5 Meaningful Ways to Spend the Day of New Year's Eve Before Your Party at Night

End one year—and start the next—with intention, mindfulness, and celebration.

Young cheerful man having fun with his family while pulling sledge with happy boy outstretching his arms and enjoying ride

When you're hosting a New Year's Eve party, the last 24 hours of the calendar year turn into a blur of decorating, setup, and cooking. But when you're freed from those duties for the day—either because you'll be a party guest or because you'll be celebrating quietly with a glass of Champagne—you can spend New Year's Eve day any way you want: reflecting on the year behind you, planning for the one ahead, clearing your physical (and mental) clutter to ring in a fresh start, relishing in your favorite hobbies, and relaxing with family and friends.

"I love how New Year's Eve day provides the perfect opportunity to nourish myself," says event planner Virginia Frischkorn with Bluebird Productions in Aspen, Colo. "This day is perfect for me as I plot and plan the year ahead while also reflecting on what has happened. While I address the items, behaviors, and memories I'd like to leave behind, I really use this as an opportunity—solo or with friends—to set the intention and tone for the year to come."

Set Your Goals

Don't wait to flip the calendar before considering your intentions for the year ahead; dedicate time on the days before to choosing your work, life, health, and family goals—and to figuring out exactly how you'll approach them. "I have a fun tradition of setting goals based on the number of the year—20 goals in 2020—right before the New Year starts and then plotting out the goal into tangible milestones or steps," says Frischkorn. "I love going back and looking at these just as much as I love creating and setting new goals for myself for years upcoming. The new year, for me, is about setting fresh intentions and new starts, be it a gratitude practice, exercise routine, learning a new skill, or establishing a new tradition with my family."

Mark the Year's Milestones

"I love spending New Year's Eve day reliving and celebrating the year that I just lived," says Frischkorn. Look through your photos of date nights, vacation, kids' milestones, and creative pursuits to choose the best from each month—"10-20 only!" she says—and turn them into a reel, slideshow, or printed album.

"It's such an amazing way to relive the memories!" she says. "As a mother to young children, using New Year's Eve day to go back and catalog some of my children's art or their funny sayings and quotes (I keep them in the Notes app throughout the year) is so meaningful, and a lovely tradition I've started as a way to commemorate the year."

Mindfully Reflect

Whether you institute a family year-in-review, ask your friends to join you for a round of Highs and Lows, or spend the afternoon with your journal and dedicated time to process what you've experienced since last January, looking back on the last 12 months with mindfulness and grace can help you move forward in peace.

"I love the practice of spending time reflecting on the year that passed and what is to come," says Frischkorn. "I write a list of 10 to 20 things I will leave behind and 10 to 20 things I will bring with me into the new year."

Get Outside

"Fresh air is a must," says Frischkorn. "So, whether it be a long walk or run on New Year's Eve day, I always suggest getting outside and getting moving as I start the New Year off feeling refreshed this way."

If you live in a colder climate, opt for a bundled-up hike, an afternoon of ice skating with your family, or sledding and s'mores at sunset; if New Year's Eve often brings your area warmer temperatures, soak up the sun at the beach or park. Bonus: Choose an al fresco yoga class, waterfront walk, or early morning boot camp to get raise your heart rate after a week of mid-winter relaxation.

Clean and Remove Clutter

While spending an entire day cleaning out closets, wiping down drawers, tossing expired food from the pantry, and tackling your overflowing inbox may not be everyone's idea of a celebration, there's something very refreshing about welcoming the new year with a sparkling space. "I love spending New Year's Eve day getting my ducks in a row so that when I wake up after a celebratory night out (or if I've stayed in!), I can enjoy a mellow day versus feeling behind," says Frischkorn. "I like to schedule a deep clean or purge of one or multiple areas in my home or clean out my inbox so I start fresh and ahead of the game on January 1."

Then, says Frischkorn go celebrate the night away—or fall asleep early!—"knowing you're in good shape to start the new year off right!"

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