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10 fun ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve, safely at home

Jennifer Lopez headlines “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest,” on ABC at 8 p.m.Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

By God, we did it. We finished 2020.

Cue radiant light piercing the clouds, balloons, confetti, single tear of joy.


This endless year is finally ending, and you may be so happy to see it go, you won’t even miss the New Year’s Eve parties. On this weird (yet oh so wonderful) Dec. 31, we’ve rounded up 10 ways to stay home, stay safe, and kick 2020 to the curb in style.



Yup, New York’s Times Square may be closed to the public, but it’s comforting somehow that the ball drop tradition continues. Like most years, there are a few ways to watch. No cable? Try the livestream via NewYorkTimesSquare.org. For the specials below, watch on TV, apps, or Web.


CNN's Anderson Cooper (left) and Andy Cohen of Bravo TV's "Watch What Happens Live" will co-host CNN's New Year’s Eve celebration again this year, minus the crowds, in Times Square.AP

CNN lets its hair down a bit for “New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen,” hosted by the real-life buddies, who get more inebriated as the night goes on. This year’s guests include Patti Labelle, Dead & Co’s John Mayer, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Buffett, Carole Baskin, Josh Groban, Leslie Jordan, Dulcé Sloan, Desus & Mero, Kylie Minogue, Aloe Blacc, Goo Goo Dolls, and Jon Bon Jovi, according to CNN. Honestly, it’s worth watching just to see Cooper get giggly after doing shots. 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, on ABC, Jennifer Lopez headlines “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest.” Billy Porter, Jimmie Allen, and Cyndi Lauper will also appear. 8 p.m.

Carson Daly hosts “NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2021” with performances by Brett Eldredge, Julianne Hough, Ne-Yo, Leslie Odom Jr., Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and more, according to NBC.com. 10 p.m. “Community” alums Joel McHale and Ken Jeong team up for “FOX’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021.” 8 p.m.


Like Times Square, First Night Boston is continuing its tradition, held since 1975, sans crowds. Catch the online stream starting at 6 p.m. via https://www.firstnightboston.org. According to First Night’s website, you can also watch segments on NBC10 Boston from 7-8 p.m.; NECN and NBC Sports Boston from 11 p.m to 12:01 a.m., and via Telemundo Boston. The night includes jazz musicians, dancers, figure skating, and R&B performances, according to their schedule. You can share your New Year’s resolutions and home celebrations on social media using the hashtag #Together21.



Why not toast the heck out of this year? You’re not driving anywhere, and you definitely have the time — and remember you can also make alcohol-free mocktails.

A little Googling turns up scads of festive recipes: a confetti champagne cocktail, with vanilla vodka and a pop rocks rim, peppermint bark mimosas, and Drunken Peanut Butter Cups via delish.com. Or try Champagne Holiday Punch, garnished with star anise pods, pineapple slices, and grated nutmeg; or the flaming Set the New Year on Fire cocktail, both via liquor.com.

Connecticut’s host with the most, Martha Stewart, offers recipes for a Champagne Fizz with candied ginger, a fruity Sorbet and Champagne cocktail, and a nonalcoholic Cranberry Sparkler with blackberry puree, at marthastewart.com.


Longing for a fancy dinner party? Go for it with the members of your household. Unearth your party clothes (remember those?) and dive into the Boston Globe Recipes page. Vegan Butternut-Ginger Soup, perhaps, roast salmon with chimichurri sauce, braised chicken thighs with oranges and olives, mashed potatoes with parmesan-parsley crumbs, a Spanish-French Cabbage Soup from Majorca.


Braised Chicken Thighs with Oranges and OlivesKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Boston’s GBH, Julia Child’s home network, offers a handy recipe page — from Child’s Bouillabaisse A La Marseillaise , to quiche Lorraine, to her roasted chicken.

If you’re quarantined afar and reading this online, the site sheknows.com offers “15 Dishes That Will Make You Homesick For Boston” — or just happy you live here — from lobster bisque to a classic Irish coffee. You can find recipes from home cooks in MassachusettsDown East blueberry buckle from Plymouth, beer-braised pulled ham from Lawrence, and Minestrone soup from Topsfield on tasteofhome.com


Picking up some takeout might be part of your usual New Year’s Eve ritual. Smart move.

A very few suggestions: Up your game this year with Boston’s Alcove; par for the course: blackened fish tacos, house-made foccacia, spiced pumpkin soup. 617-248-0050. https://alcoveboston.com.

Pammy’s — a Globe Restaurant of the Year in 2017 — offers authentic Italian, from whipped cheese and sesame garlic knots, to a tagliatelle and eggplant platter (https://www.pammyscambridge.com/, 617-945-1761) For more knee-buckling dishes of Italy, try the Back Bay’s Eataly (https://www.eataly.com/ 617-807-7300)

Thai-style fresh summer rolls at Mahaniyom in Brookline. These rolls are stuffed with lots of goodness like sweet pork sausage, bean sprouts, cucumber, tofu, and omelette. Finished with a little touch of sweet gravy.Courtesy of Mahaniyom

For Thai — from crab curry to flying squid —the Globe recommends Mahaniyom in Brookline. 617-487-5986, www.mahaniyomboston.com. For Haitian-style spaghetti, plantain lasagna, or Creole chicken, call Neighborhood Kitchen in Medford. 781-391-9000, www.nkboston.com.



If getting dressed up for a themed costume party sounds like the right way to exit this year, indulge. Kids who never got to trick-or-treat might get a kick out of donning that Buzz Lightyear suit. Take silly family photos with a photo booth app. Dance like no one’s watching. (No one is.) You just made it through 2020.


The classic Monopoly game.Justin Sullivan/Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Ge

Make it an old-fashioned family game night, by pulling out the board games or cards. Grab paper and pens for Win, Lose or Draw, play charades, or face off in a Wii Sports tournament.

Don’t have Scattergories? There’s an app for that. Download the Scattergories app , or, for that matter, any number of classic games — Yahtzee, Scrabble, Uno, Monopoly— are all now available as apps. Connect with distant friends via a remote game like Words with Friends, or a Zoom party.

A fun phone game for those in one room is Heads Up. Hold the phone (facing out) to your forehead and try to guess the word on its screen that your fam is acting out — bonus: You can set the app to record the antics, so you can LOL at yourselves later. FamilyFeud.com also offers ways to play at home.


Treat yourself with an epic dessert for the family. (Or one.)

Find recipes for sweets like Naked Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream on the Globe’s Recipe page. Or perhaps some Malbec-poached pears with ice cream and toasted almonds, a sticky toffee pudding, or chocolate-chip cinnamon mandelbrot, Creme Anglaise, or Irish coffee cupcakes.


GBH offers some great dessert recipes, too: from S’mores cupcakes for kids, to Marbled Tahini Swirl Brownies “that taste like candy,” Ricotta-Semolina Cheesecake, French apple cake, and Julia Child’s chocolate mousse or Napoleons. Martha Stewart’s site, of course, offers dozens of delights.


Yifei Liu as the title character in "Mulan." Jasin Boland/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictu

If you typically head to the theater on New Year’s Eve, pop the popcorn, dim the lights, and start streaming. Some holiday releases went straight to the small screen this year — plus it’s time to catch up on releases you missed.

For the family: the much-buzzed about live-action “Mulan” that released on Disney+ earlier this year for a price is now free for subscribers. Disney Pixar’s new release, “Soul,” hit the streaming service on Christmas Day; “Black Beauty,” voiced by Kate Winslet, is another new family blockbuster. Marvel and “Star Wars” fans, make your own marathon here.

Obviously, suggestions could go on for pages, but a handful of recent Netflix adds: the creators of “Black Mirror” take a look back at the worst year in “Death to 2020.” George Clooney directs and stars in “Midnight Sky.”


This one goes without saying — you may make some resolutions tonight. And with all that happened in 2020, your future intentions may be different than in years past. Here’s hoping we all have the chance to create a better 2021.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.