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How to spend New Year’s Eve at home

It might not be the most memorable end-of-the-year party you’ve ever had, but your lampshades will all be intact in the morning.

The 2022 sign that will be lit on top of a building on New Year’s Eve is displayed in Times Square, New York on Dec. 20.
| Seth Wenig/AP

At the urging of public officials and health experts, many people reportedly are planning a quiet New Year’s Eve at home with family as the United States sets a record for coronavirus infections.

The home partiers might yearn for the traditional big get-togethers, eating out at crowded restaurants or packing the bars. But here are some activities and lively discussions we recommend various individuals and groups can engage in, right under their own roofs, as they wistfully don party hats, toss a few small handfuls of confetti and wait for midnight — if they haven’t gone to bed by 10 p.m.

Social butterflies: Bring some auld acquaintances to mind, because you won’t be meeting any new ones for a while.

Computer programmers: This New Year’s Eve is a good time to take a break from worrying about whether artificial intelligence will eventually become smarter than people. If people won’t get vaccines in the middle of a pandemic, AI is already there.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy: An evening at home on Dec. 31 is an excellent time to start reading the newly arrived Christmas cards that were supposed to be delivered before Dec. 25.

Political candidates: An evening of solitude would be a good time to practice your stump speech. Later, you can talk about why Chicago has lost so many trees.

Remote workers: Enjoy the chance to relax on the recliner after working all day on the recliner. It’s one time you can’t be disciplined for drinking on the job.

Climate scientists: If you feel obligated to dwell on global warming even on New Year’s Eve, you can’t handle the heat.

Airline passenger anti-maskers: Shout at each other all you want in the comfort of your home about refusing to wear masks. No sky marshals will be around to escort you to airport jail.

Parents of young children: You thought guests at traditional New Year’s Eve parties could get a bit out of hand? Hah!

Lawyers: Debate whether to sue 2021 for pain and suffering. Make 2020 a co-respondent.

Crypto-currency fans: For practice, explain to your pets what blockchain is. If they don’t get it, expound on the difference between Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zilliqa and Dogecoin. Talk about non-fungible tokens only if they ask.

Movie fans: Search every best-video streaming list on Google. Do not watch a movie. Just search — what’s known as a Best Streaming Lists Search. No actual movie viewing is required. The more subscriptions you have, the more time you can use up.

Pet owners: Use the evening to learn from your pets (whom you’ve likely spent so much more time around this last year) how to “be in the moment.”

Gerrymandering-minded politicians. Get out the doodling pen and practice drawing rectangles and straight lines. Those absurdly squiggly district borders are bad for democracy.

Health devotees: Google all the latest conflicting research on Omicron from around the world. Make a list of your risk factors. Try to make appointments for rapid and PCR tests for yourself and your family. Try to make appointments for the booster if you haven’t all had it. Try to order COVID-19 at-home test kits. Give up. Take your temperature just in case. Have another glass of wine.

Multi-taskers: All at once, warm up the hot cocoa, put a log on the fire, get the slippers out, pay the bills, write out resolutions for 2022, update your phone apps, send out thank-you notes, write your congressional representatives about the debt limit … or maybe postpone all that this evening and open a good book.

Billionaires: Make plans to join all the other billionaires flying into space. But if you don’t know what the Karman Line is, don’t go.

Home cooks: Alphabetize your herbs and spices and organize your pots and pans and clean out your fridge. Promise yourself there will be more home cooking and less take-out in 2022.

Travelers: Revisit your scheduled airline trips for 2022. Estimate the risk of each destination, and guess when it will be safer to travel. If your flight hasn’t already been canceled, visit the airline’s website, and try to decipher whether you can reschedule and what the penalties and fees will be. Try to call the airlines for clarity. Hang up after 4 hours.

Logistics experts. Use this evening to figure out how to fix the supply chain so we can buy new shoes when we want them. Bring us new cars instead of “chipageddon.” It’s past time to blame everything on the Ever Given having been stuck in the Suez Canal.

A stay-at-home New Year’s Eve might not be the most memorable end-of-the-year party you’ve ever had. But your lampshades will all be intact in the morning, and you are less likely to wake up with a hangover. Plus, you won’t have to go around turning out the lights late in the evening, trying to get rid of Omicron and Delta.

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