As far as dates go, New Year’s Eve is pretty special. It marks the end of another collective trip around the sun. Whether you’re into a night of glitter, champagne, and confetti or prefer a quiet evening tucked next to your loved one, we have 8 of the best stay-at-home New Year’s Eve date ideas to ring in the new year.
1. Cook up a storm
We get it. After a year of take-out and homemade dinners, the last thing you want to do is spend New Year’s Eve in the kitchen. But hear us out – we actually think that the year has brought you exactly to this moment. You’ve mastered lasagna, banana bread, and dalgona coffee; you have everything it takes to cook recipes fit for a five-star restaurant.
Start your date early with a trip to your local grocery, and settle in for an afternoon of probably messy (but hopefully delicious) fun. There are several cooking shows to watch cookbooks or blogs to discover, so pick one that is special to you.
2. Pop a bottle
Gather your friends for a DIY tasting of the year’s best wines. There are lots of wine lists available online from the most popular wine-industry experts to very niche sommeliers. Download one or simply go to a local store and create your own wine-tasting list. Whether you go with a theme (French wines only) or an arbitrary rule (only wines with yellow labels), the bubbly will make any night feel like a celebration. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices? If you can still remember what it was, pick the first wine you shared together. You can do no wrong after that.
3. Dress up for a night in
While there are more than enough reasons to head out for New Year’s Eve, sometimes staying home is still the best option. Cook a meal together. Snuggle in front of the fireplace if you have one (or a virtual alternative on YouTube if you don’t). Watch your favorite movie. Catch a montage of how different countries celebrate New Year’s Eve around the world. The options are limitless. The best part about staying in? The party can definitely continue even after the clock strikes twelve.
4. Book a stay at a charming B&B
The past year has been hectic to say the least, and New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to spend some undisrupted quality time with your partner. Take your well-deserved vacation. Airbnb has thousands of properties available for rent over the holidays, including Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and the Home Alone movie house. Whether you’re staying for a day, week, or month, the holidays are the perfect time to take a break from the year that has been.
5. Throw white flowers into the ocean
If you find yourself by the beach in Brazil on New Year’s Eve, don’t be surprised to find a carpet of white flowers on the water. The locals often make a trip to the closest shore to make offerings to Yemoya. Yemoya is believed to be the Goddess of the Oceans and is supposedly responsible for bringing in the year’s blessings. For a twist on this tradition, visit your local flower shop for the prettiest white blooms available. Make them the centerpiece of your New Year’s Eve dinner celebrations, and then scatter the petals in a candlelit bath for the perfect wind down.
6. Share a bowl of soba
In Japanese culture, it is customary to welcome the new year with toshikoshi soba. Toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodles, is traditionally made with buckwheat. The thin and strong strands represent a long, healthy, and new life. Make it an extra sweet dish to remember by sharing a bowl with your significant other. This might even be the Lady and the Tramp moment you’ve been waiting for.
End the year on the highest note imaginable by donating your time to those who need it most. Donate to a soup kitchen, buy meals for the less fortunate, or prepare gift baskets for your local orphanage. Studies say that couples who volunteer together stay together longer, are happier, and less likely to get sick. There is also a growing body of evidence that says that volunteer work literally adds years to your life, which makes happily-ever-after more likely.