Why would you want to get caught in traffic or amidst unruly crowd on New Year's Eve? Aditi Bose lists out fun things you can do at home
So you go clubbing or partying every New Year's Eve and this year you feel like staying at home? Or maybe you have young kids who prevent you from dancing and drinking to bring in the New Year?
Or it is just too cold outside and you feel like curling up in your sofa with your spouse, popcorn and watch a nice romantic movie together? Or is December 31 that time of the year when you reserve it for family and close friends and like each year, this year too, you will be hosting a small get together at home? No matter what the reason, here are a few innovative ways that is sure to turn your time at home into a fun evening.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
1. Photo movie
Photographs: courtesy Mridula Dwivedi
Over the years pictures keep accumulating and all that happens to them is that they get stored in different folders in the computer. So this New Year's Eve make a slide show of such pictures -- family or friends depending on who is present at your home party. Add a background song to it. As you run this 'photo movie' add your own anecdotes and commentary before changing the slides. Reliving good times of the past is sure to be a good way to ring in the New Year. Don't forget to serve drinks and snacks to your guests to complete the 'movie' experience.
2. Slumber party
Throw a slumber party if you are going to be spending New Year's Eve with your friends. Remove all the furniture from the living area and hire a sleeping bag (or just the mattresses from your bedroom).
Add colourful cushions and rugs. Keep a lot of snacks to munch on ready and don't forget a collection of your favourite movies. Go ahead and relive your childhood - play games like Chinese Checkers, Ludo, Scrabble etc.
3. Bonfire away your bad luck
Photographs: FA Mac Donald/Wikimedia Creative Commons
If you have a fireplace in your house or a garden patch then this idea will work well. Make a rag doll or a paper doll before the party begins and place it near the fireplace or out in the garden.
Once the party begins, give all your guests a piece of paper and ask them to write a list of bad lucks, regrets and mistakes that they faced during the year and then pin it to the doll. On the stroke of midnight, throw the doll into the fireplace or burn it in the garden.
As it burns, raise a toast to better times and bring in the New Year. For a more dramatic effect burst a few crackers too. After all this is what people in Puerto Rico do -- make a lot of noise by ringing bells, honking car horns, banging drums or even throwing water on window panes.
This is because they believe that all the nose and sound will chase away the evil spirits and bring in a New Year that is joyous and happy.
4. Food contest
If you are throwing a party you can ask each of your guests to get their best home cooked dish. Appoint a jury and vote for the best tasting one.
You can even make arrangements in your kitchen for a food making contest. Arrange for specific raw materials with which each will have to come up with something new.
If it is an adult party then things like vegetables, eggs, oil, flour etc can be kept. Instead of food you can do something similar with the drinks too. Ask the guests to make their own cocktail and give it a name.
Judge it on taste and also on the names given. For a party where you have a lot of kids or one that you are spending with close family, turn it into a cupcake or cookie decorating contest with chocolate sprinkles, marshmallows, gems, cream etc. The best decoration wins.
Finally, when all the food is prepared go ahead and gorge on them. Eat everything seven, nine or twelve times -- Estonians believe that it is good luck. But they never finish everything. The leftovers are kept for the spirits who visit at night!
5. Scrapbook night
Photographs: Tulane Public Relations/Wikimedia Creative Commons
If you are going to be spending New Years Eve at home with your family then this is a good way to spend the evening.
Buy a scrapbook from before and keep it ready. Do the same with various drawings, craft work, family pictures, souvenirs collected from your various family trips during the year etc.
On the 31st, spend the evening sticking them and adding journal entries to them too. Keep lots of kid friendly munchies handy to keep their energy up. It is sure going to generate a lot of fun and laughter.
6. Cards for neighbours
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons
This idea works well if you are going to be spending your evening with little kids in the house. Make sure you have all your craft supplies ready from before though -- card paper, coloured paper, glitter, paints etc. Spend the evening making cards for the neighbours with the kids and on the stroke of midnight visit each ones house who you have made a card for and slide it under their door. It will definitely bring a smile to their faces when they get up next morning.
7. Fortune telling
Photographs: Michael Vogel/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Arranging a get together at home for family and friends? This is a good activity to keep them entertained all evening even if you don't know how to read the tarot cards or even onion peels as Romanians do.
Make your own fortune telling sessions. Write out different wishes and good luck notes in pieces of different coloured paper. Fold them and put it into a jar. Now ask each one to take out a piece and read out his good luck wish for the coming year.
In Mexico and Spain at the stroke of midnight people munch on grapes - one for each time the bell chimes. In the end the more one can hold in his mouth at one time and swallow altogether, the luckier he will be. You could use this idea to test your fortune for the coming year too. Avoid the grapes if you want and have gems instead! The kids are sure to love it too.
8. Colour fashion
Play games or conduct impromptu fashion shows for those who you are celebrating the evening with. Just keep the event associated with colours. For example:
Call out a colour and ask the kids to find something of that shade from the room
Arrange for craft supplies with which party caps of different colours can be made
Decorate the room with different coloured balloons and have a bursting ceremony at midnight. Fill them with multicoloured glitter if you wish to
For the fashion show, call out a colour and everyone who has that colour on his/her dress will need to walk or dance to a song that you play.
This will be in sync with what Bolivians do on New Year's Eve -- wear red (love) and yellow (money).
9. Act on your new year resolutions
This works best when it is an evening with close family and friends. Ask everyone to come prepared with their resolutions for the coming year. Start the evening by asking each one to read out what his is. Then he needs to begin acting on it for the rest of the evening. For example if its 'I will lose weight' then he watches what he is eating all evening and for those who plan to 'quit drinking', they are not allowed to touch alcohol. So think and then write your resolution!
Once all have finished, provide each with an envelope and ask them to put their resolution chit in it and seal the envelope. Keep these with you. Mail it to the respective person when the coming year is about to end - let each analyse, 12 months later, how well he lived upto what he had promised.
10. Breakfast at midnight
Photographs: Tanyel/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Is this 31st going to be one where it is just you and your spouse? Then here is something nice and romantic for the both of you. Start your day the way the Japanese do -- spending the entire day cleaning up your home.
Throw out all the rubbish and junk and give your home a clean look.
Go a little light on food throughout the day and they and get a short afternoon nap so that you are ready for the evening. Spend the entire evening watching movies together and helping each other to prepare a lavish breakfast spread. That's right -- breakfast.
Just before midnight, spread out your breakfast on your bust silverware and light a few aromatic candles. When the clock strikes twelve, toast to the New Year with your best champagne and eat your breakfast. End it with a slow dance!
So go ahead and enjoy your New Year's Eve at home this year. Till next time, 'Cheers!'