Back in my early 20s, PK (that is, pre-kids) I loved a good night out for New Year’s Eve. I loved getting dressed up and feeling fancy for a loud, fun night out with friends. At this stage of my life, though, with toddlers waking up in the middle of the night because they “need one more hug, mama,” putting on a party dress and staying out past midnight sounds like a lot of work.
I’m nowhere near ready to give up New Year’s Eve parties for good, but for this year (and maybe one or two more), a quiet night in is more my speed. If you’re embracing a cozier New Year’s Eve this year, too, here are a few essential elements to help you plan.
Party food is still a must
Whether you enjoy making a big, special dinner or prefer to snack, choose food that you love – you don’t have to please anyone but yourself! If you like to cook, it’s a great opportunity to make that complex, time-consuming favorite dish. There’s no rush (well, once the kids are in bed)!
Personally, I’m all about snacks. While I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll happily make a dinner out of chips and dip, for New Year’s Eve, I’ll class it up a bit and make a charcuterie board. With a bowl of Lays on the side.
Don’t forget the bubbly
This goes without saying, right? Staying home means you get to choose your favorite sparkler (or whatever beverage feels celebratory to you!) without being limited by the menu at the bar.
Make it fun
I’ll admit I’m not much for decorations. One of the advantages of a night in, for me, is the very minimal planning it requires. I’ll pick up a package of New Year’s Eve-themed paper plates and napkins and maybe a party sign because they’re always a hit with my kiddos. Boom. Festive.
And this is where I have to fess up to my deep cheesiness and love of tradition. When it comes to entertainment, I think New Year’s Eve is the perfect opportunity for a game night and a festive movie or two. But I also have to tune in to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” throughout the night, and if I make it to midnight (I give myself about a 60% chance), I’ll join in the countdown with the chilly-looking crowd in Times Square.
Whether you go out or stay in, countdown to the ball drop, or call it an early night, I hope you take a few minutes to reflect on the bright spots from 2022 (maybe there were tons, maybe they’re harder to pinpoint).
You did it, mama! Cheers to 2023!