Published on December 30th, 2011 | by Charu Suri4
Unusual Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2012: Olive Drop, Bagpipe Dinner, Hip Hop Bowling & Meditation
Each New Year, I fully believe in having an experience. It’s a plus if that experience is non local, since the travel bug always encourages me to seek some new tradition for celebration.
Last year, I celebrated New Year’s Eve by doing a chilly but energizing 5K Midnight Run in Central Park. What better way to start off the New Year on a healthy foot? You get delicious mugs of hot chocolate at the end of the race, as well as sparkling cider at about the half mile mark, and fireworks as a background. Unusual? A bit. It certainly is different from watching the Times Square Ball drop or enjoying drinks at a bar, although there’s nothing wrong with those options either.
This year, I was curious to see if Americans celebrate New Year’s Eve in unusual ways; if you’re looking for some inspiration, try these on for size:
MEDITATION OR YOGA CLASSES:
While most people wouldn’t enjoy doing the “downward facing dog” at the stroke of midnight, there’s something peaceful and powerful about meditating to usher in the New Year. Marisa Gross, a yoga junkie who has done a few of these to ring in the New Year says, “the benefits and economics of it all surely outweighs going out to dinners, bars and clubs.”
Photo credit: Hazy Moon Center
Several cities offer New Year’s Eve meditation options. Los Angeles has one at the Hazy Moon Zen Center where you’ll get a lesson in the basic principles of Buddhism and also practice sutras leading up to midnight. In New York City, there are some options in Brooklyn to get your zen fix.
THROW A POTLUCK PARTY:
Let’s face it, parties are fun, but doing all that work can be grueling! One idea, according to the site Money Crashers, is to make the party a BYOA Affair (Bring Your Own Appetizer). The truth is, people just want an excuse to party, so even if you serve one up with Peppermint Bark, Eggnog, Twizzlers and Champagne, it’s likely to be a success. Encourage friends you know to bring their own bottle of wine, and if you get 10-20 friends to show up, the affair could be relatively painless and an ark-load of fun.
Of course if your own birthday happens to fall on December 31st, you have all the more reason to celebrate. Joy Frank Collins whose son turns 8 this year says, “Ever since December 31, 2003, my family has celebrated New Year’s Eve by having a birthday party for our son. He gets that there is another big event going on, but I still think deep down he thinks all the revelry is to celebrate him.
DO THE OLIVE DROP IN PALM SPRINGS, CA:
There’s a new tradition in Palm Springs, CA and one inspired by the New York Times Square Ball Drop but paying respect to Palm Springs’ tradition drink –the martini. But thankfully, this doesn’t involve you standing in the freezing cold for eight hours or more, hoping to catch a glimpse of Lady Gaga. This is the first time the city of Palm Springs has planned an Olive Drop, and it has started a grassroots campaign for tourists and residents in bars and restaurants. The idea is simple: instead of raising a champagne glass at midnight, you drop an olive into your martini glass.
Restaurants and bars participating in the inaugural Palm Springs Olive Drop include: LULU California Bistro, LG’s Prime Steakhouse, Johannes, Zin American Bistro, Zini Cafe Mediterrano, The Falls, Village Pub and Tropicale.
ENJOY A SCOTTISH BAGPIPE DINNER:
New Year’s Eve is a great time to be bold with your culinary adventures, so why not explore a cuisine you’ve been meaning to try? New York City is offering a three-course dinner at Mary, Queen of Scots and the bash will feature bagpipes, of course. $65 for the prixe fixe at 115 Allen Street. For reservations call 212 460 0915.
Photo credit: Mary, Queen of Scots
HIP HOP BOWLING:
If you want to get revved up for the New Year, go bowling! There are midnight bowling parties all over the country, from Bay City. Michigan to New York City’s Bowlmor Lanes. If you really want to get moving, Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square has a five-hour open bar party hosted by “Dancing with the Stars’” Karina Smirnoff. Bowl to hip-hop and rock music all for the price of $75 and up.