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Posted at 03:40 PM ET, 12/27/2011

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

(Evy Mages - For The Washington Post)
New Year’s Eve can be one of the most stressful holidays of the year. On one hand, everyone involved wants to have a good time; on the other, no one wants it to be too crowded/expensive/boring. After browsing local offerings, I created this list of New Year’s Eve scenarios that should register somewhere between Totally Boring and Most Epic Evening Ever for all of you.

Good luck:

The dinner party. If classy is your thing, The Post’s foodies have produced offerings that, when combined, create the perfect mix of food, friends and booze. Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan provides dinner party recipes including fennel-roasted salmon and cranberry tarts with hazelnut crust. Meanwhile, Dave McIntyre makes the case for expensive champagne, even while providing a good list of sparkling wines for the reveler on a budget.

(Jessie Cohen - Smithsonian Institution)
The free (or, at least, pretty cheap) NYE. Going Out Guide’s cheap and easy guide to this holiday week includes a free celebration at Smith Commons on H Street NE. Other cheap celebrations include Zombie New Year’s Eve at nearby Red Palace and a complimentary champagne toast at Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights. And, if you’re looking for something to do come Jan. 1, know that ZooLights continue through New Year’s Day at the National Zoo. More: Going Out Guide’s complete list of free events is here.

The going-all-out NYE. If you thrive on the energy of a good NYE crowd, DCist has a great list of area happenings ranging in cost from $15 (the sold out 1980’s-themed event at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse) to $150 (Heaven vs. Hell New Year’s 2012 at the Gibson.) Plenty of these options tack on an open bar for an extra fee. More: Going Out Guide’s complete list of New Year’s Eve events is here.

NYE, sans fizz. If you’re looking for a booze-free or otherwise family-friendly outing, Fritz Hahn of Going Out Guide suggests the buffet and live music from Mad Fox Brewing Company, or the First Night Alexandria event, which bills itself as the largest family-focused celebration in Northern Virginia.

The meetup. If you’re new to the area, unattached and Reddit-friendly, Washington area “Redditors” are having a White Elephant gift exchange and New Year’s Eve meetup beginning about noon.

Tell us: If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments below and I’ll pull more suggestions into this post.

Late additions:

• For the house party: “Alejandra’s Complete Guide to Gettin’ All Liquored Up” (Borderstan) includes all sorts of crazy cocktail recipes, from Gingersnap Cocktails to Jalepeño Margaritas.

By  |  03:40 PM ET, 12/27/2011

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