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December 29, 2015

Eight reasons to stay in on New Year's Eve

The case for going the way of the house party this year

Host one, attend one, Skype into one a little tipsy -- whatever you do, attend a house party this New Year's Eve, and steer clear of those money-gobbling and spirit-sapping bar events.

Hear me out.

As an entertainment reporter, I admittedly feel a smidgeon of guilt advising Philadelphians not go out and spend money at any of the city's fantastic bars, clubs or restaurants. But let's face facts: No reasonable New Year's celebrator wants to be sandwiched between smelly armpits and get their first drink at midnight, all after draining their bank account of whatever post-Christmas droplets were left just to get a ticket. I don't care who's coming to your New Year's Eve event, or what kind of fanciful meatball hors d'oeuvres you've bundled with your package, the reality of the festivities just isn't as appealing as the illusionary good time bar culture has spent eons cultivating.

So, with that in mind, here are eight reasons to keep it in-house this New Year's Eve. 

1) It's cheaper!

A New Year's Eve general admission ticket at Xfinity Live!, to cite one example, sets you back $105 and isn't even an open bar. Instead, it's labeled a "premium drink package," which excludes energy drinks and shots -- aka, the survival tools for a night out during New Year's Eve. Not to mention prices increase as we get closer to New Year's Eve and, realistically speaking, who is ever actually able to coordinate with a group on what to do for New Year's Eve until a few days before?

There are countless similar "deals" out there, all of which boil down to one undeniable truth: these are big-time price markups. And eating those hefty costs is 100-percent avoidable by staying in (assuming you're not hosting).

Spend $30 on your own top-shelf liquor, buy a bottle of champagne and a kazoo, and call it a holiday. Or, bask in the joy of your party host shelling out for all the goods. Done and done -- moving on.

2) You can actually hear others talk

You've never really lived New Year's Eve until you've had a drunk Jersey girl banshee-scream in your ear at midnight. And if you haven't had that harrowing-but-wisdom-delivering experience, perhaps you should trek it out -- just this once. 

Otherwise, you might enjoy actually being able to make conversation with those you love and have lived the past year with. Because, after all, isn't that the whole point of New Year's: to celebrate the year that's been, and embrace the year that's coming with the company of those who matter to you? It only makes sense to want to do that with the option of, you know, communicating verbally and not having to fire off text messages to a person standing right next to you.

3) No one's spilling drinks on you

OK, so this could happen at a house party -- but consider it slightly less likely, given the general breathing room that comes with a (sensibly planned) house party.

And if there is a spillage situation, you don't even need to bring a Tide to Go. Wherever you are -- your house or not -- there's likely a washer and dryer right there for your booze-cleaning convenience. This way, you'll never have to feel guilty about ruining that New Year's Eve outfit you charged to your credit card.

4) Hello, it's good music

Bose speakers, sound bars, surround sound -- many of us practically have a sound system in our home by now. Bypass the inevitable complaints of bad music -- or bad "Hello" remixes -- at the club, and craft your own playlist.

Or go with the Spotify pre-set New Year's Eve playlist. It works just as well.

5) There are fewer expectations to crush

The inebriated bliss, the love lust with that stranger you've just met and the euphoria of midnight in public -- the expectations for a night out are stratospheric.

But here's the more realistic version of your night: an inebriated stupor as you break a heel on the sidewalk, a flirt-mance with someone who disappears without leaving a number and midnight in line waiting for your drink order.

The biggest thrill of going out on New Year's Eve is all the hype that tags along with it -- those visions we have of what a night out on New Year's Eve should look like, as opposed to what it actually does look like. And it's a bit of a downer when your expressions of I can't wait! turn to Oh, I give up.

By contrast, house parties are totally moldable to whatever experience you're craving that night. And, more importantly, they provide freedom: You're free to leave at whatever point your expectations are squashed, without the remorse of having spent a Perelman's fortune on an all-night ticket that left you cold by 12:01.

6) They're totally BYOK: Bring Your Own Kiss

Perhaps it's a slightly questionable practice, but the easiest way for a single guy or gal to lock in a New Year's kiss is to invite several potentials to a house party. If Option No. 1 fails, you know you've got Option No. 2 waiting in the wings. Truly, it's a bit harder to accomplish such a feat in a pals-about-town group setting, or in a more high-pressure environment that costs each of those invited potentials -- who you likely only know casually anyway -- an arm and a leg. 

Try it out. You might finally steal that perfect New Year's kiss you've been looking for, and with someone you actually like.

7) You can make your own tradition

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a sucker for tradition. And there's no feeling of tradition that comes with going out to a bar or club designed to lure in as wide an audience as possible.

Traditions can range, too: Some people prefer to start elaborate annual masquerade parties, others simply like to dress up their plain-ole midnight-toast champagne with Chambord and raspberries (as I may or may not have done last year). The fun of it is what tradition you establish, big or small, is entirely up to your own sense of creativity.

8) Who needs a night out when you'll be out the next day at the Mummers parade?

If nothing else, this is the reason to keep it manageable on New Year's Eve: Mummers.

Have your festivities. Drink. Revel. But don't be afraid to call it a night shortly after midnight and wake up early for the all-day festivities that follow for New Year's Day in Philadelphia -- the real time to go out. And, considering New Year's Day this year is actually on a Friday, that means getting as loosey-goosey as you'd like and being able to snooze off the hangover come Jan. 2.