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Celebrate New Year’s Eve as a Senior: 30+ Diverting Ways

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new years eve activities

Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by ashley.davis


For most places worldwide, people celebrate New Year’s Eve (aka Old Year’s Eve) on December 31. Parties, fireworks, and spending time with loved ones are popular ways to celebrate. Some Christians attend a watch-night service, which often goes on until New Year’s Day. 

Because of different time zones, the Line Islands and Tonga are the first places to ring in the New Year. While Baker Island and American Samoa are the last. 

Although there are many ways to celebrate, countless seniors can’t take part because of mobility and cognitive issues, like Dementia

This post answers your burning questions on things to do on New Year’s Eve with your aging loved ones. 

A senior woman having fun in the snow with her daughter and son-in-law and granddaughters

What Can Seniors Do with Friends to Celebrate New Year’s Eve?

The following activities and popular tourist attractions will quickly fill your schedule. 

  • Watch the ball dropNew York Times Square’s iconic ball drop attracts thousands looking to usher the new year in amongst a large crowd. 
  • Watch fireworks displays
    The entire Las Vegas strip shuts down each year for a spectacular party.
    If you’re in Chicago, head on over to Navy Pier for rides and kaleidoscopes of fireworks perfectly synchronized to music.
  • Watch the giant Fleur de Lis
    Jackson Square, New Orleans, hosts a spectacle by descending a 6-foot-tall mechanism from a tall building.
  • Have New Year’s Eve dinner at a new restaurant
    Cozy up at one of the craft brewpubs in Portland, Oregon. Listen to live music, find a new tapas bar, or have your new year’s eve dinner at a place that serves hearty traditional NYE cuisine. 
  • Walk around your neighborhood with friends and family
    The 2 most important factors here are spending quality time together and being safe. Getting light exercise and fresh air helps set the tone for a healthier lifestyle in the new year. 
  • Go see the holiday lights
    See festive lights at some of these popular tourist attractions: 
  • The ABQ Biopark Botanic Garden hosts the River of Lights in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Annapolis, Maryland’s Lights on the Bay is a drive-through light show at Sandy Point State Park.
  • Attend the annual Trail of Lights at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. 
New Year's Firework

What Can You Do as a Couple to Celebrate New Year’s Eve?

For some, Old Year’s Eve is full of glitz, champagne, and confetti. For others, it’s a bit relaxed and means spending quality time with the one they love. If you’re looking for NYE traditions as a couple, it’s time to start making blissful memories

Here is what you can do:

  • Kiss at midnight
    The more superstitious among us believe that kissing at the stroke of midnight means more love in your life for the next year. Check out these top romantic spots for your New Year’s kiss with your partner.
  • Sing the New Year’s Eve song “Auld lang syne”
    Dance to the traditional “Auld lang syne” right after you and your loved one puckered up at midnight. You can also sing along to the classic New Year’s Eve song by learning the lyrics
  • Brunch at your favorite restaurant for your New Year’s Eve dinner
    Not in the mood to stay up until midnight? Have brunch at your favorite restaurant to reminisce and plan your next year together.
Two glasses of champagne with glitter and confetti all around
  • Have a romantic getaway
    Go away together, even if only for the night. You might decide to stay at the hotel or join any public festivities at your destination. Here are some ideas for you and your partner.
  • Eat grapes for good luck
    Try the Spanish tradition by eating 12 grapes symbolizing each month of the next year for good luck. Sip on your favorite beverage, enjoy a scrumptious cheese platter, and curl up by the fireplace together.

But if your aging loved one is looking to do something unique that’s not just Bingo, ring in the new year with these activities.

20 Fun Things You Can Do to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

By choosing the right Old Year’s Eve activity suited to your aging loved one, you’re showing love and concern for their happiness. 

This list consists of 20 enjoyable things to do on NYE that helps brain stimulation and improves dexterity. 

  • Guess the resolution
    Place hand-written New Year’s resolutions in a jar. As resolutions are read out, everyone has to guess who wrote them. 
  • Tell each other 12 things you learned about them
    Write down 12 things that you learned about the other during the year. Make it enjoyable by remembering something new that you learned about the other during each month
  • Have a themed photo booth
    Ring the new year in by taking pictures in a themed photo booth. You can add creativity by using stock photos, balloons, a decorated table, and sticking other fun props to a wall. 
  • Arts & crafts night
    Have a traditional arts and crafts night with your loved ones. Bring out the adult coloring books, make smudge sticks, and NYE necklaces. Being creative boosts brain health increases dexterity, and encourages being social. 
  • Play The Happy New Year Match Game
    Search online to learn how other countries say “Happy New Year” and practice saying it. This fun game helps stimulate your cognitive abilities
  • Have a virtual pajama-themed dance party
    Being comfortable with loved ones often trumps painting the town red in an expensive outfit you’ll most likely only wear once. If a pajama-theme is not your thing, try a Hawaii Luau, a movie theme, or any theme that you want.
  • Create a time capsule
    Use pictures from the current year, footprints, favorite songs, and anything that holds special meaning. This activity could increase your beloved’s drive and boost their well-being. 
  • Watch NYE-themed movies
    Settle in with a low-key movie night at home with your favorite NYE-themed movies. Some special ones to try are the classic An American In Paris, comedic Trading Spaces, or indie drama The New Year. 
  • Hold a scavenger hunt
    While waiting for midnight, make time for a scavenger hunt that everyone can join in. Hide new-year-themed items like champagne glasses, bells, candy coins, and noisemakers. 
  • Host a virtual game night
    If you’re not in the mood to go out, have a virtual game night. Zoom-call a few close ones for after-dinner games. Popular games for seniors are Mahjong seniors, MultiPopWord, and Wii sports games. 
  • Enjoy a spa night
    Enjoy a DIY spa night at home with loved ones. Set the stage with scented candles, dim lights, soothing music, and your favorite bath essentials. 
A lit candle with New Years decorations surrounding it
  • Get rid of outdated things
    New Year’s Eve is perfect for getting rid of old stuff. Use this time to throw out or burn items that you’ve been hanging on to for far too long. These could be notes, pictures, and even ugly T-shirts. Or something as mentally healing as ridding yourself of outdated self-limiting beliefs
  • Stay home and talk
    Sometimes, the best thing you can do is spend time together and give your beloved your undivided attention. Sip a cup of chamomile tea and take the time to catch up even if you think that you already know everything there is to know. 
  • Get involved with charity
    Giving back to the community is a beautiful way to engage and feel a sense of purpose. Visit the sick at hospitals, gather care packages, or donate an item dear to you because giving something special is the best form of charity. 
  • Have a jam session
    Whether either of you is a novice or experienced, start making music. Watch online tutorials to learn any musical instrument that everyone can enjoy. Often, a karaoke night works wonders with seniors. Make a YouTube playlist to get the fun going.
  • Celebrate a new tradition
    Search for traditions from other parts of the world and make them your own.

Consider international traditions like:

  • Smashing a pomegranate on the floor at the front door like the Greeks.
  • When Germans melt lead in a spoon over a lit candle in a tradition called “Bleigiessen.”
  • Switch-up the countdown
    Perhaps your aged beloved is unable to stay up until midnight. Consider celebrating NYE in the morning by having a Noon-year’s eve brunch. When the clock strikes 12 (noon), clink glasses and say “Cheers!”
  • Set up a yoga studio
    Usher the New Year in on a relaxed note by setting up an at-home yoga studio. Put on some classical music, light some candles while gently stretching the tranquility in. Remember to have a chair for those seniors with mobility issues. 
  • Celebrate a different decade
    Choose which decade you’ll be celebrating and download everyone’s favorites from that era. Turn it into a fun game by trying to guess which year the song was released. Go all the way with party hats and other creations according to the theme. 
  • Make food from around the world
    Think about the countries you’d like to visit but haven’t had the chance to yet. Consider Oliebollen from the Dutch tradition and Marzipanschwein from Austria. Perhaps, Soba noodles from Japan for New Year’s Eve dinner will do the trick. 
Cookie surrounding by cookie cutters and baking tools


Now you don’t have to wonder about exciting ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve, where you’re singing the New Year’s Eve song, or even what you’re eating. 

However, focus on entertaining activities that stimulate the brain and improve mobility issues

Read our previous article on Best Christmas Prayers.

Check out similar articles for activity ideas for Labor Day or Independence Day.

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