If you’re not into the traditional, fancy, pressure filled, expectation crushing New Years celebration we have some ideas for you. Too strong? Well, Iv’e had my share of disappointing and downright bad New Years so over time I have created new ways to celebrate.
After all, when it’s all said and done the most important thing about New Years is family, good friends and cherishing the moments. Given that COVID and the flu are wreaking havoc we have some ideas that can be done remotely or in person. We’ve chosen three concepts for making your celebration special. The optimal would be to combine all three but each requires time and energy so you may want to split up the responsibilities.
Treasure your Memories
Sentimental – memories, people lost, people born, and all of the years’ stories. Have everyone attending send 3-5 pictures and/or a short video (set a limit 2-4 minutes depending upon the number of attendees) that best commemorate their year. You can combine these into a presentation and set it to music. Everyone will enjoy watching this as you head towards the countdown.
Hope & Focus for the Future
Resolution – What are your goals and hopes for the new year? Why not declare them? If you have a live party you can have each person attending write down their resolution or hope for the future in place it in a hope bowl. You can either read them all with the guests (not requiring people to “own” their submission) or not read them and have a ceremonial burning in the fire or outside fire pit followed by a toast to 2023. If your remote you can have members share their hopes, resolutions and wishes for the new year. Note: If your doing this remotely, it’s harder to keep the input autonomous but if you use an on-line survey program you can have all of the wishes posted on one page for all to see and then delete them with a toast.
If you like the idea of hope and renewal and you’re having a live party you can carry this theme through the decorations as well. You don’t have to do the corny decorations, try a greenery and leaf theme (turning over a new leaf). If you decorate with plants guests can take one home with them as they start the new year.
Keep it Active
- Play Games – Games can bring everyone together. The tricky part is to find one that keep everyones interest but also are fun and a bit silly. If you’r not sure what games make sense we like this list from realsimple.com because they offer tons of options. Many of the recommendations don’t require purchases. Tip: Many of the classics like Trivial Pursuit now have various versions so you can be sure all generations are engaged and can contribute.
- Bring your Favorite Foods – Having everyone bring their own favorite dish is an easy way to get all of the food covered and to ensure that everyone has something they like to eat. It’s also a great way to share recipes and try some new foods. Send out a list for sign up with categories and number of dishes needed. Example: Main course (3 meat,1 chicken, 1 no meat).
- Cook Together – This is a fun way to bring people together and can include children. We’d recommend something like individual pizzas or a fun dessert activity. You can purchase individual pizza dough and then get all the toppings. Adults and children can add their chosen toppings and you can have one person man the oven as you cook the pizzas in groups. Kids especially love this because they often don’t get to pick every topping themselves and see the final product they produced. If you want something fun for dessert you can pre-make or buy cookies and have the guests decorate them or you can create an ice cream buffet. People can chose their flavor(s) and toppings.
- The Mixology Challenge – If you have an adults only party planned why not have a mixology challenge? You can have everyone bring and share their favorite drink recipe, try making some drinks together or even hire a mixologist to do training and share bartender secrets. Note: this can be done virtually as well with some pre-planning and coordination.
- Kids Activities – If you have a group with lots of younger children it’s important to consider activities that will keep them busy. If you have responsible teenagers attending the celebration pay them to watch the younger children and to help coordinate the activities. If you don’t have a teenager attended we’d recommend hiring a babysitter or two. This will allow you to place the children in one part of the house on their own and feel comfortable that they are safe and happy. Looking for some activities? We like this post from happymomhacks.com. They are designed for indoor birthday celebrations but can easily work for a New Years Party. Tip: depending upon the age of the party attendees you may want to do the countdown early (10 vs 12).
- Plan an intimate destination getaway. If you and your friends have the budget you can ask your closest family and friends to meet at a specific location. It may be tight to get the perfect Vrbo or Airbnb for this year but consider going the opposite of the crowds. If everyone is going to the mountains and beaches then consider a smaller city or country location. Note: if you like this idea but have run out of time, start looking and book early for 2024.
In summary, new years celebrations can be warm, fun and sweet. Planning is key so get started now. Happy 2023!
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