But clearly 2021 will be ushered in completely differently as lockdown measures call for more low-key celebrations.
That doesn’t mean the advent of the new year can’t be marked at all, however.
Here are eight things you can do at home to make the evening fun.
Order a takeaway
If cooking on New Year’s Eve doesn’t appeal, numerous restaurants are offering special menus for collection or delivery on December 31. While the deadline for booking these may have passed, quality takeaway outlets will no doubt be doing a roaring trade in the run-up to midnight this year, serving Chinese food, Indian cuisine and everything in between.
Go to a stay-at-home rave
If you’re the clubbing type and thought a night of dancing was off the agenda this year, fear not – Manchester’s legendary Haçienda nightclub is back with a 24-hour house party that will stream online from 10am on December 31. Haçienda Classical, Inner City and Phuture are on the bill along with DJs Carl Craig and David Morales. See https://unitedwestream.co.uk/ for details.
Say hello to 2021 with YouTube
In a similar vein – but with more of a pop flavour – YouTube is hosting a virtual ‘big night in’ on December 31 called Hello 2021: UK. Dua Lipa, Joel Corry and MNEK, Aitch and AJ Tracey are appearing, plus comedians and other well-known names like RuPaul. It’s all free to watch too from 10.30pm here.
Make your own cocktails
You might not be able to enjoy cocktails in a bar but you can have a great time – and get creative – by making your own at home. There are kits available to buy online from websites such as cocktaildelivery.co.uk, which offers all the ingredients needed to make drinks including Espresso Martini, Unicorn Gin, Tokyo Cosmo, White Russian or Pirate Old Fashioned.
Catch up on great films
Cinemas have been closed for most of 2020 but some tremendous films have been released in the UK this year, including Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Simon Bird's Days of the Bagnold Summer, Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Pixar’s latest ambitious animation, Soul.
See in the New Year on Zoom
It’s not that much of an exaggeration to say Zoom has saved the world’s work and social lives this year with its video conferencing platform. Technology means groups can raise a glass on New Year’s Eve even if they can’t get together properly.
Play a quiz
Test your knowledge of 2020 by searching online for a challenging quiz. There are games about many topics from news to culture and beyond – if you’re a motoring fan, Auto Express has even put together a ‘big car quiz of the year’.
Watch the fireworks
If you don’t fancy setting off your own fireworks, why not walk to a vantage point with your bubble and watch a free display at midnight with a hot drink or something stronger? It’ll be a night for gazing at the sky – the full moon will be high and will ‘really light up the landscape’, Dr Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society has said.