The Anti-new Year

By Sharon Naylor Toris

October 29, 2019 6 min read

"If we lived in a calm, quiet society right now, more people would probably love the chance to turn up the dial for a loud, high energy New Year's Eve scene with crowds, pounding music, endless champagne and plenty of other people in various states of drunkenness," says holiday blogger Ellyn Gray. "But because we're ground down by so much noise, ups and downs, anger, conflict, uncertainty and stress, many people just want to turn off traditional New Year's Eve energy and create something quiet, serene and soul-quenching this year."

If New Year's Eve, and the recovery of New Year's Day, doesn't thrill you, think about why. Has it always been an exercise in enforced fun, as you attend expensive, inconvenient parties that leave you feeling somewhat sad? Perhaps you used to love New Year's Eve and your celebration rituals with your friends, but you've grown bored. "It's a good thing to seek change when you've outgrown the rituals of your youth," says Gray. "If you're feeling bored or like you have to attend, your friends may very well feel the same in silence. Something's gotta change, and you can take this year off from the usuals in order to find your new New Year's style," says Gray.

Your New Year's stagnation and disappointment can be things of the past when you wipe the slate clean and plan positivity, peace and play for yourself during this holiday:


Step away from your everyday scenery and routine by vacationing, even for only a weekend, in a new environment. It could be a big city, a small town, a charming village or an inspiring desert with a night sky filled with stars. Just take in the beauty without expectations or itinerary as you end one year and begin another with a check off your travel bucket list.

*Make a Travel Bucket List

Studies say that even the act of looking forward to a vacation creates happy hormones, so sit down with your partner or family and list out all the places you'd like to travel this upcoming year. You might not get to all of them, but you've ended 2019 thinking of destinations and dream experiences together.

*Give Back

"Make it a tradition to donate clothing to a shelter, bring your unwanted perishables to a food bank, run a New Year's Day 5K for charity, bring meals to a family going through a tough time or participate in any form of kindness to others," says Gray. "Giving just feels good, and that's a fine way to start the New Year."

*Plan Quiet Time

Spend an hour before bed reading a good book, stepping away from all responsibilities and allowing yourself to be transported to another era, world or culture. "Believe it or not, that giant pile of 'to be read' books in your bookshelf can be stressful, a growing pile of pressure to keep up with," says Gray. "So digging into your books pile, in print or on your Kindle, can feel great ... and then you may have an easy, healthy habit to bring into the New Year."

*Find New Recipes

Make "New" a theme, and add some freshness and flavor to your recipe repertoire by flipping through cookbooks and the Food Network website to find new meals and snacks. Host a New Year's Eve or New Year's Day cooking party, or invite friends to bring their favorite dishes, with recipes ready to share. Celebrate in health or in indulgence as you enjoy the added perk of creating something wonderful and new.

*Connect with Friends and Family the Old-Fashioned Way

While you could email loved ones, handwritten letters on pretty stationery feel so much more special. You could also ask your loved ones if they'd like to Facetime, and let them choose a time convenient for their schedule. "Your friends and family are some of your greatest gifts," says Gray. "Taking time in gratitude for them is a wonderful way to cap off the year and make plans to see these loved ones more often this year."

*Have Fun

Build a blanket fort in your living room, have a dance party, break out those old-fashioned board games or work on a puzzle. Let play fill the day as you unclench from this year, and just be carefree for a while.

*Get Out in Nature

In her book "The Green Cure," Alice Peck shares the many ways that getting out in nature is healing and healthy, from simply taking a walk to meditating in nature. End your year with the positivity of knowing your evening walks have been improving your well-being. Knowing that you've been practicing self-kindness all this time can inspire you to add more healthy habits and continue enjoying the peace and positivity of nature.

Instead of ringing in 2020 surrounded by noisy partygoers, focus on yourself and your loved ones. Whether you're planning a trip, diving into a good book or soaking up the great outdoors, these ideas will encourage positivity and peace as you celebrate the fresh start of a new year.

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