New Year's Eve Alternatives for Parents Who Want to Stay In

Having a baby at any time of the year is challenging, to say the least. But it can be especially so around the holidays. Holiday parties and gatherings (some of which you want to attend, others not so much) seem non-stop as your calorie intake rivals the number of dollars you are spending at every turn. Add a baby to the mix and the result can be pandemonium.

Packing up the number of items babies need just to leave the house for a few hours can be maddening, especially if said baby is a newborn. Don’t forget several changes of clothes, countless diapers and wipes, burp cloths, blankets, binkies, baby cereal, formula or breast milk (and ice packs to keep it cool!), a breast pump and all of its gear, baby spoons and bowls, bibs, a stroller, winter coat and hat, and why not throw in a bouncy seat just in case of emergency? My husband and I seriously considered carting around our baby swing when our colicky son was an infant because it was the only thing that would get him to sleep.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, many parents have had about enough of the holiday spirit. If you opt to call it quits on the social gatherings this December 31, here are some fun and sane options for the evening. Don’t forget that staying in also means an early bedtime if you want, which can be awfully helpful when you have a baby that doesn’t appreciate a good snooze as much as you do.

  • Uber fancy adult  Dress up in your finest cocktail dress and suit, buy some lobsters and filet mignons, and make surf and turf. Top it all off with your favorite bottle of champagne.
  • Embrace your inner child  Make brownies, Rice Krispies treats, and hot chocolate with whipped cream and binge as soon as the kids are in bed. Staying up until the ball drops at midnight will not be an issue with all of the sugar coursing through your veins.
  • Resurrect your college self  Play beer pong and cups with your significant other and do shots in between. Order a pizza and some wings, and don’t worry about passing out and looking silly—your spouse has seen it all before. At least you don’t have to worry about driving home.
  • Experiment with recipes  Always wanted to try to make duck confit or homemade ravioli? Pull out all the stops and get cooking! You have until midnight, after all.
  • DIY projects  Have you intended to refinish the seats of your dining set or repurpose your old picture frames for months now? Put on some festive music and make an evening of it with your partner.
  • Adult coloring books  Yes, it’s a thing now. And yes, it does relieve stress. Buy a jumbo box of crayons that the kids aren’t allowed to touch and some cool, intricate coloring books and focus on nothing but being creative for the evening.
  • Hone your inner bartender  Always wanted to learn how to make an Old Fashion or a Harvey Wallbanger? Stock your liquor cabinet, get some fun mixers and garnishes, and get cracking. Just be sure to drink a lot of water, or waking up with the kids in the morning will hurt even more than it usually does.
  • Work out  Sure you can’t leave the house because the kids are in bed, but you could pop in your favorite Yoga DVD and do some couples stretching and meditating for the evening. What better way to usher in the New Year than by centering yourself?
  • Turn in early  Get into your PJs and go to bed at 9 p.m.! You’ll feel refreshed in the morning (or when the baby wakes you up in the middle of the night), and you’ll be way ahead of your hung-over friends in the morning.

Happy New Year!