Pandemic New Year’s Eve Ideas To Celebrate At Home

If you’re used to going out and having an amazing time on New Year’s Eve, you’re probably now stuck wondering how to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home. COVID has thrown a wrench in things, and you’re not quite sure what the best pandemic New Year’s Eve ideas are.

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that this site uses affiliate links, and this post may include some of those.

I’ve got you. There are plenty of awesome things you can do on New Year’s Eve to still ring in the New Year with a bang! Maybe not as big of a bang noise-wise, but you can definitely make plans for 2021 to be your best year ever!

How To Celebrate New Year’s Eve At Home

This year it is best to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home and avoid parties and big crowds.

Celebrate With Your Immediate Family

It is much easier to stay safe from COVID if you only celebrate with your immediate family. Celebrate with only those in your household, or extended family that you are already always in contact with. There are plenty of things you can do that will allow you to have a great evening!

Have A Small Celebration Outside

COVID has a lower ability to spread in the great outdoors. For this reason, hosting New Year’s Eve in your backyard and choosing outside activities, while still encouraging appropriate social distance, is a great alternative to usual New Year’s Eve festivities.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve Virtually

You can have a virtual event using virtual meeting software. By now I think we’re all familiar with the more popular ones such as Zoom, Facebook Rooms, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, and Skype. Using one of these, you can participate in multiple different activities with friends and family near and far, without worrying about exposing anyone to COVID unintentionally.

14 Pandemic New Year’s Eve Ideas

There are many awesome pandemic New Year’s Eve ideas that will make celebrating at home a huge success! Many of these are awesome activities to do with friends and family virtually.

Let’s check some of them out:

1. Clean Out The Negativity

2020 is about to be over, and one of the best pandemic New Year’s Eve ideas you’ll come across is cleaning out the negativity.

Clean your home. Maybe you even want to do it the Konmari way and clear the clutter and all the things that do not bring you joy! (Be sure to check out both Book 1 and Book 2!)

Write down all the things that annoy you most, verbalize that they will not follow you into the new year, and rip up the list or burn it in the fireplace, around a campfire, or just throw it in the garbage. This simple activity symbolizes the change you want to see in the coming year!

2. Reminisce On 2020’s High Points

You definitely don’t want to just focus on the bad things, even though you are clearing them out. You also want to take time to remember and appreciate everything that went well in 2020.

Maybe you got a $1 raise? Or had a nice savings account which allowed you to spend the stimulus on something your family wanted while actually stimulating the economy? Or maybe you had a baby this year! Maybe you finally learned to love that mommy gut. Or lost 15lbs. Or cooked more homemade meals than you ever thought you could.

I’m sure you can think of at least a few things that went well this year. You can create lists with those celebrating with you, or keep your lists private. It’s up to each participant!

How To Celebrate NYE At Home

3. Choose A Money Savings Challenge To Complete

A money savings challenge is the perfect way to start off the New Year! I’m sure you’ve got big goals that you want to accomplish, and you might have a dream house, a wedding, a family vacation, or maybe even having a baby on your mind.

Perhaps you just want to pad your savings account.

Whatever your goals are, a money savings challenge can really help you get off on the right foot! Try to get the whole family involved, including the kids! Including friends and family can help everyone to stay accountable and actually complete the challenge.

FREE Money Savings Challenges

Click here to check out these money savings challenges. They are 100% FREE and will help you regardless of how much money you have to save. Choose the type of challenge that will work best for you, or try more than one!

Stack Your Dollars also has other fun financial products to help you take control of your finances in 2021! My family LOVES the Money Land Savings Challenge best!

4. Host A Vision Board Party

A vision board is used to map out your vision–for the upcoming year or for your life in general. It’s a way to goal set visually, which can serve as a daily reminder of all the great things you will accomplish. It will also encourage you to keep pushing towards your dreams.

There are several mediums you can use to create a vision board, including:

One of my favorites is this whiteboard/corkboard combo.

This bi-fold foam board is a good option

This framed corkboard is perfect for vision boards that you’d like to hang.

A simple canvas is my third pick generally, but it is probably the best option for kids. It is not huge, it is easy to work with, it is very sturdy, and it comes in bulk packs with multiple boards which is an inexpensive option for big families, or groups who want to purchase together.

Once you have chosen your medium, it’s time to gather supplies you’ll need to make a vision board that you love.

Here are some things you might want to make sure each person has to create their vision board. It is especially important to let virtual participants who opt to create a physical vision board know in advance so that they can gather supplies!

  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Construction paper
  • Old magazines, printer (for pictures)
  • Scissors, tape, glue
  • Glitter, stickers

If you don’t already know how to create a vision board, then read on for more information. Once everyone has their supplies, it is super fun and simple to proceed!

Each person will come up with goals for life, fun, business, health, etc. Use pictures, drawings, quotes and fancy lettering to represent goals on the vision board. Make it colorful (or not) depending on what inspires YOU. Each person’s board should be something that will encourage them to keep working towards goals each day.

There are no rules! Have fun, and share your board with each other once complete! This is probably my most favorite pandemic New Year’s Eve idea, and I’d LOVE to see some completed vision boards as well, so feel free to tag criticalmama on Facebook, or shoot me an e-mail with what your folks came up with!

5. Have A Good Luck Cooking Session

Different countries around the world have special foods they use to ring in the New Year! Why not have fun cooking some of these things to enjoy on New Year’s Day?

In Haiti, Soup Joumou is the New Year’s food of choice. It represents FREEDOM.

In Ireland, you would have bacon and cabbage. Irish Americans enjoyed corned beef and cabbage instead. The idea is to use meat from animals that don’t scratch in the dirt looking for food (such as chickens and pigs). This meal represents FORTUNE to come in the New Year!

In the Southern United States, you may find southerners enjoying a dish of ham with black eyed peas and collard greens. The black eyed peas are a symbol of LUCK, and the collard greens represent MONEY!

In Spain, you’d be deadpressed to find a Spaniard who skips the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve! No one wants to tempt fate and spoil their luck for the upcoming year. There’s a bell that chimes 12 times to mark midnight, and each person has to try and completely devour all 12 grapes to secure good luck for the 12 months ahead. You can find out more about this tradition here.

Long noodles represent GOOD FORTUNE, LONGEVITY, and HEALTH in China and Japan. Soba are the long noodles of choice, and the way they break represents “breaking off the old year.” Out with the old and in with the new!

Pickled herring represents BOUNTY and FORTUNE in Western European countries such as Germany, Scandinavia and Poland. Germans also love to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s for GOOD LUCK.

6. Make Some Noise!

Find ways other than fireworks to drum up some noise. How about some musical instruments? Percussion, string, wind instruments all work fine. Give the kids maracas, or just let them bang some pots and pans! The noise supposedly scares evil spirits away, but either way it’s a ton of fun!

7. Decorate & Get Decked Out!

Even if you’re not planning a big bash, you can decorate as if you were! Have a blast decorating the day of since you’re not expecting company, and dress up all fancy in all white, black and white, all black, or with slivers of silver and gold. Use party hats, or don’t. Use funky goggles and New Year’s masks. Have an amazing time, and be sure to take pictures!

8. Get Individual Drinks For All

Get individual bottles of champagne for the adults, and sparkling apple cider for the kids, especially if celebrating with a group in person. The less people have to touch others’ things, the better! And kids will love this fizzy drink and feel super special. Do air toasts instead of clinking glasses.

9. Go Camping

Searches for cabins have gone sky high all throughout this year! You might consider renting a cabin or bringing a tent and spending a few days connecting with nature. This year New Year’s Eve falls on a Thursday, so book Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a fun-filled 4-day celebration. This is a great alternative to having an intimate family celebration if you prefer NOT to stay home!

10. Watch A Movie

Or 2. Or 3! A movie marathon is a great way to ring in the New Year! This idea is great for couples, friends, and families with kids alike. Chose some movie, get some awesome super buttered popcorn, and drink copious amounts of sparkling cider.

Here are some movies to consider for the New Year:

  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey – a story of 3 family pets who think they have lost their owners and miraculously find them again. There is one sequel to this movie, and another is scheduled to premiere in 2022.
  • Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – A cute movie where Rabbit learns a lesson when Pooh and the gang make New Year’s resolutions to change.
  • Moana – This is a story about Moana’s luck + determination to fulfill her destiny and heal the land. It’s the perfect message for the upcoming year!
  • Soul – Pixar’s Soul is a must-watch for the New Year. It’s a cute little movie that will entertain and inspire you to live every minute of your life as if it is your last because it’s the little things that make life worth living.

I hope to add more movies as I think of good fits, and would love it if you leave a comment with any suggestions you have!

11. Where To, Miss? To The Stars…

You might not have thought about star gazing for a long time, but New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to start! This telescope is easy to set up and use for beginner’s, and in no time you’ll be viewing moons and planets from far away in outer space.

This activity is great for couples as well as families, the kids will remember this one forever and maybe it will become a regular activity in your household, or at least a New Year’s Eve tradition!

12. Play Board Games

Playing some games to see who has Lady Luck on their side in the upcoming year is always a great idea. They are generally easy to play and everyone can focus more on the process than being the winner. That means that everyone can be in the moment and I think that makes for more fun, especially when children are joining in on the fun!

Here are some great games to consider that (mostly) rely on luck:

  • Sorry!
  • Uno
  • Go Fish
  • Yahtzee
  • Candy Land
  • Bingo
  • Chutes & Ladders
  • Risk
  • Backgammon

13. Create A Scrapbook

If you don’t already have a family scrapbook, it’s time to start one! If you’ve browsed around this blog, then you know that I’m a huge fan of documenting precious family moments in a scrapbook! It makes a great Thanksgiving tradition, Christmas tradition, and also a wonderful and uplifting New Year’s tradition.

If you already have a scrapbook, be sure to add some New Year’s themed pages. Use some of your favorite memories from the past year and highlight pictures from those events, or pictures that represent those precious moments. Add a little note about why that made 2020 a special year for you.

Consider making separate pages for each person! If your family isn’t the most creative, consider using this scrapbook starter kit. It comes with four pages and 2 sheets of stickers.

Alternatively, you might like to just get these stickers. Of course, you can get both and have double the fun!

14. Watch A Fireworks Show On TV Or Online

To end the night and ring in the New Year’s, everyone will likely love to watch a televised/virtual New Year’s Eve firework show.

There are many cities throwing virtual events so that those of us who love to ring in the New Year with fireworks will miss it a little less.

While it sucks to not see fireworks in person as usual, look at the bright side. Less people congregating so closely means less potential for COVID to spread. There may be less smoke, less fireworks accidents requiring hospital admission, and less impact on allergy sufferers and the environment.

Here are the major cities hosting online events:

1. Victoria Embankment (London, UK)

London usually has a big fireworks event along the Thames River with about 1/10 of a million attendants in-person and over 10 million viewers on the television. They started charging for to attend a few years ago, and people attend from near and far. This year, it will be FREE online so that anyone can view their beautiful location.

2. Times Square (New York, USA)

If you’re not yet familiar with the Times Square ball dropping to mark the New Year, then you should know that this is an iconic event that ___ of people attend each New Year’s Eve.

Instead of a huge street party, this year they are going virtual. Times Square will be closed to the public, but the city will host a virtual event that can be accessed through an app! “[T]his year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings,” says Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, and co-producer of the New Year’s event.

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge (Australia)

Around a million people attend Sydney, Australia’s fireworks event each year. Usually you can view it from several different locations, but this year the government will be hosting the event in hopes of keeping it COVID-safe.

You can catch this one on the TV.

4. Auckland (New Zealand)

It’s summer in New Zealand, and thanks to their super low COVID rates, their show shall go on! So if you want to get away and see fireworks in-person, this might be a trip to consider!

5. Las Vegas (Nevada, US)

While Las Vegas has events planned for the night, they have canceled their 80,000-fireworks show. Over 300,000 people usually ring in the New Year with this light show. They haven’t announced exactly what they have planned yet.

6. Hogmanay (Edinburg, UK)

Hogmanay is a huge three day street party in the UK that attracts around 100,000 guests. This year there will be digital events in its place.

7. Copacabana Beach (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Their widely popular event attracts over 3 million attendees per year! This year it is canceled in-person, and going virtual.

8. Don’t Forget To Check Out What’s Going On Locally

Your town, county or state may be putting on a virtual event of their own! Check with the town, city and state websites if you haven’t heard any whispers about local events as yet!

Final Thoughts

I hope these pandemic New Year’s Eve ideas helped you come up with some great ideas for how to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with your loved ones this year. Whether you choose to stay home or take an intimate family trip, I know that you can make the most of this celebration even if it’s a little different than your norm.

There are certainly benefits to the current guidelines and/or restrictions, even if it gets on your last nerve. For some of us, a benefit may be that there might be less fireworks in our own communities this year if we aren’t particularly fond of the noise. For others, they might love to blame the lack of making a big deal of NYE on the pandemic.

Whatever you decide, I hope that you’ll express gratitude for everything that is going right in your life, and keep your chin up looking forward to a wonderful year 2021.

Happy New Year!


  1. Orne Groenewald says:

    What a wonderful list for a tired mom…this year has been a long one for almost everyone…now to celebrate it and soar into 2021!

    Thank you sooo much for your ideas! Love them all!!

    1. Jo says:

      You are very welcome! I hope you have a fabulous evening and many blessings for the New Year!

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