There are countless ways to ring in the New Year. You can get dressed up and go out. You can book an enviable spot at one of your city’s best restaurants. Or, if you’re like me and don’t want to change out of your sweats (your stylish sweats, mind you), you’re staying home this NYE. To help all of us homebodies celebrate the countdown to midnight, I’ve rounded up the best New Year’s Eve party ideas for an unforgettable night at home.
While the night-in option may have once brought on feelings of FOMO, I haven’t worried about missing out since before March 2020. Sure, a few minutes scrolling through social media might make me wish I had a big trip or night out planned. But I’ve been working hard to cultivate a sense of confidence in my decisions to do what’s best for me. That means releasing the pressure for my New Year’s Eve to be *amazing.* Instead, I’m celebrating exactly how I want to: at home and inspired by one of these ideas below.
20 New Year’s Eve Party Ideas That Are Just as Good as Going Out
Because staying in for the night doesn’t have to feel like a consolation prize. If anything, spending what’s arguably the most celebrated night of the year chez toi, is a testament to how we’ve learned to get creative and have fun in the comfort of our homes.
Whether you want to get in the kitchen, spend all night marathoning must-watch movies, or getting cozy with friends, let the following ideas remind you that there’s no such thing as being bored at home. Especially on New Year’s Eve.
Make a Vision Board
With a new year incoming, one of my favorite New Year’s Eve traditions is reflecting on my past year to decide what energy I’m bringing into the next. The best way to do this? Create a vision board. This can serve as a reminder of all the goals you wish to achieve but done so in an aesthetic way. Making vision boards as a group is also a great idea to inspire one another and get the ideas flowing.
Have an Outdoor BBQ or Grilling Party
If the weather is as lovely as it is right now in Austin, I highly recommend getting some fresh air and hosting a gathering outside. If you have a grill master in the group, whip up a flavorful and fresh meal that will help foster the good vibes you want going into the new year.
Throw a Pajama Party
Being comfy and cozy is an essential part of my New Year’s Eve plans almost every year. Even if the night begins with festivities, it’s always nice to wind down in your PJs, and maybe enjoy a cozy drink or sweet dessert as the ball drops. Plus, a pajama party is a great way to gather without the pressure of dressing to impress.
Engage in NYE Traditions
Watching the ball drop and counting down to midnight aren’t the only New Year’s Eve traditions you should try this year. Eating lentils is an Italian tradition for the holiday with the goal of achieving prosperity and wealth in the year to come. Eating 12 grapes at midnight is another tradition from Spain, where each grape symbolizes one month. After eating all 12, you can hope to have a lucky year ahead of you.
Have a Family Game Night
Whether you play a classic board game or make up your own, family game nights are always a great way to bring everyone together to ring in the new year. These can be anything from your classics like Monopoly, homemade holiday-themed Jeopardy, or Pictionary.
Throw an Elegant Dinner Party
Never a bad idea for New Year’s Eve. This is a great option if you still want to get dressed up but don’t want to deal with the hassle of going out (too cold, too expensive, too… not my house). And just because it’s elegant doesn’t mean that the preparation has to be hard. DIY a few arrangements (Trader Joe’s is my go-to for florals on the fly), scatter some tea lights throughout your space and set your dream tablescape. And while you’re welcome to make a three-course meal on your own, it’s also totally fine if you want to order from your favorite fancy restaurant. (For the homemade route, see Camille’s favorite hosting menus.)
Settle in for a Spa Night
A different sort of indulgence. In 2024, I’m focused on consistent self-care, and there’s no better way to set that intention in motion than with a dedicated spa night. Ask everyone to bring their favorite nail polish colors and gather all your supplies for manicures, pedicures, and more. An easy way to step (literally) into the New Year feeling your best.
Make All Your Favorite Comfort Foods
New Year’s Eve is about indulgence, and it’s not a party without your favorite foods. Hosting friends for the evening? Settle on a few recipes in advance (the cheesier, the better, in my opinion) and get in the kitchen together. If it’s a larger fête you’re after, make it a potluck! Ask guests to bring their ride-or-die comfort food (mine’s mashed potatoes) and add to the feast. You might want to include a pre-midnight nap in your party plans.
Make the most of the great indoors! Gather your camping equipment (tent, sleeping bags, etc.) and settle in for the coziest evening ever. Short a tent or two? Make like The Holiday and set your imagination to work with pillows, blankets, and cushions from around the house. And remember: an indoor camping experience isn’t complete without the movies, games, and snacks.
Make It All About the Bubbly
Cheering to the New Year with something fun and fizzy in your glass? My kind of party. Make it a midnight toast to remember by setting up a DIY champagne bar or try one of these champagne-forward cocktails. All that’s really left is to make your celebration’s décor as glitzy and glam as your drinks.
Host a Desserts-Only Feast
This is a great party option if you want to start the celebrations a little later on in the evening. Set out a buffet of all the best treats and ask guests to contribute their favorites to the spread. Nothing like a strategic sugar rush to keep you up until midnight. Here’s how to create a cookie charcuterie board for a crowd.
Indulge in a Midnight Brunch
While we’re all for a New Year’s Day brunch, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying your favorite breakfast foods the night before as well. Celebrate with carbs galore—I’m talking waffles, pancakes, a bagel bar, sweet baked treats—and your favorite fruity cocktails. Your party will still feel elevated while being wonderfully cozy, laidback, and casual. No fuss necessary.
Throw a Fondue Party
Retro in all the right ways. Fondue is easy to prepare and a great way to wrap dinner and dessert all into one. Cheese and chocolate is the best combo my taste buds know, and by setting out a variety of bites for dipping, you’ll ensure everyone’s satisfied.
Marathon All the Best Movies of the Year
Because I’m normally in bed by 9 p.m. (hey, all the cool kids are doing it), I usually only make it through one post-dinner movie before I’m out cold. But because our bedtimes get extended on New Year’s Eve, you have plenty of time to make it through a million (okay, maybe three or four) movies before the clock strikes midnight. Round up a list of all the year’s best movies and start your binge-watching.
Try a Wine Tasting With Friends
Sipping on new wines is enough of a reason to have a party, but it’s also a fun way to whet your palate (haha!) for the year to come. Put together a cheese board, supply a few bottles, and ask your guests to bring one or two wines that they’ve been dying to try. Compare notes or just sip and party away. New year, meet your new go-to glass.
Celebrate Cuisines From Around the World
This is one of my favorite takes on the traditional potluck party. Have all your guests sign up for a cuisine they want to showcase and celebrate on the evening’s menu. You’ll learn more about other cultures and get to sample an array of foods and dishes you might not otherwise have. Check “expanding your horizons” off your resolutions list.
Karaoke Your Heart Out
Not a singer? Doesn’t matter. Belting out your favorite songs from the past twelve months will make anyone sentimental about 2023 and is bound to be a good time. You can even host a mini awards ceremony at the end for Best Voice, Most Heart, Greatest Impersonation, and so on.
Set and Share Your Intentions with Friends
While intention-setting can be a solitary activity, it can also feel supportive and motivating to share your goals with friends. In a journal, reflect on what you want to bring into your life in 2024. If people feel comfortable, share and speak to what you each wrote down. After all, sharing our dreams is a key part of making them happen.
Let Everyone Play Bartender for the Night
Looking for a new signature drink in 2024? Sign up for an online mixology class with your pals and gather everything you’ll need to create your own professionally-made cocktails. I wouldn’t mind toasting the new year with an expertly-crafted drink.
Hang Out By the Fire
Tempted to take things outside? Even if it’s chilly where you live, gathering around the fire is a great way to keep warm and cozy up with your closest friends. Be sure to have plenty of blankets on hand and brew up a pot of mulled cider or wine. Don’t