We’re living in a renaissance of fancy sheets and cutting-edge mattresses. Nearly every hour of entertainment ever recorded is streamable. New Year's Eve is a day away, and between scented candle culture and smoke alarms, it’s easier than ever to light a fire inside your house without risking death. Coziness is queen.
As the last days of 2019 are upon us, the question is not “Should you stay home on New Year’s Eve?” but rather—Why does anyone ever go out on New Year’s Eve?
In the coldest, darkest time of the year, humans feel compelled to manufacture light. We set off fireworks, string twinkle lights, light candles, build bonfires, throw sparklers, hang disco balls, and peer into each other’s eyes. Everything in nature is dead, but we’re not, and we want physical proof that we’re vital and alive and staring down another year together.
We go to parties, bars, and clubs on December 31 seeking that feeling of the relief and ecstasy at being alive. But the sense of comfort, safety, and joy that come from staying in on New Year's Eve is just as fitting. The main activities of New Year’s Eve—drinking, thinking about stuff, and waiting—actually do not demand that you leave your house. You can, of course. But just know—you don’t have to.
Inside: radiators, candles, blankets, $12.99 wine from Trader Joe’s. Outside: $17 mixed drinks, a sticky-looking man-boy named Kyle who sidles up to you and says, “You seem feisty!”
Inside: People you invited, music you chose, toilets whose cleanliness you can vouch for personally. Outside: A woman in a sequined mini sits on a curb sobbing, pausing to hiccup.
“I actually usually stay at home because I find the expectation of the night too overwhelming,” says Nicole, a 29-year-old who lives in the U.K. “The fact that everybody is out and trying to find the perfect party is really anxiety inducing for me.” Instead she’ll drink, dance, and watch the ball drop at home, with family. “Sounds boring maybe, but at least I know I won’t be fighting my anxiety in overcrowded spaces,” she says. “And at the end of the day, I am spending it with people I love in a chill way.”
Socially curating your evening makes more sense than seeking out new connections on the drunkest, sloppiest night of the year. Do we really need to spend hours beady-eyeing kissing prospects? Must we rush each other, open-mouthed, at the crack of midnight, filling a room with squelching sounds, like a worldwide high school dance? And how many conversations with your friend’s weird coworker about “Actually, it’s only called champagne if it’s from the Champagne region of France” do you need to have?
Kristina, a 30-year-old Miami native, plans to do the opposite. “This NYE I’m taking advantage of the fact that my three roommates will be out of town,” she says. “I’ll go for a walk, do some yoga, take a nice long shower, give myself a mini at-home facial, do a hair mask, and either read or watch movies or TV. Then I’m probably going to prepare myself a yummy snack spread. I’m thinking charcuterie board.” Imagine: You spilling a weak gin and tonic on your own cleavage as a DJ plays a remix of Kylie Jenner saying “Rise and Shine,” when you could be at home eating a personalized charcuterie board.
Say you love to rage. Say you only truly come alive when you’re on the dance floor and a stranger’s sweat flicks into your mouth. All the more reason to stay home. New Year’s Eve, many women argue, is no night for the sophisticated partier. Riley, a 30-year-old in Pennsylvania, plans on staying in on New Year’s Eve, as she has every year since 2010. Holidays like New Year’s, Halloween, and Saint Patrick’s Day “are when you find people drinking and partying who are not acclimated to things like party etiquette and drinking limits,” she says. “You're more likely to have your shoes puked on by the inexperienced.” It’s like trying to scale a mountain with a group of toddlers. “If you really want to party,” she says, “Go out on a day that’s not usually designated for parties, like Flag Day.”
Jaime, a 29-year-old from Seattle, agrees that New Year’s Eve is, ironically, one of the worst days to party. “I hate dealing with the crowds and surcharges,” she says. “If I do go out this year I may just hit up something low-key, like a pre-NYE happy hour, then go to a small kickback with friends.” She’ll wait for summer. “In the winter I'm definitely more of a homebody,” she says. “I love rooftop bars and day parties.”
Speaking of daytime. (Speaking of natural light, of sunlight. Speaking of rising to begin again.) For some people, going to bed after midnight just isn’t happening. After New Year’s Day, Brittany, a 29-year-old living in Maine, will be making a habit of waking up just after midnight—3 a.m., to be precise. “This year I plan to stay home,” she said. “I’ve turned down offers to go out because I start a new dream job in a new radio market on the 2nd. Between moving and wrapping my mind around such a big change, I think a quiet evening in a new place would be ideal.”
Stay in, go out, follow your dreams, eat a charcuterie plate. But do whatever genuinely is ideal for you.
Jenny Singer is a Glamour staff writer.
Originally Appeared on Glamour