There are an array of reasons that you may not be drinking this New Year’s Eve — from pregnancy to medical reasons to alcoholism recovery to just not wanting to — and all those reasons are totally valid. And because of the holiday seems to center around booze, it can seem like it’s not worth celebrating if you’re not imbibing. Luckily for you non-drinkers, there are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve without drinking.
For me, I don’t drink because I’m in recovery. The only way I knew how to celebrate New Year’s Eve before getting sober was with champagne (and cocaine). I spent my first sober New Year’s Eve in rehab, which ended up being a blessing in disguise because I am 100 percent sure that I could not have withstood the temptation of an alcohol-free New Year’s that year. Like so many people, I equated “celebrating” with “getting drunk.” But what I’ve learned in the years since putting down the booze is that there are countless ways to celebrate without drinking, and sometimes the celebration is even better — because you actually remember it and are fully present for it. So if you’re in the market for a sober celebration, here are some ideas for ringing in the New Year sans booze.
This one isn’t for everyone, but it has been my go-to for the past three years, when I’ve worked relief shifts at a domestic violence agency that was open 24 hours a day. You'll look like a hero among your colleagues, because no one wants to work into New Year's Eve. Plus, you usually get holiday or overtime pay, so it’s a way to bank some extra cash.
2. Be A DD For Your Friends
Cab rides are expensive and Uber will be on surge pricing, so finding a sober and affordable ride home on the year’s biggest party evening is a huge challenge. Why not offer yourself up as a designated driver for your friends, as an act of kindness? Charge enough money to cover your gas prices, let folks know in advance that you’ll be available, and do something nice for some wasted pals to ring in the new year.
3. Stay In and Watch Movies
A movie marathon is the very perfect New Year’s Eve activity. Grab a bunch of friends, load up on snacks, and queue up the Netflix. You don’t have to feel guilty about spending all night watching the screen, and it’s a great excuse to watch some of your old faves (or, even better — guilty pleasures). Plus, it keeps you off the dangerous roads with all the drunk drivers.
4. Get A Hotel Room With Your Boo
Another way to stay safe and sound on New Year's Eve is to get away for a night — without really going anywhere. Get a sitter for the kids and check out apps like Hotels Tonight or Jetsetter to find deals on hotels near you, and treat yourself and your loved one to an indulgent night. Have lots of sex if you feel like it, but even just taking a bubble bath, ordering room service, and watching movies in a giant, soft hotel bed with no kids to worry about would be heavenly.
5. Make A Bangin’ Dinner and Watch The Ball Drop
Whip up your favorite fancy foods (or invite your friends to a potluck and let them do all the cooking) while Rockin’ New Year’s Eve plays in the background. Then, when the ball drop at midnight, you can enjoy a Martinelli’s toast.
Although dancing is easier for some people after a few drinks, it’s actually really fun sober, too. Put on your favorite cheesy pop music, dim the lights, and rock out.
7. Make Memory Jars and Vision Boards
Friends of mine have this tradition and I love it. Each year, they fill a mason jar with little memories written on Post-It notes throughout the year, and read all the notes on New Year's Eve. Then they spend the evening making vision boards of inspiration for the coming year. This is a great tradition to start with kids, too.