After a long 2020, we totally feel you if you’re wanting to celebrate its end while welcoming 2021 in style. However, the pandemic makes many of our normal New Year’s plans look somewhat different this year.
For starters, the venue restrictions and social distancing measures ensure that dancing in packed nightclubs and indulging in midnight kisses are out.
The good news is there are still plenty of ways you can have fun safely — whether you’re celebrating with your partner, friends, or family. Plus, partying at home will prove way cheaper than shelling out for entry fees and overpriced cocktails.
Ready to make your own fireworks? Pull on your party hat and have a look at some of our favorite suggestions to celebrate NYE in a COVID-safe way.
Here are some cheap ways to make your homemade new year’s celebration Bae-utiful.
Make a scrapbook
While there are always parts of the year you’d rather forget, appreciate the happy moments by creating a scrapbook. Add photos, receipts from special buys, write down funny memories or jokes.
We’re here for the positive vibes, so you could even include a checklist of things you look forward to doing together in 2021.
Experiment in the kitchen
We’re talking about trying something with food, guys — so stop those dirty thoughts (or at least save them for dessert). Perhaps you’ve always wanted to give sushi a go, or making pizza dough from scratch. Have fun and strengthen your bond by creating something new.
As an added bonus, you’ll get to devour the fruits of your labor when you’re done.
Build a snuggle fort
If it’s good enough for Joey and Ross, it’s A-OK with us. Stack up old boxes or drape blankets over pieces of furniture to make a den that your cats (and younger selves) would be jealous of. Then crawl inside and cozy up as you snack on sweet treats and reminisce over favorite memories.
Go star gazing
Nothing makes us feel more humbled and in awe than looking at the night sky and watching for Venus, shooting stars, or… one of Elon Musk’s many satellites.
If there are no starts that particular night, grab some blankets, flasks of hot chocolate, and snuggle down as you wait for fireworks to light things up in real-time.
Add a new year’s eve countdown to your family time.
Set up an at-home photo booth
No matter what our age, we all love dressing up. Grab hats, glasses and feather boas, make cut-out cardboard mustaches or speech bubbles to attach to sticks; then strike a pose and get snapping for some hilarious photos to proudly hang in the new year.
Start things with a bang early
One of the best things about NYE is watching fireworks. Get the excitement started early by either driving to a before-midnight fireworks display or staying in and watching some quality online displays.
This magical show at Disneyland will have young ones enthralled, while older kids will appreciate London NYE fireworks set to pop music hits.
Get crafty with ceramics
We aren’t suggesting a “Ghost” scenario in the middle of your kitchen. Instead, make a lasting memento of your family evening together by decorating plates you can use for years to come.
Ceramic paints and pens are easily bought online, with the latter making for little mess (hurrah!).
Have a PJ party
Grab anything cozy you can — from duvets and blankets to cushions and sleeping bags — and collect them in the living room to create the ultimate sleepover space.
Chances are, you’re probably already in your pj’s, so get snuggly in your temporary bedroom and binge Netflix until you all doze off.
Keep the group small but mighty — and get chic like it’s pre-pandemic.
Have everyone bring a course
Dinner parties are great — until you realize that, as host, you’ll have to spend hours in the kitchen beforehand.
Eliminate some of the stress by organizing the main course yourself and asking guests to bring appetizers and dessert. As long as they don’t have to do the washing up, they won’t mind!
Add a theme
Everything’s better with a theme, so tailor your menu and decor to something fun. Perhaps do a Mexican night by dishing up fajitas and placing little cacti on the table. Or serve an array of Chinese cuisine and hang paper lanterns from the ceiling.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget drinks!
Go full-on fancy
Who says invites and black tie outfits are only for weddings? Pop save the date cards in the post and tell your pals to don their gladrags. Put out your fanciest plates and cutlery, fold napkins into swans (okay, we’ll settle for fans), and set out tealight candles for a true five-star experience.
Make things super sweet
If we’re not allowed to skip straight to dessert (sigh), make the final event worth waiting for and set up a table full of decadent sweet treats. Bite-sized versions will allow guests to snack on their favorites throughout the evening; and mini eclairs, meringue nests, macarons or cheesecake cups are all great options.
If you’re a homebody, you already get your kicks from what’s in your closet. Kick off the new year in the same way.
Play for laughs
Unleash your competitive side and delve into an evening of board games. There are so many brilliant options to get you thinking and laughing. With no sign of Colonel Mustard or a library in sight, we’re fans of Dixit, Kingdomino, and Sushi Go Party.
With a long evening ahead, now’s the time for that movie marathon you’ve been meaning to have. Hop a train to Hogwarts, take a trip back in time for a 1980s John Hughes extravaganza, or visit a galaxy far, far away. Wherever you venture, popcorn is a must.
Hold a bake off
Order in plenty of ingredients and have a contest with your friends to see who can make the best cake. Awards for tastiest, most imaginative and biggest disaster are all acceptable, as is devouring everything after.
Let’s get quizzical
You can’t beat a good ol’ quiz night — especially when playing with friends allows you to make the categories more personalized. Ask everyone to come prepared with a round of questions, so nobody is relegated to the position of quizmaster all evening. A prize for the winner adds an extra dose of competition.
A go-big party mindset can thrive in any environment.
Get in tune
There’s nothing worse than being forced to listen to music that makes you want to stuff your ears with cotton. So ask your friends to share their favorite songs and compile them into a playlist. Then hold a dance party over Zoom with a most memorable NYE soundtrack.
The kids are alright
Just because you’re way past puberty doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy party games — and you’ll have a ton of fun playing some classics with a grown-up twist.
Fill a pinata with alcoholic gummy sweets, play musical chairs to Jay-Z and get creative with pin the tail on the celeb (because who hasn’t wondered what Justin Bieber would look like with a fluffy bunny bum?).
Snap happy night
Long before iPhones held our whole lives, disposable cameras were the go-to for recording special events. Give each of your pals one of these photographic classics to snap away during the evening; then meet up in the new year to laugh over your masterpieces once they’ve been developed.
Mix it up
It ain’t a party without a beverage — and if you’re bored by beer, mix it up. Head to the supermarket and load up on lemons, limes, tonics, syrups, and spirits (non-alcoholic if you’re under 21, ofc) — and see which tasty concoctions you can shake up in one night.
Whatever ideas take your fancy, you should be able to do them enjoyably and — more importantly — safely. Have fun, and join us in raising a glass to a happy and healthy new year.
Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, health, beauty, food, and fitness.