Raise your hand if the idea of another New Years spent in an overcrowded, overpriced club sipping cheap champagne makes you want to cry.
Or if the image of waiting for a cab at 3 AM while your hosts are passed out on the couch fills you with dread.
Needless to say, it might be time to start switching up your New Year’s Eve plans. With a little creativity, you can turn this overrated night into an evening that’s fun, productive, and that doesn’t necessarily have to end in a hangover. Here are some ideas to get you started.
New Years Outdoors
Start the year off right by celebrating New Year’s Eve with an outdoor activity. Search out an open air skating rink, or plan a snowshoe or cross country trek into the woods. As midnight approaches, light a campfire and heat up some s’mores. Enjoy the fresh air, the good company, and the chance to reflect in a completely serene setting.
Karma, karma, karma: ring in the New Year a credit to your karma account by spending the night volunteering. No matter where you live, there are probably plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand as a designated driver, a chaperone at a party hosted for youth, serving up meals at a soup kitchen, or a celebration event hosted by a local organization or municipality.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Lame
Yes, even watching TV while eating pizza in your sweatpants can be special, if you want it to be. Take it up a notch—it is New Year’s Eve, after all—by making that pizza yourself. Pick up some dough (or make your own— it’s super easy) and an assortment of toppings, and have a few close friends over to build your own creations. Don’t forget a dessert pizza: Nutella with bananas and strawberries on pizza dough. Mmm.
A Year-in-Review: Movie Edition
This was definitely not a bad year for films. Select your top picks of the year and devote the day to a best of 2014 movie marathon. This also counts as advanced studying for movie awards season, which is just around the corner.
If still want to party on New Year’s Eve—but with less cheesiness—check out local concert listings. Watching your favorite band live is always a good time, and unlike a cliché party at a club, you’ll actually get good value for your ticket money.
Host a Fondue Party
On the other hand, if cheesy is what you’re after, hosting a fondue party might be in the cards for you. Invite a few friends over and pretend your living a few decades in the past. Choose between cheese fondue, oil fondue, chocolate fondue—or heck, do all three.
Be a Polar Bear
The Polar Bear dip is a New Year’s Day tradition that takes place in many communities across the country. Strip down to your swimsuit and take the plunge into whatever ice cold waters are near you. Technically, this is a plan for January 1, not December 31—but by default, you’ll probably want to hit the hay early for this one.