10 Best Socially Distant New Year’s Eve Party Ideas To Safely Ring In 2021

Rachel BurrisDecember 18, 2020

Nothing about 2020 has been normal, so you can’t expect this New Year’s Eve to be, either. But, if one thing’s for sure, we could all use a party to celebrate wrapping up this endlessly trying year. So, how do you do that when cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise and the vaccines needed are barely on the horizon?

You can safely ring in 2021 and still have a fabulous time. Check out our 10 best socially distant New Year’s Eve party ideas to find out how.

Idea 1: Throw A Virtual New Year’s Eve Party

Unfortunately, the pandemic won’t be going anywhere this year. That means that the safest option for celebrating the New Year with family and friends is to host a virtual party. While you may be groaning, thinking of the often awkward and chaotic Zoom meetings you’ve experienced working remotely, keep in mind that you can turn a virtual affair into a lively diversion from our regrettable reality.

To get your virtual New Year’s Eve party started, you can choose one of these free venues:

  • Zoom: Host up to 100 guests for up to 40 minutes. For longer gatherings, you must purchase a plan.
  • Skype: Invite up to 50 guests for an evening of fun. If you want to call cell phones, you will have to pay for a subscription. 
  • Facebook Messenger Rooms: Entertain up to 50 guests all night. There’s no need for a Facebook account to attend. Just share a link to the room in your invitations.

Idea 2: Choose A Party Theme

Just because you’re partying remotely doesn’t mean you can’t elevate the festivities with a theme. Themed parties tend to be successful because they require guests to dress in costumes. By asking guests to dress up, you ensure that they arrive at the party with their guards down, ready to celebrate.

This year should be no different. Even though everyone will be in their own homes, having guests throw on a costume will help you get the crowd in a lighthearted, celebratory mood. Plus, costumes are a great ice breaker, so you won’t have to worry about any of those awkward, virtual silences.

The theme you choose should depend on what you want the mood of your party to be. Themes can range from laid-back to over the top, such as:

  • Pajama Party: Make your gathering a cozy one by having all your guests dress in their favorite pajamas and sip on spiked hot chocolates as you gab the night away.
  • Luau: Give your guests a break from the cold weather by creating a tropical oasis – have them dress in Hawaiian shirts or grass skirts, send them leis and tiki-inspired cups in the mail and have them make their own fruit-forward mixed drinks at home.
  • Resolutions: Since it’s tradition to set personal goals for the upcoming year, have your guests dress up as their New Year’s resolutions, ask everyone to decorate their backgrounds with their favorite inspiring quotes and create games around guessing each other’s costumes.
  • Gatsby Soiree: This NYE may be an unusual one, but it’s still part of the “Roaring ’20s,” so why not celebrate by having your guests dress up as flappers and mobsters? Have everyone decorate their backgrounds with green string lights and art deco-inspired decor.

The secret to success here is to try to choose a theme that you think both you and your guests will get excited about. The more excited everyone is to dress up, the more spirited the party will be.

Idea 3: Send Out E-Invitations

A Zoom call may not scream rager, but personalized e-invitations definitely upgrade any virtual event. So, put together your guest list and start thinking about the look you want to achieve. Websites like Evite, Paperless Post and Minted offer a variety of designs, many of which can be sent for free. 

Once you send out the invitations, you can also use these websites to keep track of your headcount with their RSVP features. Evite will even provide you with a free, unlimited video chat to host your virtual event. So, your guests can access your New Year’s Eve party straight from the invitation.

Idea 4: Make New Year’s Eve Party Favors

Since you’ll be celebrating virtually, why not send each of your guests a care package before the event? Popular party favors tend to be individual-sized bottles of champagne with DIY labels or small boxes of truffles.

However, you can also coordinate your party favors with your theme. For luau-themed parties, leis, sunglasses or koozies make fun gifts. On the other hand, Gatsby-themed parties call for more alcohol-inspired giveaways, like champagne flutes or flasks. Depending on your budget, you may choose to have these gifts customized professionally or make labels yourself.

Idea 5: Plan A Tasting

For a more sophisticated New Year’s Eve itinerary, why not plan a tasting for all of your guests? You can have your guests sip a variety of wines, sample a few cheese or nibble on some decadent chocolates. If you’re planning a Gatsby Soiree, you may want to have guests sample 3 – 4 different kinds of champagne. 

With a bit more preparation ahead of time, you can make your virtual event really wow your attendees. Just send your guests a shopping list, drop items off at their door or shoot them a package through the post.   

Idea 6: Throw A Totally Local New Year’s Eve Party

Since COVID-19 has likely prevented you from traveling and seeing much of the outside world this year, why not take this opportunity to celebrate all that your local community has to offer. Ask your guests to support their local businesses as they ring in the new year.

Instead of cooking, you can suggest that your guests order food from nearby restaurants, desserts from their town’s bakeries and alcohol from breweries or distilleries in the area. As you enjoy your hometown treats, everyone can share where they came from and encourage others to patronize their favorite spots.

Idea 7: Have An Anonymous Gift Exchange

New Year’s Eve may not be your typical gift-giving holiday, but everyone needs a bit more cheer this year. Even though you won’t be gathering in person, you can still add an anonymous gift exchange to the evening’s activities – just ask guests to pop presents in the mail or drop them off ahead of time.

Instead of calling it Secret Santa, you can tell everyone that you’re adding a “Gear for the New Year” gift swap and have all of your guests wrap presents that they think will be useful in 2021. Adding this type of gift exchange can be especially entertaining for resolution-themed New Year’s parties, as the gifts given can center around items that will help guests stick to their resolutions. You can also ask guests to exchange practical pandemic-related gifts, like fun masks or bottles of hand sanitizer.

Idea 8: Crank Up The Karaoke

Adding karaoke to your New Year’s party is a fantastic way to keep your guests entertained. Whether your friends have perfect pitch or can be best described as tone-deaf, they’ll be left in awe and laughter as they sing the night away. Thanks to the slew of karaoke channels on YouTube, each of your guests can easily create a karaoke set-up from the comfort of their own homes.

Idea 9: Document The Occasion

With everyone dolled – and slightly liquored – up, New Year’s Eve is always the perfect time for a photo op! Even though you and your guests will all be in different places as you ring in the New Year, that doesn’t mean you can’t document the occasion.

With a screen of squares filled with your favorite folks, a virtual party is a great way to take some fun photos “Brady Bunch” style. All you need to do is say cheese and take a few screenshots. Then, send your top snapshots to all your friends.

Idea 10: Don’t Forget To Watch The Ball Drop

Just before the clock strikes midnight, switch gears and turn your virtual gathering into a viewing party. Have all your guests turn their devices on, so you can all watch the ball drop together. This year, the event will be virtually enhanced and available through a free broadcast app, so everyone can take part in celebrating the end of this challenging year. As you get close to midnight, have everyone grab a glass and together countdown to 2021.

After The Party: New Year’s Resolutions

After your potentially debaucherous New Year’s Eve party, you’ll feel more than ready to make some changes – especially if your hangover is filling you with regrets. So, before you host, make sure you’ve spent some time considering which New Year’s resolutions will help you improve your life.

If health is your biggest concern, perhaps you want your New Year’s resolution to be eating healthier foods or spending more time exercising. If you worry that you haven’t been reading enough, maybe your resolution should be finishing a book every month or reading more articles on the Rocket HomesSM Blog.

But, not all New Year’s resolutions have to be small. You may have some financial goals that you’d like to reach. If you’ve been putting off buying a new home, 2021 can be the year you achieve that milestone.

Whatever your resolutions are, just make sure you see them through. Most people don’t make it through the first 2 months. But if you set achievable goals, create a plan of attack and continuously monitor your progress, you can be one of the few success stories!

Table of Contents

    Rachel Burris

    Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Quicken Loans, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.