Now that Christmas is over, it's time to think about your New Year's Eve plans. If another overpriced countdown dinner at a hotel or fancy restaurant sounds really boring, then read on and check out what various local personalities consider their all-time most memorable ways to bring in a new year.
The one I spent in Thailand four years ago is the best one to come to mind. A bunch of friends and my sister from Australia met up there and we all went to a Thai full moon party. Then we travelled round the islands together. We had a great time, dancing, baking in the sun and just being together. It was so great that we are doing it all over again this year. Woo hoo!
Founder of TakeOut Comedy Shop
It was in 2002. New Year's Eve in New York City is always a blast as everyone parties all night. For convenience and safety, the 24-hour subway system traditionally runs free of charge from 8pm to 6am. Living in lower Manhattan, I normally celebrate nearby so I can easily get home. But this time, I decided to be a bit different and went to a party deep in Queens. A friend dropped me off at the place after a 45-minute drive. I had no idea where I was, but I assumed that the trains were nearby. I was wrong. At 4am I left the party but found out that the nearest station was a 30-minute walk and there were no cabs anywhere. I finally found a driver who wasn't drinking and she agreed to drive me after dropping off some friends in Brooklyn first. On the way back, she drove down Flatbush Avenue back to Manhattan. We were very nervous as Flatbush is not the safest place for two semi-lost folk in a new BMW at 5am. I finally got home at 6am and vowed never to party so far away again on New Year's Eve.
Jay Foss Cole
One of the best new years I had was spent in a small town in the mountains of Italy. I was staying in a friend's beautiful pad. He was very Italian so we had an apparently very traditional Italian New Year's Eve, with food, drinks and some quirky additions. When we sat down to the table, there was a gift for each of us. Inside was red underwear. Our host said that we all had to sit down to dinner in brand new red undies, so we all had to go and change - not just in red undies though, we had on our other clothes too.
Then just before midnight, we all had to stand on our chairs, eat a certain number of grapes, drink a certain drink - then the tricky bit - we all had to be in mid-air on the stroke of midnight. Frankly, standing on a chair at 11.55pm on New Year's Eve is challenging enough, let alone jump off it with any precision. Needless to say, guests were landing on one another, on the table, and one almost fell out of the window. A great night. Plus it's always good to learn more ways to get drunk and stupid in the name of tradition.
Chief executive, Aids Concern
I went with my best friend to visit his parents in Australia. We were in the southern part of Victoria for Christmas and New Year. I got a surprise gift from my friend: he took us on a half-day boat trip to see some beautiful seals. It was New Year's Eve - a super sunny day - the boat took us to a place where the creatures were lying on a little cement platform.
Gosh, their smell was awful, though. Yuk! But I jumped into the sea and met a few big fat seals. It was a fantastic experience and I felt I was so tiny and worthless compared to them.
During the boat trip I also saw dolphins, my favourite animal. It wasn't the fireworks or alcohol that made it the best way to finish the last day of 2005, but the tranquillity I found. And 2005 was a super hectic year for me.