

Make a time capsule

Ringing in the New Year involves reflecting on the past year as a whole, the good and the bad. Make this day unique by creating a time capsule. Put inside reminders of good things that have happened this year, or mementos of things you’re moving on from. Then a year from now, you can open it and see how much has changed. If that’s too much, you can simply write a letter to your future self and open it next year.

Host a dinner party

This is an excellent time to gather together your friends, reminisce on the year, and make plans for the new one. Depending on your various schedules, you may not have time to get together all at once and simply catch up. Why waste that time getting hammered when you could actually enjoy being together?

Make a resolution and a plan

Sure, resolutions are the cliché thing to do on New Year’s Eve, because nearly all resolutions are forgotten by February (if they even make it that far). That’s why this idea is two parts: make a resolution and a plan. After making your resolutions, you must come up with practical ways and steps to achieve those goals. Don’t just say, “lose weight” without coming up with a workout schedule, a diet plan, and even a weight goal. Commit to your resolutions and you’ll be successful.

Go bowling

Grab some friends and hit the lanes! Many bowling alleys will have alcohol specials on that night, some places will have a theme, and there’s even a thing called “glow bowling” where everything light-colored (including the pins) glow in the dark. It’s a fun way to still get out of the house and hang with your friends without committing to an exhausting bar crawl.

Pamper yourself

New Year, new you, right? Go to a spa or nail salon and get the works. Or invite your girlfriends over and have an in-house pampering night. Massages, facials, manicures, wine…what could be better?

Go stargazing

Get away from all the crazy city nightlife, the parties and the booze. Escape back to nature and enjoy the calm, the peace. Reflect on your year and what changes you hope the new one will bring. Take time to re-center yourself.

Plan the ultimate New Year’s Eve date night

Say you already have a significant other to kiss at midnight, and you’d prefer to celebrate as a couple. Hotels and restaurants will offer specials on New Year’s Eve to ensure you have a romantic time. Book a weekend getaway, get a couples’ massage, and/or go to a classy restaurant. Make the night special for just the two of you.


People always think of Thanksgiving and Christmas as the times of year when volunteers are needed, but what about New Year’s Eve? Head to your local nursing home, hospital, or orphanage and spend some time with the residents. Take small gifts with you, or read books, or just sit and chat. Start the new year by doing some good for others.

Have a sleepover party

Tell everyone to come wearing pajamas and to bring their favorite movie. Make a huge breakfast spread (including mimosas) and enjoy ringing in the New Year from the comfort of your own home. You can play board games and watch movies until the New Year’s Eve countdown begins.

Host a wine tasting

Have every guest bring their own bottle of wine, and you’ll provide the spread of crackers, cheese and grapes. If you want, make the tasting a themed party, and have each bottle of wine be from a different country (around the world theme), or have a variety of wines from France (for midnight in Paris). If you don’t like wine, host a different kind of tasting: beer, chocolate, cheese, and so on.

How will you be celebrating New Year’s Eve?