If you’re looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style without spinning underneath flashing lights in a crowded Phoenix nightclub, you’re in the right place. Having pain doesn’t exclude you from the fun, but instead opens up an array of very special options.

Choices range from enjoying a nice dinner out with music or other entertainment to kid-friendly activities to fun ways of celebrating at home that are so festive there’ll be no place you’d rather be.

Fun, pain-friendly New Year events in the Phoenix Valley

1. Phoenix Symphony New Year’s Eve Celebration

Each year, the Phoenix Symphony puts on a wonderful show. To welcome 2016, the Symphony will play a medley of Strauss waltzes, modern hits, Broadway classics, and holiday favorites. Enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly to get into a festive mood.

Choose from performances at 4 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.

2. Enjoy a special meal at a local restaurant

OpenTable.com has compiled a complete list of Phoenix restaurants with New Year’s Eve offerings. On the site, you’ll find menu descriptions and pertinent details such as whether the evening features live entertainment, a DJ, or perhaps a complimentary toast.

Options include popular Arcadia restaurant Beckett’s Table, with American-style comfort food that promises not to shortchange sophistication. This year’s menu features beef carpaccio for an appetizer and pan-seared sea scallops for an entrée.

Expect innovative touches like butternut squash cornbread cake with the scallops and pea tendril puree with the beef. Of course, a full cocktail menu with a variety of champagnes is also available.

Another popular option is Scottsdale’s Citizen Public House, which will serve a three-course tasting menu with reservations available from 3 p.m. to midnight. The prix fixe menu includes a variety of options for each course. Enjoy a sophisticated version of chicken pot pie, flat iron steak, or a vegetarian dish featuring rainbow chard and caper butter.

Dessert includes spiced ale cake and a potentially dangerous sounding confection called “heart of caramel”—a blend of roasted white chocolate ice cream, rich chocolate cake, mousse, and caramel sauce.

Reserve as soon as possible to secure your preferred restaurant and reservation time.

3. Desert Botanical Garden

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve amid the enchanting atmosphere at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches De Las Luminarias. This holiday celebration runs all December and ends on New Year’s Eve for one last magical evening.

Breathe in the crisp winter air surrounded by the soft glow of 8,000 luminaria bags along with accent lights and stunning works of art. Musical accompaniment sets the mood. Meals are available on-site, at Gertrude’s, a farm-to-table restaurant, the more casual Patio Cafe, or from a buffet special to the event.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly New Year’s Eve option, meandering around the light show and skipping dinner would be a great option.

Fun ways to celebrate at home

There’s no need to venture into the cold streets of winter when sometimes the most fun is had indoors, surrounded by family or friends. Special customizations like fun party favors, memorable conversations, or a commitment to carrying on time-worn traditions turns New Year’s into more than a year-end celebration, but one to truly remember.

4. Make your own decorations

Decorating your house for the last hurrah of the holidays can become part of the experience if you spend a few hours creating your own. From glamorously fun paper clocks to gilded wine bottles accented with sparkle and curled ribbon, the only limit to what you create is your imagination (or Internet research skills!)

Here are 32 DIY decorations from WooHome. Don’t miss the beautiful, sparkling hats or show-stopping front-door decorations.

5. Dinner and a movie

Just because you’re eating at home doesn’t mean it needs to be boring! Prepare special foods like cheese and chocolate fondue, and perhaps a decadent entree like lobster mac and cheese (it is a holiday, after all!).

Next, you’ll need a New Year’s Eve movie. When Harry Met Sally might fit the bill, or perhaps Money Train, an action movie about a band of crooks robbing a train on this otherwise magical day. Here’s Fando’s list of 13 New Year’s Eve movies you have to see.

6. Bond with family or friends

While you’re hanging out at home, take the chance to spur meaningful discussions, maybe talking about your hopes for the new year, or your biggest successes from 2015.

Talking about your dreams and victories is a wonderful way to connect and enter 2016 with intention and feelings of connectedness.

7. Have a game night

Enjoy a lively, action-packed night by enjoying board games at home, preferably while wearing your snazzy made-at-home decorations.

A game of charades might be fun. Or, maybe you’ll finally have enough time to finish a game of Monopoly while waiting for the ball to drop. A game of poker could keep people’s interest, or you could even try to guess each other’s resolutions.

Don’t forget to enjoy hot chocolate, tea, or even a glass of champagne or two to make the evening extra festive.

8. Partake in ritual

While many people get caught up in the celebratory nature of New Year’s Eve, the evening has inspiring undertones for our ability to start fresh, pursue our dreams, and make this upcoming year our year.

If you’d like to encourage that fresh start, try a Columbian ritual, recommends FamilyEducation.com. Create a dummy doll with cardboard or thick paper that represents the old year. Make clothes for the dummy by drawing on it or gluing fabric scraps, preferably pieces of old clothing from each family member.

Then, each person in the family writes down on a piece of paper their faults and any situations they felt were bad luck. When the clock strikes midnight, destroy the doll by throwing it in the fireplace or tearing it into shreds if that’s not an option. While the doll is destroyed, each family member should read from the list of faults and bad luck situations, allowing the fire to purify the ill luck and create a fresh start.

How do you plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Image by Nana B Agyei via Flickr

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