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How to have the cosiest cottage New Year’s Eve

Fireworks

If you only go up to the cottage in the summer, you’re missing out on a whole lot of cottage winter wonderfulness: the quiet, the snow-covered forest, the cosiness. Oh, the cosiness.

And what better time to revel in a cosy cottage than at New Year’s? Let’s face it—big, crowded parties are overrated. Here’s how to snuggle down and ring in 2017, cottage-style.

Stock up on the good stuff

Whatever treats you like to eat, drink, or indulge in over the holidays, make sure to bring plenty. Once you’re bundled up in front of the fire, you won’t want to venture out in the cold to replenish your supply of hot chocolate, smoked oysters, or bubble bath. Also, make sure you’ve got plenty of fluffy, soft blankets. And firewood. And books. And mellow music.

Build a fire

What better way to burn off the old year and say hello to the new than by building a big, blazing fire? An outdoor bonfire lets you revel in a warming blaze while the air is cold around you, while an indoor fire is…well, just plain warm. To avoid having to get up, lay in a supply of toastable things to nibble on while your fire crackles merrily away.

Set off some snowbank fireworks

Skip the ball drop (in fact, turn off the TV altogether) in favour of something a little more interactive. Still dramatic, but less hype-filled, fireworks are a great way to celebrate at midnight. And just imagine how gorgeous they’ll look against white snow and a clear sky.

Go for a midnight walk

Grab your flashlight and a thermos of something hot, and go for a midnight tromp in the snow. There’s nothing quite like the quiet that descends over the woods when everything’s asleep under the snow.

Make some good smells

Whether you bring in evergreen boughs, mull some cider, bake some bread, or simply light a scented candle, choose a scent that will make the house feel like a big, warm hug.

Have a giant New Year’s Day breakfast

Whether you love lox, Eggs Benny, or deep-fried French toast, New Year’s Day is the time to go all out with all your favourite breakfast indulgences. If you don’t feel like waking up and cooking, prep a hearty sweet or savoury breakfast casserole beforehand. And hey—there’s no rule that says breakfast has to happen in the morning.

Make some cottage resolutions

Is this the year that you’re going to rebuild the dock? Install solar panels? Finally paint the shed? Add a little (helpful) pressure to your resolution and share it with your guests. Chances are, when summer rolls around, they’ll remember what you said—even if you don’t.

Try out some steamy cocktails

Save the frosty cold martinis and margaritas for the summer, and whip up some warming cocktails instead. Try hot buttered rum, a hot toddy or, if you’re feeling really retro, the almost-eggnog Tom and Jerry.

Go stargazing

If you’re still at the cottage on January 3 and 4, you’ll be able to see the Quadrantids meteor shower by looking toward the handle of the Big Dipper in the dark hours before dawn. If you don’t feel like staying up quite that late, never mind—just drag a lawn chair, a blanket, and a warm drink outside and spend some time contemplating the vastness of the universe.

Get low-tech

Put away the devices for the night and have some retro-inspired fun. Play charades, do crafts, sing folk songs, finish a jigsaw puzzle—anything that doesn’t require you to plug something in. Remember how nice it is to interact with the people right in front of you, without a screen in the way.

Create some atmosphere

Turn off the overhead fluorescent lights and light a bunch of candles instead. (Don’t leave them unattended, of course.) Soft, flickering candlelight is so much cosier than the harsh glare of electricity.

Get a little silly

Nothing’s cosier than laughing with your friends and family. Round up some dress-up clothes and props, and take silly pictures. Play a rollicking game of Pictionary. Or just share your favourite jokes. Whatever you do, laugh it up.

What are your favourite cottage New Year traditions?