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Not trying to battle it out with crowds of New Year’s revelers and spend some serious coin in the process? Our editors know how to make Dec. 31 just as fun at home

Sunset Staff  – December 23, 2019 | Updated December 24, 2019

New Year’s Noodles 

New Year’s Noodles
Iain Bagwell

As someone who is comfortably settling into her “get off my lawn” years, I prefer to avoid going out on New Year’s Eve. But as someone who is also a complete Nihonophile, I like to make a big batch of soba, drink unwholesome amounts of budget bubbly, and watch Japanese TV shows until the clock hits midnight. Noodles are a symbol of longevity in many East Asian cultures, so eat up! As for the Japanese TV, here’s my recommended viewing list: Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories, Kantaro: Sweet Tooth Salaryman, and Samurai Gourmet. —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden editor

Getting the Year off to a Sweet Start

Getting the Year off to a Sweet Start
Thomas J. Story

When I was in high school, my friends and I would get together on New Year’s Eve to make lots of food, watch movies, listen to music….and whine about how we couldn’t wait to be old enough to go out and have real fun. Little did we understand that these cozy get-togethers were the most fun you can have. Now that I’m old wise enough to have rediscovered the joys of staying in, I’ve revived a tradition from back in the day: making chocolate mousse. Why mousse? Well, because: chocolate mousse. But also, it’s a dish that looks fancy without actually requiring advanced cooking skills, and batches are easily scaled. It takes time (mostly to chill), but on a night where it’s expected you’ll be up late, you’ve got lots of that. Plus, I believed even then that if the first thing you eat after midnight is sweet, it starts the year off on the right note. I traditionally make Julia Child’s classic version, but for next week I’ve got my eye on this recipe, which includes a secret guilty-pleasure ingredient: Nutella. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Play Some Games

Play Some Games
Getty Images

My favorite kind of night is always a game night, especially to ring in a new year. From the Catan to mahjong, there are so many great games to play with friends and family. Have everyone bring their favorite group game to the gathering, since there’s plenty of time to play them all, and start making the batch cocktails. —Nena Farrell, associate home editor

The Easy Appetizer We Deserve

The Easy Appetizer We Deserve
Thomas J. Story

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a bit of a blur, thanks to all the holiday gift-giving and making, cooking, celebrating, and then some. By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, it’s time for a simple approach to merry-making. I’ve long been a fan of celebrating the turn of the new year with a group of friends at someone’s home, with lots of delicious bites and sips to keep the festive mood going—but I’m usually too tapped out to do anything elaborate in the kitchen, even when I’m showing up as a guest with a dish in hand. That’s when I turn to this deceptively easy, yet still fancy-seeming, take on cheese and crackers, along with something a little extra in the form of an oh-so-seasonal spiced cranberry relish. It’s never survived to the end of the party. —Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

Treat Yourself

Treat Yourself
Aya Brackett

New Year’s Eve is a nightmare, if we’re being honest. Restaurant menu prices are jacked up, Uber and Lyft are surging, and every amateur is dining out. My New Year’s tradition now revolves around food, which is surprising to no one. Instead of going out and blowing cash on fancy prix fixes and a sparkly dress and Champagne toasts, I maximize my value at home. That is, I spend the same amount I would’ve spent, but on small jars of caviar, lobster tails, dry-aged ribeyes, maybe a shaving of truffle, and better Champagne from the comfort of my home. You can still throw on that sparkly dress for the occasion, but when you’re ready to take it off, you’re just steps from your bed. —Ellen Fort, food editor

Breakfast for Midnight Dinner

Breakfast for Midnight Dinner
Courtesy of Bon Temps

We like to make breakfast for dinner on New Year’s Eve (and just about 300 other days of the year). With a new baby, it’s tough for us to cook a delicious repast, so my plan is to pick up a box of pastries from Bon Temps in DTLA, including the spicy avocado toad in the hole I’m addicted to, a kouign amann, a couple of everything croissants, and this ridiculous berry ricotta Danish. And double chocolate-ginger cookies, because breakfast-dinner on New Year’s Eve should definitely include dessert. We’ll pop some Schramsberg sparkling, then snuggle up and pass out in a food coma to Home Alone. —Dakota Kim, staff writer

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