How to Plan the Perfect New Year's Eve

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Some people might argue that there's no such thing as the perfect
New Year's Eve. Another party with 100 of your closest friends, all
sloshed and wearing funny hats? Or stay home and watch that ball
drop again? Neither! Your first resolution is to ring in the New Year
with style and fun. Here are a range of options to suit almost anyone.

  • Plan games: Have everyone write down his or her resolutions on a slip of paper (no names), toss them into a hat, and randomly read them aloud. Everyone has to guess which resolutions belong to whom. Hire a bartender and serve exotic cocktails. Cater the affair with gourmet food: caviar, lobster, beef Wellington.

  • Get out your calendar. If you plan it right--9 months in advance--you might give birth to the first baby born on New Year's Eve. See 251 Orchestrate the Perfect Conception.

  • Celebrate New Year's twice by crossing a time zone. Escape to the South Pacific and be one of the first to see in the New Year (timeanddate.com/counters/firstnewyear.html).

  • Make some money. There are many one-off casual jobs available on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Often the people working have access to some of the best parties and get great vantage points to see live musical acts and of course, the fireworks-- and they're paid good money to experience it all!

  • Run into the New Year. Get an early start on your New Year's resolution to get fit, and join one of the many fun runs beginning at around 11:45 p.m., New Year's Eve. Each year the New York Road Runners organizes a 5K midnight race in Central Park (nyrr.org). Many towns and cities host midnight races--check with your running group to find out if there is one in your area. Distances range from 1 to 4 miles, and there are also fun runs for kids in the late afternoon. If you don't run yourself, go and cheer on the racers. See 490 Run a Marathon.

  • Keep it simple and attend a midnight church service.

  • Celebrate First Night, a family-friendly, community-based alternative to traditional New Year's Eve parties. Starting in Boston in 1976, First Night celebrates creativity and cultural diversity through its New Year's Eve festivals of the performing and visual arts. The alcohol-free festivals include dancing, theatre, film, poetry and fireworks displays. First Night festivals are held in over 100 cities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Visit First Night International (firstnight.com).

  • Celebrate the four-day festival, Hogmanay, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Watch the torchlight procession and march of 1,000 pipers, then join Europe's biggest New Year's street party (www.edinburghshogmanay.org).

Tips & Warnings

  • If you'll be throwing a party at your home, make sure guests who are drinking have a designated driver in their group. Give numbers of cab companies to all guests and offer to pay the fare.
  • Hire a bartender.
  • Check out New Year's celebrations around the world online (earthcam.com).
  • Learn the words to Auld Lang Syne at the Robert Burns Federation's Web site, worldburnsclub.com.
  • Strip down for the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim in your area. Type "polar bear swim club" into a search engine.

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