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  • Heather McDorman

Sparkle at Home This New Year’s Eve

Older couple opening champaign at home on New Year's Eve.

As 2023 draws to a close and the countdown to a new beginning begins, there's no need to venture out to crowded parties or bustling events to have a memorable New Year's Eve. Instead, why not create a cozy and festive celebration right in the comfort of your own home?  


Bob and I rarely go out on New Year’s Eve. We don’t drink (very often), and Bob is not one to dance. Add to that the exhaustion of the holiday season, and we are satisfied by a nice meal at home and a streaming movie saved for just this night. But if surrounded by a few of our (low-key) friends or family members, then we’d be in as the host or guests of an at-home New Year’s Eve gathering.  


With that plan in mind, here are five ideas to help you ring in the New Year – at home – with joy, laughter, and a touch of sparkle, surrounded by the ones you love. 


DIY Style Extravaganza: Get Creative on New Year's Eve

Little girl points at homemade lanterns with starts on them.

Transform your home into a festive wonderland by involving the whole family in a DIY décor extravaganza. Set up a crafting station with colorful paper, glitter, ribbons, and other craft supplies, and let everyone's imagination run wild.  


Create handmade banners, glittering centerpieces, and personalized party hats. Encourage the kids to make their own countdown clocks or design custom New Year's Eve resolutions. This handmade décor adds a personal touch to your celebration and also provides a fun and engaging activity for all. 


Culinary Countdown: Cook Up a Storm Together 

Four friends cooking together.

Turn your kitchen into a culinary playground by planning a family or friend cooking party. Choose a theme, whether it's an international feast, a potluck-style dinner, or a gourmet pizza night. Assign different courses to family members or friends, allowing everyone to showcase their culinary skills. Don't forget the appetizers, desserts, and, of course, a signature New Year's Eve cocktail/mocktail.  


Cooking together not only brings people closer, but you’ll also benefit from a tasty spread that will be enjoyed by all involved. 


Time Capsule Tradition: Reflect on the Past and Look Forward to the Future 

Little girl putting together a time capsule.

Start a new tradition by creating a time capsule that captures the essence of the year gone by and holds hopes for the coming one.  


Encourage family and friends to contribute items like letters, drawings, photographs, or small mementos that symbolize their experiences, achievements, or aspirations. Seal the time capsule together, with a note specifying when it should be opened – whether it’s next year, in five years, or at a milestone celebration.  


This thoughtful activity allows you to reflect on the passage of time, appreciate the journey, and anticipate the adventures that lie ahead. 


Virtual Connection Bash: Bridge the Distance With Loved Ones 

Man and woman connecting with others online.

If your friends or family are scattered across different locations, don't let the physical distance dampen your New Year's Eve spirit. Embrace technology and organize a virtual celebration.  


Plan video calls or virtual parties with your loved ones, complete with virtual games, shared playlists, and synchronized countdowns. Be sure to plan a virtual toast to welcome the New Year together. Technology will finally be on our side by allowing us to connect with friends and family near and far, making them an integral part of the celebration. 


Outdoor Movie Night Under the Stars: Cozy Up and Countdown 

Back yard set up with chairs and movie screen for a movie night.

If weather permits, take the celebration outdoors with a cozy movie night under the stars. Set up a makeshift outdoor cinema with blankets, cushions, and a projector. Choose a selection of favorite movies or go for a thematic marathon.  


Don't forget the popcorn, snacks, and hot cocoa to keep everyone warm. As the clock ticks down, huddle together under the open sky, enjoying the magic of cinema and counting down to the New Year in a unique and memorable way. 


Bonus Idea: Game Night Gala – Fun and Laughs for All Ages 

Young woman playing charades at a home party.

Turn your living room into a game night haven for the whole family or your close-knit group of friends. Choose a mix of board games, card games, and party games that cater to different age groups and preferences.  


From classic board games like Monopoly and Scrabble to lively party games like charades and Pictionary, there's something for everyone. Incorporate New Year's Eve-themed games or trivia to add a festive touch. Game night ensures laughter, friendly competition, and a night filled with fun for all. 


 Ushering in the New Year at home can be just as, if not more, special than attending fancy parties or gala events. With a bit of creativity and thoughtful planning, you can create lasting memories while enjoying the warmth, familiarity, and safety of your own space.  


Whether you're crafting decorations, cooking up a storm, connecting virtually, creating a time capsule, enjoying an outdoor movie night, or engaging in a spirited game night, the key is to celebrate with a little sparkle.  


Here's to a joyous 2024 filled with good health, cherished moments, and exciting new beginnings! 

I retired in 2021 after 32 years as a higher ed communicator. With my husband Bob, we raised our (now adult) son Liam just west of St. Louis. I love my family and our two Aussies, growing roses, winning fantasy football, going to movies, traveling, exploring new lunch spots with friends, and following Olympic-level figure skating.

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