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5 Ideas for a Low-Key New Year's Eve

Here are five super relaxed NYE party alternatives for anyone looking to have an exciting night in.
12/28/2015 12:14pm ET | Updated December 28, 2016
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Most NYE parties are high energy and incredibly expensive, and they probably involve dealing with huge crowds of strangers in crowded bars--a low-key person's worst nightmare.

Of course, these kinds of celebrations are popular because plenty of people enjoy them. Others, however, would rather hang out with a few close friends and avoid the big New Year's hullabaloo. Here are five super relaxed NYE party alternatives for anyone looking to have an exciting night in:

1. Movie Night

Watching movies is the perfect way to pass the time while waiting for the ball to drop. Your first impulse might be to pick incredible, engrossing movies that will have your attention the entire time, but that only works if everyone invited has identical tastes in movies. "Great film" is a moving target, and someone is bound to be bored no matter what you choose.

A better alternative is picking movies you can talk over, like bad dramas or B-list horror films. Go in planning to laugh at how terrible the movie is, and you can spend your time making fun of the ridiculous special effects or implausible plot lines. Don't forget to keep an eye on the clock, so you can count down when the new year arrives!

2. Crafting

If your New Year's resolution is to do more DIY projects, why wait until Jan.1? Plan a party for you and your most (or least) crafty friends. Pick a few projects ahead of time that everyone will work on--you can scour through one another's Pinterest boards when planning the details. Go on a supply run to make sure you have plenty of paint, glue, and glitter for the big night.

Take plenty of pictures throughout the evening, and go in ready to laugh at yourself. There's a decent chance at least a few of your projects will turn out to be #pinterestfails. If you go in knowing the odds are good your snow globe might come out hilariously wrong, you'll have a lot more fun whether it turns out looking great or terrible.

3. Potluck or Cooking Party

If you're having NYE in, you're going to need to eat something. Ask your guests to bring along a small dish to share with everyone. Not only will this save you from needing to cook (or buy) enough food to satisfy your guests until the ball drops, but it will also give you a chance to try a bite of everything. Make sure you coordinate so you don't get 10 bags of potato chips.

You could try cooking or baking during your party and getting everyone involved if your kitchen is big enough. For example, it could be fun to make cookies that everyone has a hand in. Some people can make the dough, others can roll it out and cut out the cookies, someone can be in charge of the baking, and everyone can decorate. Then the whole group gets to eat the food they helped prepare!

4. Board Games

An evening of board games is an evening well-spent. The great thing about board games is they give everyone a social pivoting point. They're the perfect way to bring together people from different groups of friends, because they instantly break the ice. Friendship can quickly bloom when people are playing Twister or Pictionary.

Of course, not all games will bring about the same atmosphere. Charades is a silly activity that will make the hours fly by. Monopoly or Sorry, on the other hand, are great ways to start off the new year by having beef with some of your friends. Pick the game that's right for you and your social circle.

5. Pajama Party

There's nothing more low-key than wearing slippers and oversized T-shirts, so throw a pajama party this New Year's Eve. When you think about it, NYE is actually the perfect occasion for a pajama party--you're already going to be staying up late, and the odds are good some of your guests will want to crash at your place anyway--why not be super comfortable all night?

If you do throw this kind of party, however, it is of the utmost importance that you invite people who will actually participate. There's nothing less fun than someone showing up to a pajama party dressed like they could go to the grocery store without shame. If everyone comes in their comfiest and least-dignified digs, however, you're sure to have a laid-back year-end celebration.

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