Looking for New Year's Eve traditions for you and your sweetie to make your own? Cue the fireworks: We've rounded up 15 fun, festive, downright romantic New Year's Eve ideas that are sure to make sparks fly. From kissing at the stroke of midnight to breaking plates, booking a special getaway to recreating your first date, you'll find plenty of ideas to help make your new year magical.
1. 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 twelve months to come. Whether you believe that or not, grab your partner and land a smooch.
2. 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, and we think you should dance to it with your love (after the kiss, of course). Dancing in the new year sounds like a romantic New Year's Eve plan to us.
3. Test Out 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, she says, but to learn to prepare something new, together. "Get creative and think about meals you've always wanted to have, but haven't," she says "or have always wanted to learn to cook, but haven't." 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 columnist.
4. 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. It can become a tradition—each year, you can look back at the previous year's capsule, and then make another. Why not start this 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 in some way in a time capsule that you bury."
5. 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 boo. 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 fireworks later on, if you know what we mean).
6. Pop Bottles
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). Cheers to love!
7. Plan a Getaway, Even If It's Just for the Night
Life can get hectic and sometimes the thing you want more than anything is some QT 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, or as elaborate as taking off to Havana for a week. The point is just to get away and enjoy each other as you close out the year and welcome the new one. This is definitely a NYE tradition we can get behind.
8. 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 vino, and make a delicious cheese and grapes platter to devour come midnight.
9. Make an Ice Skating Date
Nothing's more winter-wondery than 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 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.
10. Break Plates
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 wild 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.)
11. Recreate Your First Date
Relive the magic and butterflies that started it all.
12. 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. Make it a tradition you revisit every year—there's nothing more romantic than being on the same team and striving toward a shared vision.
13. Cuddle Up on the Couch and Watch a NYE-Themed Movie
Here's another one of our favorite New Year's Eve traditions for couples: Grab your coziest pajamas and cuddle up with your honey to watch a NYE-themed movie, like When Harry Met Sally, An Affair to Remember, Boogie Nights, or Bridget Jones's Diary. New Year's Eve centers heavily in all of these movies—how fitting.
14. Volunteer Together
As you close out the 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.
15. Adopt a Pet
If you've been longing for a furry new friend, start off with a commitment to a dog or cat in need. Visit your local shelter, a foster program, or rescue facility, and "start the year with a wonderful new addition that you've adopted together," says Masini. Of course, "do think long and hard about how you'll be with a new pet," she says. After all, "this isn't a decision to make impulsively," says Masini. "But if you're ready, what a great, romantic choice for the new year."