This might be the New Year’s Eve when you take the “new you” to the next level. Maybe that looks something like staying in and having a sober night full of movies and other little activities. Or maybe it’s you canceling your busy NYE plans to have some much-needed relaxation time. If this idea of putting aside the drinks and lavish parties for something more lowkey sounds like a good time to you, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
No, it’s not just you who’s ready to hang up your party hat in favor of a cozy beanie: There are other college students who feel the same way — like me! Now more than ever, young people are looking for ways to have a memorable night without all the glitz, glamor, and social expectations of regular gatherings — especially in this pandemic world. It’s the emergence of the laid-back era, and I’m here for it!
If you’re feeling like this sentiment resonates with you, you might consider switching things up this New Year’s Eve. And that doesn’t mean foregoing all the exciting celebratory activities either. Alternatively, here are a few ways that you can still reign in the new year with a bang, even if you do things a little differently than usual.
- Plan a backyard bonfire.
Head to the grocery store and pick up some of your favorite snacks for this one. If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your circle with a large enough outdoor area, having a bonfire is a fun and cost-effective way to gather this holiday! Some fun fireside activities you could suggest throughout the night are guess the song name, werewolf, scary stories, truth or dare, and of course, s’mores.
- Host a tv marathon.
Invite some of your friends over and have them each bring over a list of their top tv show episodes. Set up your tv area in a comfy way –– maybe laying sleeping blankets on the floor and fluffy pillows on the couch –– and switch between tv episode recommendations. Just be sure to tune into a NYE countdown when it gets close to midnight!
- Have a record player night.
Out of your NYE group, there’s got to be someone who has a record player. Track them down and ask them if you can use it for your casual evening, and reach out to your attendees and ask them to bring a few records. Then, you can spend hours leading up to midnight having an easygoing listening party of sorts. And don’t forget to dance, if you feel so inclined!
- Throw it back to simpler times.
If you’re anything like me, you’re stuck somewhere between 2000 and 2012 — and that mindset’s great when it comes to having themed get-togethers. Encourage an iconic 2000s dress code and ask your pals to bring over some throwback movies, things, and food. Relish in the memories of your childhood and soak up the camp vibe.
- Throw a friendly cooking competition.
Something interactive that will keep you on your toes is a night of cooking. In the spirit of Iron Chef, prepare some uncommon ingredients and have guests come ready to go head-to-head for a special prize. You can even go a step further by having participants decorate their own aprons from Michael’s before you begin.
- Schedule an anti-party.
Commemorate the special occasion by doing the opposite of all things party-related with your crew. Trade tight clothing for pajamas, drinks for juices, heels for slippers, streamers for blankets, and loud music with tv soundtracks. Let yourself marvel at the freedom of not having to put together a perfect end-of-the-year event.
- Propose a reader’s house.
You’ve probably heard of an open house, but what about a reader’s house? ICYMI, it’s when you leave the door open for friends who might want to have a break from festivities to pause and slow down with a good book. Revel in a book series, lay back, relax your mind, and savor the quiet of the night.
Remember that the controls are in your hands this New Year’s Eve. If you’re leaning toward something that looks a little bit different to commemorate the new year, I say pursue it! After years of parties, having a more homey and relaxing night may be a great new direction for you to explore. In no way does not going out make you any less amazing than you are, so do whatever it is that feels right to you, no matter what anyone else thinks. Happy *early* New Year!