Safe New Year’s celebrations to attend in Waterloo


If 2020 was a chaotic child, 2021 was the slightly more pleasant sibling. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly undermined New Year’s plans, but a celebration isn’t entirely out of the question. After all, most of us are now desperate for any form of entertainment. Here are three safe events that may be worth checking out, all regional. 

  1. Gift of Lights 

Let’s face it – holiday lights are an instant serotonin booster. Located at Bingemans Amusement Centre, this drive-thru event has over 300 animated and static light displays. There are two tunnels to explore from your vehicle, which you can do with your car-owner friends. The event also has a radio station at 103.3FM that attendees can tune into. If nothing else, this can be an excuse to get out of the house, which is a rarity nowadays.

  1. Yoga Workshop

I’m personally not a fan of yoga, but I know many people who swear by it. The Branches studio is offering an in-person workshop to help participants set intentions for the New Year. The afternoon will consist of an opening circle, Slow Flow style yoga asana practice, restorative yoga, and a sound bath. In addition, participants will receive a home practice package with meditation and restorative yoga videos, as well as journaling exercises. For those of us who find ourselves giving up on New Year’s resolutions within the first week, the ritual and reflection exercises in this workshop could be worth a shot. 

  1. Ethel’s Lounge

Worst comes to worst, you can get one or two friends together for a movie night with takeout from Ethel’s. This is definitely not the ideal New Year’s celebration, but then again, there are not many parts of recent years that have been ideal. There’s something oddly reassuring about knowing that no matter what aggravating circumstances we find ourselves in, we’ll likely still have access to Ethel’s burgers and beer. If Ethel’s isn’t your preferred comfort food, Gino’s Pizza on King St. is also offering takeout, as is Bao’s Sandwich Bar on Balsam St. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught me, it’s that the right combination of food, a movie, and company can minimize most problems – and there’s wine for the problems that it can’t. 

Bottom line, the baggage of recent years has carried onto 2022, but it’s not doomed to stay forever. There are safe ways to get the break we deserve to celebrate this fresh start, no matter how tainted it seems right now. 

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