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new ways to ring in the new year 
Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2

Maybe this makes me totally lame. But New Year's Eve, that most celebrated of debauched wide-scale revelries, is rarely the most exciting night of my year. There's the fact that after a steady fall-winter diet of Halloween parties, Thanksgiving feasts, holiday shindigs, and Christmas dinners, by the time December 31st rolls around, I'm really kind of partied out -- and it doesn't help a bit that by that point, I've consumed so much buttery-fatty goodness that my butt really isn't happy about being squeezed into that oh-so-chic little black dress. The alternatives to the usual cocktail parties don't seem a whole lot more enticing -- doing the bar rounds, battling the club crowds, trying not to freeze my extremities off during yet another icy-cold First Night spent wandering around Boston. New Year's Eve, in my experience, has always seemed kind of overrated as a party night. Too much emphasis on the big and the glittery (champagne! schmancy clothes!), not enough on the little things that really make for time well spent (good conversation and great friends).

So who says you have to do the expected come December 31st? Just say no to the nasty cheap bubbly, avoid the anonymous masses, leave your party dresses in the back of the closet. Celebrate New Year's in the way you really want to do it. Need ideas? Check out these alternatives for how to usher in this New Year…

1 throw a pajama party
Remember how you had to beg your mom to let you have a slumber party as a kid? To you, slumber parties offered a never-ending night of giggling with your friends -- to your mom, a long, sleepless night worrying about what kind of mischief you kids might be up to. Well, you're all grown up now, and you don't need anyone's permission to invite a select bevy of your bestest buds to bring their sleeping bags and pillows, and get comfy on your floor. Go co-ed or make it a girls' night -- either way, you'll want to make sure you have plenty to keep everyone entertained well into the wee hours of the night. Board games and cheesy movies are as fun as they were when you were ten years old -- pull out that old Ouija board for extra nostalgic kicks. As for snacks, keep it simple: we're talking pizza and popcorn and chips, the sort of foods you loved as much as a pre-teen as you do as a quasi-adult. Give your drink offerings a grown-up twist -- spike your cokes with rum or whiskey, or set up a hot cocoa and coffee bar with an array of your favorite dessert liqueurs.

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