An alcohol free New Year’s Eve? But, New Year’s Eve is synonymous with merriment, parties, and lots of alcohol! When we picture it, we envisage a classy tip of a champagne glass at midnight to toast the start of a new year and the flipping of a fresh calendar page. Oftentimes though, the reality is less refined, and more… shots shots shots, mess, kissing strangers, drinking prosecco from the bottle, 4am finishes, poor decisions, fake eyelashes on cheeks, and a stonking hangover to begin the new year.
Despite not living a fully teetotal lifestyle, I’ve celebrated an alcohol free New Year’s Eve for the past four years and I can’t recommend it enough. January 1st suddenly feels a whole lot sweeter.
If you’re also embracing an alcohol free New Year’s Eve this year, but aren’t too sure what that looks like yet, scroll on for some ideas on how to make the most of it.
Read more about my sober curious lifestyle here (opens in a new tab).
Forget the alcohol and make it all about the food.
The best thing about alcohol free life in general is that food gets so much more focus. If you take the New Year’s Eve spotlight off alcohol and turn it towards food, the foodie opportunities are endless! Here are some ideas to make food the focus of your New Year’s Eve celebrations:
- Make the most elaborate dinner spread of your life. I’m talking a 4-hour prep kinda meal.
- Host a themed pot luck dinner where everyone brings a dish in a theme of your choosing.
- Go to an expensive restaurant that you wouldn’t normally visit and have an indulgent meal.
- Pick your favourite type of food and make the ultimate version of it.
New Year’s Eve journal sesh.
If you’re already a seasoned journaller then you’ll know that the end of one chapter and the start of the next is an ideal time to write and reflect. And there is no more chapter-closey day of the year than New Year’s Eve. It’s only rivalled by Birthday Eve which is, naturally, also an excellent time to hit the journal. If your Birthday Eve happens to fall on New Year’s Eve then you have A LOT of reflecting to do, my friend. Cancel your plans. This is your plan now.
The aim of New Year’s Eve journalling is to reflect on the year that’s been and get really clear about your goals for the year ahead. To make it more of an event, you could invite some of your inner circle to share the experience with you. Get a few close friends together and share your reflections and learnings on the year that’s been and set goals for the year ahead together. Sharing and connectivity are tonics for the soul.
Click here for some journalling prompts to get you started and set some structure to your journalling. Obviously feel free to just free flow it too. Do whatever works for you.
Alcohol Free movie marathon.
It doesn’t matter specifically what movies you watch. Pick a genre, pick a trilogy, pick a director – the picking bit is entirely up to you. Just settle in for the long haul and commit to a marathon length movie-watching session. Snacks are mandatory. Also, get the popcorn that goes in the microwave not the ready-popped stuff. You’re doing this properly, OK?
Rent a cottage and get away from it all.
As the title suggests, escape the rest of the world and hole up in a rural location with the human/s of your choosing. Ideally there’s a fireplace, plenty of nature on your doorstep, and clear starry skies. With these few ingredients you ‘ll almost certainly wake up to start your new year in a state of peaceful serenity. I’d like that for you.
Do a Deep Clean.
This is the kind of thing that sounds like a terribly boring use of time (unless you’re that way inclined like my bestie) BUT I can see that the reward would be very satisfying. Picture this: you spend New Year’s Eve scrubbing, sorting, organising, generally cleansing. You pull everything out of the cupboards and put it all back in neatly. You go to bed exhausted but knowing it was a job well done. You wake up on New Year’s Day in a sparkling home. It’s dust free, it’s anti-bacced, it’s de-crumbed, that food droplet in the kitchen cupboard you’ve been ignoring is gone. All of last year is scrubbed away and you feel on top of the World.
I imagine that this would put you in a fabulous mindset to kick start the new year. Clean home, clean mind? Shiny home, shiny future?
(Flash forward then to January 7th when it’s already dusty again, and a different food droplet has appeared in a different cupboard. Relentless!)
Alcohol free games night.
Have some friends round and play! Board games, video games, card games. Heck, learn to play Mahjong with a big pot of green tea. Once again, the specific game is free for you to choose. Whatever game you find fun, do that one. I’d advise against playing love games, but that’s just me.
Go to bed before midnight.
This is one of those things that older people always talked about and that younger-me never understood the appeal of. I used to have thoughts like: Why on earth would you want to miss the turning of a new year? I can’t imagine not wanting to be in the thick of the action at the stroke of midnight. If you miss midnight aren’t you missing all the fun?
Now that I’m older-me (but hopefully not oldest-me), I understand that midnight is LATE. Without the energy boost that alcohol provides, it’s rare (never?) that I see the clock strike twelve. In saying that, I do like midnight on New Year’s Eve. There is something about the apprehension, the countdown, and the feeling of strangeness that you’re suddenly in a different year, that quite appeals to me.
However, in a bid to break a curse (results promising, conclusion pending) I went to bed before midnight last New Year’s Eve and I felt absolutely no regret about it. There was nothing that I would rather have been doing on that particular night.
Even if you don’t have specific curse-breaking motivations, if you don’t want to stay up until midnight, then just don’t. Fun is whatever it means to you.
Going alcohol free on New Year’s Eve gives you the chance to do lovely things on New Year’s Day too. Here’s a couple of recent examples from my own personal January 1sts to set the mood.
Wake up early to see the sunrise.
I started January 1st 2023 with my family, on top of a mountain, watching the sun rise over the city. There was a sense of camaraderie among everyone up there as we silently acknowledged that we’d all chosen to start our year in the same way (bleary eyed, crawling out of bed at 4am, grasping giant flasks of coffee). The mood was quiet, contemplative. Strangers standing side by side deep in thought about the twelve months ahead and what riches they’ll offer.
It’s hard not to feel inspired when you’re literally watching the first day of a blank calendar year begin. Oh, the possibilities!
Go alcohol free and exercise on New Year’s Day.
OK, so this is a VIBE. I’m kind of obsessed with not being hungover when other people are, and New Year’s Day is a prime time for sober smugness. When the masses are hiding away indoors and wondering what greasy takeaway joint is open before noon, you could be RUNNING! Or SWIMMING! Or PLAYING TENNIS! I have to stop there because it’s getting close to the point where I’m just screaming at you. You get the idea, I’m sure. Pick your exercise of choice, embrace the quietness of the first day of the new year, and get those endorphins.
I did a Parkrun on January 1st 2022 and I was awash with the glow of superiority. Didn’t even need the endorphins but accepted them anyway.
However you opt to celebrate your alcohol free New Year’s Eve, I hope that it’s a good one. Great days ahead.
Feel free to drop me a message in the comments letting me know how you plan to celebrate this year – I’d love to hear it.