When it comes to turning the page on a new year, celebrations aren’t quite what they used to be. Sure, some people still count down to midnight at a big house party—however, New Year’s Eve blowouts are increasingly giving way to an entirely different kind of soiree, gatherings that land on January 1st instead, for a variety of reasons.
Marissa Johnson, a Mississippi-based event and party planner, is fully on board with eschewing New Year's Eve excitement in favor of a calmer, more meaningful gathering on New Year’s Day. “Planning an event on New Year’s Day rather than Eve can offer a much more unique experience without the hangover and sore feet from wearing heels all night,” she says. “It’s also the perfect opportunity to start working on your New Year’s resolutions in a peaceful and safe environment, just as your year should be.”
Meet the Expert
- Marissa Johnson is a professional party planner based in Mississippi where she runs Inflatable Blast.
- Harry Morton is a London-based founder of a podcast production agency, Lower Street.
- Max Ade is a co-founder of Pickle Heads, a pickleball court location service.
- Vered DeLeeuw is a healthy food blogger and owns Healthy Recipes.
Commune With Nature
For many people, the ultimate peaceful setting is outdoors, and so that figures big into some New Year’s plans. Harry Morton who owns Lower Street, a podcast production agency, says he is making nature his jumping-off point for 2023.
“As a lover of all things nature and trails, I see myself spending New Year’s Eve either camping or mountain biking—or both,” he says. “Hitting the trails is something I find incredibly rewarding, and it’s equal parts meditative and adventurous. I personally don’t feel excited at the thought of being at New Year’s Eve parties that are either too overcrowded or revolve around the same theme year after year. There’s nothing unique or out-of-the-box happening here, it feels more ritualistic than exciting.” And as for New Year’s Day? Morton says, “I see myself spending [New Year’s Eve] camping outdoors, followed by a relaxing meal with family and friends the next day.”
Take Time With Those You Love
Taking time to have a leisurely meal with loved ones is common in the New Year's Day plans for many people who have grown tired of the traditional bar scene. Atlanta resident Max Ade and his family are planning their second year of New Year’s Day festivities. “For years, I got really excited about New Year’s Eve parties,” he says. “They were always a letdown. Bars and other events were always jam-packed and overpriced. I finally gave that up and started celebrating the next day.”
Ade, a co-founder of a pickleball court location service, is looking forward to time with friends for the first day of 2023 after a successful New Year’s Day event to kick off 2022. “It was big last year,” he says. “We'll be popping bottles of champagne on New Year's Day and enjoying some Hibachi with friends. We can't wait!” And this year, he has loved ones on top of his mind for his resolutions as well. “We have a 3-month-old baby, so my intention this year is to be present and enjoy every moment.”
Johnson takes advantage of the fresh start that a new year brings and incorporates that theme into her annual celebrations with her loved ones. “It’s really crucial you’re surrounded by people whom you love and who love you, so you can create an inviting atmosphere to reflect on your goals—think about how you can better yourself, and make resolutions for the upcoming year,” she says. “For example, I like to prepare cards where everyone writes one of their New Year’s resolutions anonymously, and then they’re read out loud. The following year we take out the cards, read them aloud again, and try to guess who wrote what based on what they achieved throughout the year. Talk about positive accountability!”
Share a Meal
Brunch is a popular choice for those who choose to do their celebrating on New Year’s Day. Of course, you can always make a reservation at a number of restaurants and let someone else do the cooking but that can get pricey. And it isn’t as personal as a relaxing afternoon at someone’s home. Putting together a New Year’s Day brunch doesn’t have to be complicated. Vered DeLeeuw, a healthy food blogger, favors a bit of a brunch potluck.
“My husband and I were never into big parties. We much prefer small, intimate gatherings of just a few couples,” she says. “It's been our tradition for many years now to invite two or three other couples for a New Year's Day brunch at our place. We serve champagne, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres (these bacon cheese balls are always a big hit), and each of our friends brings something— such as a casserole or a salad. Small gatherings always felt more meaningful to me, and this is true for New Year's, too.”
Whether you are tired of the late-night bar scene or just want a more relaxed and meaningful celebration of turning the calendar into a new year, the options are endless. There are no rulebooks; make your celebration anything that speaks to you. Johnson sums it up this way, “In the end, I truly believe that celebrating New Year's Day is a great way to start the year on a positive note and set the tone for the rest of the year, surrounded by the love and support of all of those who you wish to keep in your life for many years to come."