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How to Celebrate New Year's Eve in a Pandemic

How to Celebrate New Year's Eve in a Pandemic

Here are some ideas for bidding 2020 goodbye and celebrating the start of a new (hopefully more positive) year.

2020 has been a tumultuous year to say the least, and there’s no doubt many of us are counting down the days until it’s finally over. Ringing in 2021 may not look like years past, without crowding Times Square to watch the ball drop or having a ton of friends and family over to count down at home. However, there are still lots of fun ideas for celebrating New Years 2021 in a safe and smart way, despite the coronavirus. 

Learn How Other Cultures Celebrate New Year’s

American New Year’s Eve traditions—like crowding Times Square, kissing at midnight, and champagne toasts—may not be coronavirus friendly. However, every country has its own New Years celebrations and there are surely aspects of their celebrations that you can learn about and implement into your own at-home celebrations this year.  

New Year’s in China

Chinese Lunar New Year, many families will hang couplets representing well wishes for good health, fortune, and luck. They also fill red envelopes (hong bao) with money and give them out to friends and family. 

New Year’s in Thailand 

 In Thailand, celebratory dishes include khao chase (rice soaked in flower-scented water), chicken with green curry, and krayasat (a dessert bar made from peanuts, sugar cane, sticky rice, sesame seeds, and coconut).  

New Year’s in Israel

In Jewish culture, the New Year (Rosh Hashana) is celebrated on the first and second day of the Hebrew lunar month of Tishrei. Apples dipped in honey are a classic Rosh Hashana sweet. 

New Year’s in India

The Hindu lunar celebration, Diwali, was recently celebrated on Nov. 14. Some purchase Diyas, small earthen oil-filled lamps, to light up their homes in celebration of the festival of lights. People also thoroughly clear their homes to welcome the goddess of wealth into their home. 

New Year’s in Spain

As the clock strikes midnight in Spain, it's tradition to scarf down 12 grapes quickly while making wishes for the new year. 

RELATED: Sesame Street Releases Resources to Help Children Manage Holiday Anxiety This Year

Have a New Year's Movie Marathon 

Common Sense Media has this list of the best New Year’s Eve movies for the family. Some of the best on it include Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year, High School Musical, and Sleepless in Seattle. 

Participate in an Online or In-Person New Year's Activity

While many have been canceled, there are still a bunch of New Year's eve activities and events happening in-person and online around the New York area. 

Make a New Year's Resolution Book

Since 2020 canceled many of our plans, this is the best year to make resolutions, goals, and bucket lists for 2021 and stick to them. Here’s to hoping there are no more canceled plans in 2021!

Have a Family Decade Party 

We don’t know about you, but 2020 was not our favorite decade. Why not pick a different (perhaps more fun) decade and dress up like that year? Throw a 70’s disco alongside the roaring 1920s or bust out the scrunchies (which are totally back in) for a 1980s party. 

Watch the Ball Drop on TV 

While we don’t have the details of the Times Square New Year’s Eve party this year just yet, it’s safe to assume there won’t be massive crowding to watch the ball drop in person. However, if there’s anything we’ve learned from the Thanksgiving Day Parade, many award shows, the Disney Sing Alongs, and more, it’s still fun to watch an event at home! (and it’s warmer.) 

Make New Year's Day Brunch

There’s nothing like a delicious brunch to kick off a much-needed restart in 2021. Take a stab at the Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll pancake recipe. 

Make a 2020 Scrapbook

Looking back on 2020 may be difficult for some of us, but expressing gratitude and being thankful for all of the happy moments is important. Put together a scrapbook of all of the fun you got to have this year, whether it’s a vacation that happened pre-COVID or pictures from a drive-by birthday celebration.

Pick a 2020 Theme Song

What song perfectly sums up how 2020 went for you? What song do you hope will represent 2021? 

Plan a Family Act Of Kindness

End this year and start the new one doing something meaningful as a family. Maybe you want to donate to a food bank or volunteer together. 




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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes is a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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