Don’t want to stay up till midnight on the last day of the year? Families, early sleepers and those wanting to social distance might consider a midday celebration for December 31.

Set the mood

First, keep your circle small, per coronavirus health guidelines. “The safest way to celebrate the new year is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you or virtually with friends and family,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health advises.

One way to combine a glittery New Year’s Eve vibe with a daytime feel is by holding a British-style high tea party, suggests Maria Lucia, a designer and stylist with the online service Decorist. Ask everyone, including those online, to wear fun hats, tiaras or crowns.

Or take a more sunlit approach. Martha Stewart Living’s home editor, Lorna Aragon, suggests forsaking the glitter and glam of midnight revelry.

“Start the day in a fresh, ‘ready-for-the-new-year’ way,” she says. “A colorful tablecloth, runner and fresh flowers are a lovely choice.”

What to do?

Depending on your timing, you can still ring in the new year with noisemakers as the clock strikes 12 in other countries around the world.

New York wedding and events planner Marcy Blum suggests collecting New Year’s resolutions from everyone on pieces of paper, putting them in a bowl, and then reading them one by one, guessing whose is whose. Online guests could send resolutions in advance.

Eat, drink

“A daytime NYE party should still feel special and festive,” says Greg Lofts, deputy food editor for Martha Stewart Living. “For beverages, bubbles are a must, even if alcohol is not, to set a celebratory mood. Make a mocktail as the featured drink.”

“For a quick and easy idea,” he says, “brew and chill hibiscus tea, then combine over ice with a squeeze of lime and high quality ginger beer.”


Fondue is an entertaining way to feed the younger family members, says interior and event designer Kate Spiro of New York.

“Try toasting with champagne flutes filled with milk, paired with homemade cookies,” she adds. Acrylic or stemless glasses might be safer for little hands.

Lofts says his years of catering experience for kids and adults alike “taught me that the most precious, fancy and labor-intensive hors d’oeuvres will never be as popular as pigs in a blanket with ketchup and mustard for dunking.”

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