11 Best Anti-New Year's Eve Ideas
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Something Different1 of 12
By Denise Wolfe
If the words "New Year's Eve party" make you shiver in horror; if you have no one to kiss at midnight, or, on the flip side, you exchange a routine smackaroo with your spouse; if it's not just your children but you yourself who can't stay up until midnight, then it's time to change things up. Start 2014 happy and hangover-free with one of these 11 alternatives to the traditional New Year's Eve blowout.
Run for It2 of 12
Rather than quaff that umpteenth glass of bubbly, don winter underwear and running togs to join other like-minded athletes. All across the country, you can find a Midnight FunRun, a Midnight Flashmob5K, and other races. At the finish line, there's usually some combination of fireworks, food and goofy parades. Many offer hot chocolate or sparkling cider for younger runners. On your mark, get set—GO!
Movie Marathon3 of 12
Do you really need an excuse to stay off the roads on New Year's Eve? Whether just for yourself, an intimate evening for two, or a film fest for friends, you can stream, download or rent more movies than ever before. Consider the oeuvre of a single writer/director, perhaps Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail), or one actor, say, Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, Drive, and Crazy, Stupid, Love). Pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy.
Greatest Hits4 of 12
Sure, you've made mistakes in the last year, not to mention a few cringe-worthy moments best forgotten. Concentrate instead on your achievements. Celebrate yourself! "We often minimize our own successes simply because they’re ours," says life coach Sandra Dawes. Instead, give yourself permission to list the positive events of the past year. Remember those many moments of happiness, success and fun; your list might be longer than you think.
Think It Over5 of 12
"Resolutions" make you feel bad (all those pesky habits or qualities you want to change about yourself) or guilty (all the tasks you didn't accomplish last year resurrect themselves this year). Instead, "Imagine new realities and then achieve them," says innovation expert Dennis Stauffer. "Instead of resolving to lose weight, what about developing a clear vision of ourselves as being fit and energetic?" Worry later about how to implement your goals; make these last moments of 2013 a time to visualize and set your priorities.
Expert Recommendation6 of 12
Gather a few friends and together hire someone to teach something y'all don't know. Learn to juggle; start with bean bags or oranges before you graduate to chainsaws and flaming torches. Have a chef instruct on how to prepare a simple yet elegant three-course meal—and eat the results. Start the new year with a feeling of accomplishment.
Pamper Yourself7 of 12
Book a massage. Have a facial, a manicure, a pedicure. Not all spas have late hours, especially on New Year's Eve—but many do. Make relaxation the focus of your evening, or have your makeup professionally done before you venture on to the rest of your night. You deserve it!
The Big Picture8 of 12
Hollywood releases its heavyweight films at year's end, either in anticipation of the 2014 award season, or the belief that winter chill is the right time for the darker dramas, thrillers and epic adventures. Experiencing a film with an active, appreciative audience creates an energy all its own. Each gasp is louder; each laugh is multiplied. Just be extra-nice to ticket-takers and popcorn venders: They're working on New Year's Eve.
Sleepover Party9 of 12
Whether it's called Aqua-Eve or Happy Zoo Year's Eve, zoos and aquariums across the country are hosting family-friendly sleepovers on New Year's Eve. Enjoy dinner, get up-close and personal with the animals, and relish a moonlight safari. Breakfast included!
Do-Good Idea10 of 12
Find a place where the words "New Year's Eve" has a different king of meaning: hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire stations. Read books to children in the hospital, or lead songs at a nursing or rehab facility. No, you're not going to be a police officer or firefighter for one night, but volunteers might be needed in other positions throughout the evening. Call ahead to make sure volunteers are welcome before you show up.
Rock On11 of 12
If it's music that soothes your savage breast, check out JamBase. There's a list of late-night concerts everywhere from Topeka to Albany, and even a few foreign venues like Sydney, Australia and Aberdeen, Scotland. You should be able to find plenty of aural excitement to toast the new year.
Dinner & Conversation12 of 12
Gather friends and share a meal. Yes, you can always find a restaurant, but consider staying at home. Pick a theme and either cook it yourself, or go potluck. 1960s? Pop-tart appetizers and cheese fondue. South American? Empanadas and chicken mole. Your menu is limited only by your imagination.