For about 25 years we would drive up to a buddy's parents' cabin on the lake, and do a 3 day-ish party. People would start showing up Dec 30, more on the 31st, and darkness falls about 4:30 at the latitude of our location.
Bar-B-Q'ing, open fire so roasting whatever fits on a stick, and a dedicated mission as far as drink goes. Nobody drives until the next day, and not before noon.
We set up fireworks on the (frozen) lake, and carve out a play area for what amounts to a street hockey game (called "shinny" in Canada) suitable for an orange tennis ball (instead of a puck) and boots/shoes (no skates allowed).
You get an "all access" game out of those rules, and people from neighbouring cabins are welcome, although typically no-one else is there since most cabins aren't winterized (basically, = water / sewer services protected / not protected from freezing).
Our cabin is directly across the lake from the bar, which does a fairly good business on New Year's Eve and sells offsale, so you can hop on a snowmobile and get beer should a liquidity crisis arise. People tend to party at the bar, so no visitors from there, usually. They do watch our fireworks, though.
Around ten o'clock or so the shinny game starts, and around 11:30 it ends so we can clear a safe area for the fireworks, which we light right at midnight while the 30 or so people there do the countdown, out on the ice. After the stroke of midnight, there is usually a lot of tackling in the snow, hugs, and the like. By 15 after midnight everyone is back in the cabin getting warm and properly inebriated.
We started this when I (and my friends) were in our late 20's ... after the first one, it was obvious how much nicer a time it was compared to going out to some club or live music event, fighting for a cab later, and spending one or two hundred dollars.
Instead we spend a bit on gas (cabin is a 200 mile drive from home), a bit more on booze, and eat properly the whole time (as anyone whose experienced it, breakfast at the cabin is wonderful), plus steaks, burgers, dogs on the Bar-B-Q or open fire, and the usual pot luck dishes to round things out. There is a strong Ukrainian immigrant tradition here, from the 1900's to the 1930's, so Cabbage Rolls, Perogies*, are always abundant, as well as the usual cabin fare, like homemade Jerky, Deer Sausage, salads and vegetables. I always make Mexican Breakfast Burritos from a recipe I was taught by a Mexican-born and raised Air Force member at Little Rock AFB, who would make it in deer camp (hunting).
Nobody starves and in general the food is far superior to what you would have to pay good money for in the city. The company is top notch and in many cases you see people you only see once a year, at this event. Perfect.
I encourage everyone to find a good way to celebrate the new year that involves mostly friends and not so much commercial events or spending time at a bar somewhere. You won't regret it.