Below are a few tips that could help you usher the New Year in style—without endangering your fingers or any of your loved ones in the process. I’ll start the list with some creative alternatives that bring pomp and flair to your festivities, ending with some of the most unorthodox ways you can celebrate the occasion. Enjoy!
Tip 1: Prepare some confetti-filled balloons
Purchase a package of balloons and make an activity out of the preparation. Insert confetti into each one and voila: colorful confetti-filled balloons ready to be popped once the year begins!
For a simpler alternative: fill other balloons with air, sans confetti. But for the most fuss-free method—buy a small plastic or paper bags. Fill them with air and seal them shut. Leave them in a bin or in a corner next to where you will have your countdown. That will make for easy access when the madness begins. The bags and balloons can be popped for ultimate noise in different ways—stepping on them, jumping on them, pricking them with a needle, and sitting on them. All these make for a loud bang as you welcome the New Year!
Tip 2: Toot your own horn this New Year’s Eve
This is the occasion when it is acceptable to toot your own horn. There are dozens of multi-colored paper horns being sold on the streets as 2018 approaches. Select any size or style that you prefer (The horn with a feather by the mouthpiece? A metallic-looking one that’s big enough to double as a hat?). This is one of my favorite New Year’s Eve activities—you can even get musical with it. Blow out a full note until you run out of breath. Hoist the horn upwards for maximum sound. Position it forward to reach the neighbors’ ears on the opposite side of the street. You can even breathe into the horn intermittently as if you were playing notes on a trombone, staccato style.
Tip 3: Channel your inner drummer
Besides the paper (or foil and plastic) horns listed above, percussive noisemakers are also a great way to go: clappers, tambourines, and homemade rice shakers can help you channel your inner drummer. It will be like welcoming the year in a way a fancy musician would.
You can even create your own shaker by selecting a dry, empty container with a lid. Place a small amount of dry rice grains into the jar (filling up about ¼ of the container should be enough) and seal it. Now you’ve got a shaker just like musicians have in acoustic sets! Shake away, or make several of them, and you’ve got an entire percussive team to welcome the year.
Tip 4: Buy some confetti cannons
Easily purchased at hobby stores, these are a lot of fun but they don’t last long. Make sure that each person has at least two or three cannons for maximum fun. Pull on the string, and out comes the confetti. It’s a colorful, firework-free way to ring in the New Year.
Tip 5: Dazzle everyone with sparklers
I view sparklers as a kind of candle on steroids. Some restaurants use them as birthday candles for added panache. Grab a few of them (two to three per individual should do the trick), and light them up as the New Year comes in. You can keep them at arm’s length and they look fantastic in pictures. They make for a stunning sight as they sparkle against the black velvet skies of New Year’s Eve.
Tip 6: Light up some candles
If the sparklers are a tad too close to fireworks for you, try candles. Light one up as the year begins and wave it around in the air. Or you can prepare large candles, hand them out to everyone in the group, and ask them to light the candles together then hold the latter up to their faces. Greet each other a Happy New Year and wave the candles over your heads in unison, as if in concert.
Tip 7: Pop a bottle of bubbly wine or champagne
Choose your own poison, whether it be the traditional champagne, or something else—the Italian Prosecco or Spumante, the Spanish Cava, or the Czech Bohemia Sekt. If you want a family-friendly choice, grab a bottle of non-alcoholic bubbly. The noise a cork-covered bottle makes can be quite festive. And you can have all sorts of fun with it. You can either be behaved and pour it out for everyone and clink glasses together, or shake it up and make sure the bottle of bubbly explodes in a fountain and douse everyone with it, just for the sake of fun.
Tip 8: Watch the fireworks from a distance
Check out the fireworks display with your best friends from the quiet of your own couch, or watch the official fireworks show in your town from a strategic location.
Tip 9:Get up on a chair and jump off as it hits midnight! Best paired together with Tips 2, 3, and 4 (see above).
And now for the coolest ways to ring in the year …
Tip 10:Kiss your sweetheart
If you have a better half, this can be a great New Year’s Eve habit for you. It’s another one of my favorites: kissing your significant other as the clock strikes midnight. It sets the tone for a year of connection with each other and also a great reminder that you have been loved all throughout the past year.
Tip 11:Read notes out of a Gratitude Jar.
If you haven’t spent the rest of the year jotting down things you’re grateful for and tossing the notes into a jar at the end of the year, it isn’t too late to start. Gather together as a group and spend an evening sometime before New Year’s Eve to write down what you were grateful for from the past year. Write each item on separate pieces of paper. Roll them up and put them in a jar. When it’s 15-30 minutes to countdown (depending on how many people are participating), get together and read items from the jar aloud to each other. It’s a great way to bid the past year farewell and pave the way for the coming year.