I've said it before, and I'll say it again - New Year's Eve is the worst. It's hotly anticipated, with people planning celebrations months in advance, picking out just the right dress or cummerbund, paying lavish sums to be at the "it" party. And then there's the stress of who you will kiss when the clock strikes midnight. The waiting! The wishing! The stress!

 That's the thing about New Year's Eve: it's accompanied by tons of stress, lots of outsized anticipation, and more of then than not, quiet disappointment. The night never seems to work out the way you planned. The party wasn't as fabulous as you thought. Your feet hurt after the first hour from the impossible shoes you just had to wear. You didn't get to hang with any of your friends. And you didn't get the kiss you were hoping for. It was all just sort of...mediocre.

But your New Year's Eve doesn't have to be that way! Here's how you can celebrate New Year's Eve fabulously:

1.     Fancy Feast

Make your own elaborate fete right at home. Go to the grocery store and get the fanciest, most decadent items you can find. Spring for the good champagne. Buy expensive French cheese and big shrimp for appetizers. For dinner, consider lobster tail, chateaubriand, or some other delicacy you'd never usually buy. Get that million layer chocolate cake you've always had your eye on at that gourmet bakery. Sure it'll be expensive, but it'll still be way cheaper than what you ultimately spend on any fancy New Year's Eve party. Invite your closest friends, and celebrate the new year in high culinary style!

2.     Game Night

If fancy's not your thing, that's ok too. Pull out some card tables and organize a competitive game night. You can do one big competition, where everyone plays the same game at the same time, or you can arrange simultaneous games round-robin style. Some of my favorites are Monopoly, Scattergories, and Scrabble. Develop a scoring system (for example, 5 points for winning a game, 4 points for coming in second, etc), and at the end of the night, have prizes for first, second, and third place players. You'll ring in the new year with bragging rights over your friends!

3.     Ring It In Early

Maybe you have kids or an early morning appointment, or maybe you just don't want to stay up late. Whatever your reason, you don't have to stay up partying until midnight. Instead, agree with your friends that you'll have a faux countdown at 9:59pm, and pretend the New Year starts at 10pm. You'll miss ride share surge pricing, and everyone will feel refreshed the day, instead of exhausted.

4.     Bake Off Competition

Baking shows - British, American, or otherwise - can be addictive. So make your own competition at home (or at the home of someone who has a double oven!). Decide whether you want to do one big bake, or a couple of smaller bakes, and create the rules of the game. What category will you bake? Will it be themed? Does everything have to be edible? Do you expect multiple tiers or elaborate design? Have everyone bring the equipment and supplies they'll need, and appoint a panel of judges who will determine the winner. Win or lose, you'll get to eat some delicious treats!