Some churches make a night of it, with dinner, activities, and then a service that ends at midnight. Some simply have a service that begins at 11 p.m., says Leonard.
Watch Night services are free, but families may be asked to bring something for a potluck dinner.
— First Night
Boston's may be the oldest and largest, but more than 100 cities in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand have First Night celebrations, according to the First Night International Web site.
About 1 million people are expected to attend Boston's day-long celebration, according to Joyce Linehan, spokeswoman for First Night Boston. Events include a family festival, live performances, a Mardi Gras style Metro Grand Procession and two fireworks displays.
Outdoor activities for First Night Boston are free; indoor activities require a button, which is $18.
Find First Night celebrations at www.firstnight.com
Some have specials on New Year's eve, including the three Putt-Putt Golf & Games locations in the Arlington, Texas, area, says Bryan Weatherford, director of marketing. The $20 admission fee, $25 at the Hurst location, which has go-carts, includes unlimited Putt Putt, 80 game room tokens and prize drawings every 30 minutes. Check www.puttputt.com for local Putt-Putt Fun Centers.
Alley Cats, a bowling center, in Arlington, Texas is offering unlimited bowling, laser tag, rock climbing, video games and an all you can eat buffet: $35 adults, $25 children under 12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. A second party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. is $40 for adults; $30 dollars kids 12 and under.
— The roller or ice skating rink.
Holiday Skate Center in Orange, Calif. has an all night skate from 8 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The $20 admission includes skates, hat and horn and a 16-ounce drink, according to the Web site. There's a balloon drop at midnight. Check www.rinktime.com for rinks.