For some, New Year's Eve is classically full of glitzy outfits, champagne, and confetti. But for others, it's a bit more lax, spending a quiet evening in with family. Either way, it's a holiday that can be full of tradition and such a great opportunity to create romance as a couple.
If you're searching for New Year's Eve traditions for you and your sweetie, it's time to cue the fireworks and make some noise. From booking a special getaway and kissing at the stroke of midnight to recreating your first date or ice skating the night away, there are plenty of ideas to help make your kick-off to the new year magical.
Ahead, 15 romantic New Year's Eve traditions for couples that are sure to make sparks fly.
Kiss at Midnight
Yes, it's an old standby, but we're constantly taken aback by the number of couples that don't kiss at the stroke of midnight. We say, drop everything and pucker up. The more superstitious among us swear that starting the new year locking lips means more love in the 12 months to come. After all, you want to start off the year strong being close to the person closest to you.
Don't be afraid to plan out this special moment. Putting a little bit of thought into where you want to share your midnight kiss can make it all the more meaningful.
Dance to "Auld Lang Syne"
It's old-fashioned, but it's the traditional New Year's Eve song that's played at the stroke of midnight around the world. Why not dance to it with your love (after the kiss, of course). Whether you're at a party or at home in your PJs, put on this traditional song and simply enjoy the moment dancing in each other's arms.
Try a New Cuisine
Calling all adventurous eaters. New Year's Eve is the perfect time to test out a new cuisine in your own kitchen. "Pick something that you've never cooked before—whether it's an Indian curry, a soufflé, or a leg of lamb—and have fun by creating your own, personal program," suggests relationship expert April Masini. The key here isn't just to enjoy a lovely meal but to learn to prepare something new, together. "Get creative and think about meals you've always wanted to have, but haven't. Or, meals you have always wanted to learn to cook, but haven't," she says. And if your experiment goes well, you'll have a new go-to dish to turn to all year long.
Meet the Expert
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, as well as a best-selling author and relationship advice columnist.
Have Lunch at Your Favorite Restaurant
While you may have plans to go to a party with friends in the evening, consider reserving New Year's Eve lunch for just you and your partner. We love hearing about couples whose tradition is a New Year's Eve brunch or lunch at a favorite, special restaurant. What a great way to extend the fun of the day and a perfect build-up for celebrating with fireworks later on.
It's time for a toast! Whether it's wine or champagne, it can be fun to choose a bottle that is somehow meaningful to you and your love (think, the vintage from the year of your wedding, or a region that is special to the two of you). This is definitely an occasion to splurge a little. Break out your nicest glasses and pop a top to celebrate the new year and the future together.
Make a Time Capsule
You've heard of time capsules: Collections of meaningful items from a period of your life packed into a tin or box and buried in the ground to be unearthed at a later date. On New Year's Eve, make a time capsule with your partner that commemorates all the special times you've shared throughout the year. "This is a great activity because it really stimulates your memory and your thoughts about the relationship over the past year," says Masini. "You'll have the opportunity to cherish the most special memories and preserve them." Why not start the tradition this year?
Plan a Getaway, Even Just for the Night
Life can get hectic, and sometimes the thing you want more than anything is some quality time with your partner. Planning a getaway, even if it's just for one night, is one of those New Year's Eve traditions for couples that both of you can look forward to every year. It doesn't have to be big or elaborate—it can be as simple as renting a place on Airbnb in a nearby town for a one-night stay. The point is just to get away and enjoy each other as you close out the year and welcome the new one.
Eat Grapes for Good Luck
In Spain, it's tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight to bring prosperity in the new year. Light a fire, pour some wine, and make a delicious cheese and grapes platter to devour come midnight. Who knows, it might just bring you extra luck in the new year.
If the idea of a little extra luck sounds good to you, why not go all out with that cheese and grapes platter and add meats, other fruits, and crackers to turn it into a full-on charcuterie board? Plan a great wine pairing and build a party-worthy board to impress your partner.
Plan an Ice Skating Date
Nothing screams winter-wonder quite like ice skating, especially if it's at an outdoor ice rink. Ice skating is a fun, go-to New Year's Eve date. Wrap yourself up in your cutest scarf and hat and get ready for a night of hand-holding and hot chocolate. Who cares if you wobble a bit? You've got your love there to hold on to, after all.
Because laughter and joy are surefire ways to bring you closer, take a tip from the people of Denmark, and get in on one of their New Year's Eve traditions. At the stroke of midnight, Danes are known to break a glass or a plate together to symbolize good luck for a new year. Why not go for it? (Just make sure to have a broom on standby).
Recreate Your First Date
That first date must have been magical for a reason, right? After all, it brought the two of you to where you are now. Why not relive the magic and butterflies that started it all. Go to the same restaurant or movie theater, or even incorporate elements such as a meal or a bottle of wine you shared together to recreate something similar at home.
Reflect and Plan Ahead, Together
Mark the occasion by mapping out your goals, both individual and shared, and figuring out actionable ways to hold each other accountable. The eve of a fresh, new year is a perfect time to do this. To take it one step further, make a mood board together. Make it a tradition you revisit every year. There's nothing more romantic than being on the same team and striving towards a shared vision.
Watch a NYE-Themed Movie
This is another one of our favorite New Year's Eve traditions for couples. Grab your coziest pajamas and cuddle up to watch a New Year's Eve-themed movie. When Harry Met Sally, An Affair to Remember, Boogie Nights, or Bridget Jones's Diary are all great options as New Year's Eve centers heavily in all of these movies. Don't forget the popcorn!
As you close out holiday celebrations, you often realize how lucky you are. You have each other and plenty more good tidings after the holiday season to be thankful for. Amidst all the hustle and bustle that comes along with the holiday rush, your best intentions to volunteer over Thanksgiving might have gone unchecked. Now that the chaos has died down, use the first day of the year (or the final day of the previous year) to spend serving others alongside your sweetheart.
Adopt a Pet
If you've been longing for a furry new friend, start off the new year with a commitment to a dog or cat in need. Visit your local shelter, a foster program, or rescue facility and start looking. "Start the year with a wonderful new addition that you've adopted together," says Masini. Of course, be sure to think long and hard about how life will be with a new pet. "This isn't a decision to make impulsively," says Masini. "But if you're ready, what a great, romantic choice for the new year."