By Naomi Atwater

This New Year can be one for the books, even if it doesn’t go off the books! Find your own New Year’s traditions that set you up for a great start to the year.

  1. Have a white elephant gift exchange with a $0 budget requirement. Everyone brings something from their home (maybe a funny re-gift, or something they’ve bought and never used before) and play a series of games to determine which item goes to which person. You can also set a low budget (maybe $10) if you want people to bring something new.
  2. Host your own silent disco. You can rent equipment for this, or you can also do it yourself with a little work!
  3. Repurpose last year’s decorations, or make your own! It will add to the fun and novelty of making your own decor!
  4. Watch fireworks. Many US cities and neighborhoods shoot fireworks on New Year’s Eve at midnight. Make sure you check if yours does and catch them at 11:59!
  5. Make up your signature drinks. Whether you’re making cocktails or mocktails, brainstorm your beverage and have each party guest bring their drink to share!
  6. Create a time capsule. If you have kids, this is an awesome opportunity to teach them a little about history and the passing of time. There are thousands of ideas on how to do this or what to include, but make sure it’s unique and special to your family so you can look back on it in years to come! Check out this free printable idea.
  7. Write down funny new resolutions. Who says resolutions have to be serious? Create unique resolutions together of things you’ve always wanted to try, like “Learn how to do a cartwheel” or “Bake the best cheesecake.” And hold each other to them!
  8. Watch every New Year’s episode of your favorite sitcom. You can skip to the episodes in shows you love the most!
  9. Get matching PJs for the family. It will make the night a fun memory and practical because you can reuse them and remember what a fun night you had!
  10. Make gingerbread houses (it’s not too late!). You can take advantage of the post-Christmas sales and grab some kits or bake your own.
  11. Play board games. Whip out your favorites, or have your guests bring theirs for an instantly fun night!
  12. Do a craft. Bring out the DIY project you’ve been dying to try or start something new everyone can participate in. Find a practical or fun option with things you might already have around your house, or have each guest bring a crafting supply to share.
  13. Finish a puzzle. You can’t go wrong with gathering around a puzzle and challenging everyone to finish it by the end of the night!
  14. Exchange books. If you are a book-loving family or friend group, draw names and give someone a book you think they would enjoy. You can even save on costs by giving them a book off your shelf!
  15. Decorate cookies. Christmas is over, but you’re not overeating sugar – have a cookie decorating contest! This is a great activity for kids and brings out a lot of creativity.
  16. Reflect on the year together as if it were a book – what would the different chapters be? This is a great time to talk with your family about the highs, lows, and funny moments of your year and what you want to bring into the next one.
  17. Head to the bowling alley and bowl a few rounds. 
  18. Reorganize your house for a fresh start. It’ll give you something fun to wake up to on January 1st when your home is fresh and different!
  19. Go caroling (it’s also not too late!). You can do this in your neighborhood, visiting family, or in a nursing home. You’ll brighten someone’s day!
  20. Crack open old photo albums. The wrapping up of one year is a great chance to reflect on past years. Show your family old memories!
  21. Drive around your neighborhood and see Christmas lights. You’ll love seeing everything still lit up!
  22. Do a DIY paint and sip night. You can easily do this by following a YouTube tutorial and sipping on your own beverages.
  23. Have a murder mystery party. If you’re in for an evening of danger and problem-solving, build your own murder mystery and invite your friends to help you solve the crime.
  24. Bake something fancy. Maybe try making Creme Brulé or something you’ve always wanted to master. It’s the perfect night to practice and invite your friends to taste-test!