Five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!

The arrival of a new year is a time to celebrate, and the festivities can come in many forms. Here are five traditional and five not-so-traditional ways to stage a New Year’s Eve celebration worth remembering.

Stick to the Traditional

Play Games

Pass the hours until midnight with one game after another. Focus on card games, board games, video games, party games, or a mix of these. It can be intimate evening with just your immediate family or a few close friends or a big party multiple games going at one time.

Count Down to Midnight

Count down to the new year with the tradition of watching a live television feed of the New Year’s Eve ball drop. If you’d like to head to bed before midnight, watch footage from a time zone that reaches the new year an hour or two earlier than you. In fact, if you want to turn in really early, find a website that streams New Year’s Eve parties from around the world.

Attend a Community Celebration

Many cities hold community-wide parties that are open to the public and are often family-friendly. For example, First Night events, held around the country, are typically alcohol-free and focused on the arts. Community centers and churches are other groups that sometimes sponsor New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Craft a List of Resolutions

What do you want the upcoming year to look like? Head into January with a plan for what you’d like to accomplish and who you’d like to be by the time December rolls around. The best resolutions are realistic, achievable and measurable goals that can be accomplished little-by-little through steady progress.

Watch Fireworks

There’s something exciting about counting down the new year in a huge crowd, then watching the explosions of color light up the sky. Although many cities hold New Year’s Eve fireworks displays, if yours doesn’t, consider taking a road trip to one that does.

Divert to the Not-So-Traditional

Organize a Cook-Off

Issue a challenge to your friends to find out who the best chef among you is. The event could be anything from a chili competition to a cookie bake-off. Make sure to provide a way for all the guests to vote for their favorite entry, and present the winner with a prize.

Serve Others

For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister … —Mark 10:45 

Enrich your New Year’s Eve experience by reaching out to others. It can be hard to recruit volunteers to help out on a holiday, so a local soup kitchen might be grateful for your offer to cook and serve dinner on New Year’s Eve. Residents in a group home, long-term care center or homeless shelter might enjoy a festive party with snacks, games and craft projects.

Hold a Progressive Dinner

With a group of friends, plan a progressive dinner, in which you travel from house to house for each course of a meal. Begin with appetizers several hours before midnight, then move on to the next houses for the salad, main dish and dessert courses. Arrive at the last home in time to toast the new year.

Host a Mystery Party

New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity for a mystery party, where guests take on various roles and try to solve a scripted crime. Mystery party kits are available for purchase for both kids and adults. Many are murder-themed, but if that’s not your style, seek out one where you investigate a strange situation instead.

Add a Multicultural Twist

This year, try out holiday customs from other parts of the world. For example, in Greece, people bake a Saint Basil’s cake with a coin inside. In Scotland, it’s a tradition to clean your home in preparation for the new year. And the Portuguese look forward to twelve happy months by eating twelve grapes at midnight.

Whether you’d prefer a traditional celebration or a not-so-traditional one, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s gone by and look forward to the start of the one to come, so make a plan to usher in the new year in the style that best suits you.

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