One of my favorite times of the year has begun — the holiday season! The end of fall and the beginning of winter are just one continuous bash. It all starts on Halloween and ends with the New Year. I love the NYE, especially in the Big Apple. This city is always full of energy, but during the holidays, it becomes simply frantic and filled with all kinds of entertainment for every taste. However, today, I’m not going to talk about the fun things to do in NYC. I want to tell you how to celebrate New Year at home with friends and have a really great time.
How to Celebrate New Year at Home: Japanese Traditions vs. American Traditions
In general, celebrating New Year in the US is not very different from how I celebrated it with my family in Japan back in the day. Here, people also decorate streets, parks, and squares with colorful lights and pick up NYE gifts and greeting cards for family, friends, and colleagues. In America, it is common too to clean the house before the New Year, but the Japanese still believe that general cleaning of the house is necessary to cleanse it of bad energy and evil spirits that could have appeared during the year. We also believe that the best way to ring in the New Year and make it successful is to pay off all your debts.
As for the other major differences, I can point out the following:
- In Japan, we always celebrate New Years at home. On December 31, the whole family gathers for a special osechiryō:ri dinner, where each dish has its own symbol. For example, soba buckwheat noodles symbolize longevity, rice is a symbol of prosperity, and black soybeans are meant to keep everyone healthy.
- On New Year’s holidays, we place a kadomatsu, a traditional Japanese NYE decoration made of bamboo, pine twigs, fresh flowers, etc., in front of the entrance to the house or in the house itself. Kadomatsu can be either small table decorations or tall (and usually paired) ones that people place in front of the entrance to their houses.
- One of the New Year celebration ideas in Japan is trimming the apartment with the so-called mochibana, which are willow or bamboo branches with colorful mochi balls (a kind of Japanese rice dough), as well as shimekazari, a festive decoration woven from fern and straw bundle.
- If you ask, “How to celebrate New Year at home in Japan?” I’ll say you should definitely buy a Daruma doll, as it is an integral talisman of the celebration. This is a small nesting doll with no eyes painted on its face. There is a tradition that its owner makes a wish when they draw one eye on the doll with their hand. The other one is left unpainted. If the wish comes true within a year, the second eye is added to the doll and left in the house. If not, a person should better burn it and buy a new one for the next year.
New Year Celebration Ideas that Everyone Will Absolutely Love
Everyone has their own idea of entertainment, it’s no secret. However, if you’re desperately looking for an answer to the question of how to celebrate New Year at home, here are some ideas that I personally like and practice once in a while.
New Year’s Eve ideas: Around-the-world dinner
When I just moved to America, spending New Year without my family was especially hard. That’s when I first had the thought, what if I turned my New Year’s Eve dinner into an international culinary party? It’s not that hard; just think of a couple of dishes that should symbolize a totally different country.
New Year ideas: Resolution time capsule
Another fun activity for a party with friends can be a “Promise Time Capsule.” Ask your guests to write down their NYE resolutions, hopes, and wishes on Post-it notes. Place them in an airtight container and then store the time capsule in a safe place. Next year, be sure to get together and see if you managed to fulfill everything you wanted.
New Years Eve at home: Virtual toasts
One more New Year’s Eve tradition that I personally practice every year. When your loved ones are far away from you, like mine, a “Virtual Toast” is the perfect way to come together. Gather everyone on a video call, raise your glasses, and toast the New Year. Share your promises, stories, and laughter, and the miles will disappear for a while.
New Years Eve ideas at home: DIY photo booth
How to celebrate New Year at home? Create a “do-it-yourself photo booth” that promises laughs and unforgettable memories. For this, set up a backdrop with funny wigs, hats, and ridiculous glasses. Then, ask guests to goof off and take hilarious photos. Later, you may put those in an album and keep them for years to come. I already have two such photo albums 🙂 New Year with friends can be such fun!
New Year celebration ideas: Game night
A “Game night” full of friendly competition is always a great idea, and the New Year is no exception. You can choose board games, card games, or charades to have fun. In my opinion, games are not only a cool way to celebrate the New Year but also to strengthen the bond with friends.
Fun ideas for New Years Eve: Host a themed costume party
How to celebrate New Year party at home? Add a unique twist to your celebration by organizing a “Theme Costume Party.” Choose a funny topic to your liking. Just to give you some inspiration, here are a few ideas from my past parties: an 80s retro party, a black and white masquerade, and a Hollywood glam party. Challenge your guests to dress according to the theme and let them express their creativity to the fullest.
New Year’s Eve at home ideas: Movie marathon
How to celebrate New Year at home? If you don’t feel like having wild fun this year, organize a “Movie Marathon.” Choose the favorite series or trilogy that you and your friends adore. Prepare the living room with a comfortable couch, blankets, and dim lights. Don’t forget the major movie snacks — popcorn, candies, and soda. This is my favorite way to ring in the New Year.
Fun New Years Eve Ideas You Should Definitely Try
I’ve told you about some cool ways to ring in the New Year. You may even find some of them boring. No hard feelings from my side, though. As I said, everyone has their own idea of fun. However, if you want to welcome the New Year 2024 in a special way, here are my super creative New Years Eve ideas at home for your celebration.
My top 3 ideas for New Years Eve parties at home:
- Celebration in reverse. Funny at home New Years Eve ideas for you: Start celebrating New Year’s Eve at noon, because why not? Start at 1 p.m. and work your way back to midnight, marking each number with a unique activity. Dance like no one’s watching when the clock strikes 3 p.m., have a pillow fight at 7 p.m. or make a collective toast at 11 p.m. I guarantee you’ll have a celebration of a lifetime.
- New Year’s resolution roast. In my opinion, this is one of the fun New Years Eve ideas you can think of. Instead of the usual exchange of promises, have a laugh-out-loud “NYE Resolution Roast.” Each friend takes a turn sharing their last year’s promises with some jokes or sharing promises they know they won’t keep for sure. There will always be someone who makes a lot of promises every year but ends up doing nothing.
- New Year’s Eve pajama jam. How to celebrate New Year at home? Invite your friends to a “Pajama Jam” where everyone should wear their coziest and most bizarre pajamas. You can watch movies, play board games, and enjoy brunch while staying comfortable and relaxed. Don’t forget to take lots of memorable photos! OR you can use one of the good old New Year’s at home ideas and organize a contest for the ugliest NYE sweater if the idea of pajamas isn’t fun enough for you.
I hope you found interesting ideas for New Years Eve parties at home for yourself and will definitely take one or two ideas for celebrating the New Year from my article. Have fun!