Move over, Valentine’s Day.

By Stacey Ballis
December 23, 2020
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New Year’s Eve has always been a holiday for lovers. Having a date for New Year’s Eve is one of the best feelings in the world. Ringing in the new year together, the smooch at midnight, the romance of fancy dinners or glitzy parties, or cozy nights at home just you. And never has the holiday been in a better position for a seriously special night a deux than this year. Because just the two of you is really your only option! And if you and your love have gotten through this past year, you have a lot to celebrate.

So, how to make the last night of 2020 extra delicious for yourselves? We have some tips.

NYE for the new couple

If this is your first or second New Year’s Eve together, then you either connected in the middle of a global pandemic, or shortly before. This makes you a couple with some serious positive energy; I cannot imagine a tougher test of any relationship, let alone a new one, than the past 10 months. So, the best thing to do is to dine in a way that acknowledges that survival! Think about ordering takeout from a restaurant where you had your first date, or a repeat of the first meal you cooked together. If you have not yet been able to bond or experience any holidays with each other’s families, maybe teach each other your traditional dishes for New Year’s. Be sure to take some time to look back at your time together and toast each other for the support and patience to maintain your connection.

NYE Couples
Credit: Getty / AleksandarNakic

NYE for early living together/marrieds

Been together for just a few years? This NYE is a time to look forward, and not backwards. The old saying goes, start as you mean to go on, so think about everything that is ahead for you, whether that is starting a family or blending one, buying a home or renovating the one you have, work goals or retirement goals. And create a meal together that honors that future. It could be ordering from a restaurant you have always wanted to go to but have not yet had the opportunity. It could be cooking a meal from a culture of a place you want to travel to but have not yet been able to book a trip. Maybe you want to retire somewhere specific, what would be a meal you would eat on New Year’s Eve in that place? Planning a family? Go nostalgic with kid food like sloppy joes or mac and cheese, but with grown-up touches like using ground veal or adding lobster. Make the meal a launchpad into your future.

NYE for parents

Plan something for just you two after the kids go to bed. Whether that is a grazing meal of a terrific charcuterie and cheese board and a great bottle of bubbles, or a heat and eat meal from the restaurant that is your go-to for kid-free date nights, or even just a decadent dessert to share as the ball drops. Make sure that even though you are home with your family for the evening, you have at least a little time just for you to reconnect. Champagne makes a lovely nightcap.

NYE for long-haulers

Been together a decade or several? Chances are you have some New Year’s traditions to honor. Do the best you can under the circumstances. If you have a group of friends or family you usually ring in the new year with? Reach out and see if perhaps everyone might be up for cooking the same menu and toasting on Zoom at midnight. Do you usually travel this time of year? Where would you be, and what would you be eating? Replicate as best you can. Is there a restaurant you always go to? Order in from them or try and recreate their best dishes at home. Do you usually host the party? Take advantage of this unique guilt-free pressure-free opportunity to not be hosting and ask your partner what would make it special for its difference this year.

NYE for us all

Be mindful and grateful. My husband and I have hosted a NYE dinner party for the past 10 years with the same group of friends. We will be missing them and the joy and laughter, of course. But we are letting ourselves be excited for this pause, this respite. To not have to dress up, clean the house, create a tablescape, plan a menu, execute, be attentive to our guests, and then deal with the aftermath. We love our usual gathering and will be so delighted to return to it next year. But for this year, just this once, we are excited to plan a meal just for ourselves and our tastes, to cook and dine quietly together, to open a seriously spectacular bottle of champagne, to acknowledge our blessings and toast to a future that is starting to feel the tiniest bit hopeful.