We’ve almost made it. We’re almost done with 2020, otherwise known as one of the most bizarre years most of us have ever experienced.

If you’re like most of us, you’re more than ready to relegate 2020 to your rear view mirror. We’ve all had to alter our plans and, nine months in, we’re not out of the (pandemic) woods just yet. That means finding creative and safe ways to celebrate New Year‘s Eve.

Even if you can’t wait until 2020 is a mere historical footnote, now is definitely not the time to ring in 2021 by celebrating in a packed venue or throwing a huge party. Remember, it’s safest to celebrate with just your immediate household, to avoid gathering in large groups, and to maintain social distance and wear a non-medical mask.

Here’s how to ring in the new year in safety and style, while following the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Broaden Your Horizons

Every new year brings a fresh start and the chance to expand your horizons. Why not start 2021 by exploring some of the special dishes commonly served on the new year around the world?

In the American South, a plate of Hoppin’ John — black-eyed peas, rice, collard greens and cornbread — often rings in the new year. In Spain and several Spanish-speaking countries, celebrants eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one grape for each toll of the bell.

In Mexico, families gather to enjoy tamales, or meat and cheese surrounded by masa dough and steamed inside corn husks. Residents of the Netherlands enjoy hot oliebollen, or doughnut-like fried dough balls dipped in powdered sugar, while Japanese families eat a bowl of soba noodles at midnight.

Of course, you could always bake a king cake. Don’t forget to bake a golden coin inside; whoever gets the lucky slice is said to have a prosperous year in store, which bodes well for 2021.

Light it Up

While at-home decor can’t fully mimic atmospheric club lighting, you can still add sparkle to your night. Get that festive party feeling by hanging colourful string lights or a rotating mirror ball. You may even want to go all out and invest in high-tech lights that shift colours in sync with the music you pump through the stereo.

Add sparkle with glittering crowns or hats. Brighten it up even more with glow sticks, necklaces and bracelets. It may not be a full light show, but it’ll definitely lighten your mood.

Make Some Noise

While you’re waiting to watch your local fireworks display (or watch one on television), you can create your own noisemakers. Holiday crackers are an easy, fun craft that the whole family can do together.

Simply fill paper tubes (toilet paper rolls are ideal) with your choice of sweet treats, confetti and glitter. Secure the tubes with tissue paper, tie the ends with colourful ribbon, and voilá! You’ve got a fun table decoration that makes a satisfying “pop” when pulled open.

Host a Virtual Party

While gathering with your loved ones to ring in the new year is off the table for this year, there is still way to celebrate New Year’s Eve on a high note – together. Rock your swankiest outfit and host a virtual party to kiss 2020 good riddance in style!

Movies, Games and Black Tie

This year, you may not be in the mood for a big to-do… and that’s OK. Of all the years, this is probably the best one to sit out the big parties and stay close to home. The good news is you can still put on your fanciest duds, even if you’re not hitting the town.

So pull out your formal wear (you know, those fancy outfits that have been sitting there unused since your New Year‘s 2019 celebration) and celebrate the new year with a black tie game night! Simply grab a selection of board games, your favorite snacks, and the members of your pandemic pod.

All gamed out? Tonight’s a great night to watch movies. Pop some corn and snuggle on the couch with your loved ones.

It’s been a long, strange year… so stay safe while you ring in the new year in style. Here’s to a better 2021!

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