If it wasn't 2020, you'd probably throw on a glittery top and go out to a bar with your new partner. Or maybe you'd find yourselves at a friend's rooftop party, or in the middle of a club with really great music. But this year, all the usual, go-to
New Year's Eve ideas for new couples — or anyone, for that matter — will have to look a little bit different. And that's completely OK.
It's still possible to have a good time, but before we jump into
what to do on NYE, take a deep breath and let any intense expectations — or fears of boredom — slip away. "The less pressure you put on the night itself the better," Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle. "You are in such an exciting time of your relationship. Just enjoy the night together instead of focusing on what you think 'should be.'"
Sure, it might seem like a letdown to stay in and talk on the couch, especially when you have new relationship energy. But you know what? That's actually a really great way to spend your time, and
get to know each other better.
That said, in honor of the holiday, here's a whole list of other fun, intriguing — and maybe even a little bit sexy —
ways to spend New Year's Eve that are perfect for new couples. 1 Bake NYE cupcakes
See how your relationship dynamics play out in the kitchen by baking cupcakes. It'll be a little "test" to show how well you work together. And it'll result in dessert, which is always cool.
You can pick out
any cupcake recipe you like, but don't forget to make them NYE-themed by sticking a sparkler on top. 3 Have a movie marathon
If the thought of peeling yourselves off the couch seems impossible, don't. Stay right where you are and watch movies till midnight — because that totally counts as a date.
In fact, watching movies together is a great way to start bonding and creating shared memories,
Dr. Jacqui Gabb, a professor of sociology and chief relationship officer at Paired, tells Bustle. And it's also a good excuse to eat popcorn. (As if you needed one.) 4 Learn how to mix drinks
Nothing says New Year's Eve quite like a fancy cocktail, so why not roll out your bar cart and
make a few drinks? You could even create a totally new "couples cocktail" that represents your relationship. Who knows? If all goes well, you can make it again next year as a tradition. 5 Hookup somewhere exciting
Since your relationship is brand new, chances are you're doing a lot of hooking up already. But that doesn't mean you can't make things extra spicy for New Year's Eve.
Find a beautiful, private overlook and
have sex in your car. Rent a room and get romantic there. Or simply do it on the couch or in the shower, instead of in bed. 6 Find your new go-to restaurant
Have you two landed on your favorite restaurant yet? The one where they know your order, the moment you call? If not, start the search.
Treat yourselves to a buffet of delivery from a few different restaurants, and see which one will be your new go-to spot in 2021.
7 Watch the ball drop
No matter what happens, don't forget to watch the ball drop,
Sulonda Smith, LMFT, CLC, a licensed marriage family therapist, tells Bustle. Of course, the ball in Time's Square is always a great choice, but you can make a whole night out of watching celebrations from around the world. 8 Recreate your first date
Think back to your first date — whether you watched a movie, had drinks at an outdoor bar, or walked in the park — and recreate it to mark the end of the year.
"Spending time with your partner in this way shows you appreciate each other,"
Dr. Terri Orbuch, a professor of sociology and expert Paired, tells Bustle. And, it's also super romantic. 9 Make a to-do list for 2021
Even though you haven't been together long, it's still OK to come up with relationship goals,
Yue Xu and Julie Krafchick, relationship sociologists and hosts of the Dateable podcast, tell Bustle. And yes, that means talking about the future.
To turn it into an activity, get out the markers, magazines, and craft paper and make a collage of places you'd like to go and things you'd like to do as a new couple. Or, make a "2021 To-Do List" and stick it to your fridge.
10 Have a pillow fort picnic
Build a pillow fort and spend the night hanging out inside listening to music and eating romantic foods, like chocolate dipped strawberries. "Escaping together into a world of sensuality for the night is a great antidote to everything we've had to deal with [in 2020],"
Zoe Kors, a sex and intimacy expert and therapist at Coral, tells Bustle. "Plus, it's cute — and potentially very sexy." 11 Get dressed up
If it's been a while since you've worn anything other than sweatpants — because 2020 — use New Year's Eve as an excuse to get dressed up, Kors says.
You could even turn your apartment into a club. Put on that glittery top, add a festive "2021" headband, and blast music while you dance around the house together.
12 Have a cook-off
Choose a few ingredients, set a timer, and have yourselves a cook-off. "Then judge who made the best dish,"
Stephania Cruz, a relationship expert, tells Bustle.
This will be your chance to reveal hidden skills, like the fact you know how to chop really fast.
13 Do karaoke
Pull up lyrics videos on Youtube or go all out and rent a karaoke machine, Smith says, and spend the night singing.
Karaoke is a perfect date for new couples because 1) it's a guaranteed good time and 2) it's best to get your first embarrassment out of the way early on, so you can be
extra embarrassing in the future. 14 Do a hot chocolate tasting
For a simple date night idea — and one that'll give you plenty to talk about — go to Trader Joe's and pick up a few different types of hot chocolate. Discuss how many marshmallows are too many marshmallows, the best chocolate powder to milk ratio, and other important issues.
15 Go ice skating
For the most romantic of NYE dates, Smith suggests ice skating. You get to hold hands, spin around, help each other up — all super exciting things when you're still getting to know each other.
16 Meet each other's friends
If you haven't met each friends, now's the time to do it — over Zoom. "This is COVID-friendly," Smith says, and it'll make you feel closer since you'll get to put lots of names to faces.
You could even go one step further and turn it into a party. Have everyone pour glasses of something bubbly at midnight, and toast to 2021 together.
17 Chat about what you're grateful for
Order a pizza, gather yourselves on the couch, and talk about the highlights of 2020 — like, perhaps, the fact you met each other.
Aim for about ten things, and "discuss why you chose the memory and what it means to you,"
Cassandra LeClair, PhD, a relationship expert and communication studies professor, tells Bustle. Then bask in the positivity. 18 Play board games
When in doubt, remember that board games will never fail you. So pull out a favorite and play a few rounds.
You'll learn a lot about each other, like who's more competitive, and who has a tendency to cheat. But most importantly, you'll have something fun to do while you countdown to midnight.
19 Make a TikTok together
What better way to commemorate your budding relationship than with a TikTok? "Playfulness is so important for couples and can not only conjure positive emotions but can help couples feel closer,"
Cathy Sullivan-Windt, PhD, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. Pinpoint the latest dance trend and give it a try. 20 Stay in bed
If you can't figure out what to do, hop into bed and stay there till morning. You can watch movies, have sex, eat snacks — or all of the above.
Remember, though, it doesn't matter what you end up doing as long as you enjoy each other's company, and ring in the new year together.
Experts: Susan Trombetti, matchmaker Dr. Jacqui Gabb, professor of sociology Sulonda Smith, LMFT, CLC, licensed marriage family therapist Dr. Terri Orbuch, professor of sociology Yue Xu and Julie Krafchick, relationship sociologists and hosts of the Dateable podcast Zoe Kors, sex and intimacy expert Stephania Cruz, relationship expert Cassandra LeClair, PhD, relationship expert and communication studies professor Cathy Sullivan-Windt, PhD, licensed psychologist