In March, as the country seemingly went into quarantine overnight, the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons couldn’t come soon enough. Ever since its release, ACNH has allowed millions of gamers the feeling of control in uncontrollable times, and therefore a sense of kinda-sorta normalcy as you visited friends virtually. So it makes perfect sense that, in the absence of New Year’s parties, we can invite our friends over to our islands and count down to 2021 in Animal Crossing.
Here’s everything you need to know about New Year’s celebrations in ACNH.
Now until the 31st: Get your party dishes ready
There are a couple of new items for sale in the seasonal tab of the Nook Shopping. They include three New Year’s dishes specific to different cultures around the world: New Year’s Noodles (Japan), Berliner (Germany, duh), and Twelve-Grape Dish (Spain).
But the real story here is the, ahem, “Sparkling Cider” that you can cheers with. As my friend Gullivarr would say, that’s some of that GOOD soda.
If you want to walk around your plaza with your “Sparkling Cider,” you better hope you’d bought it by the 30th so that it comes to your mailbox in time for the midnight countdown!
New Year’s Eve Proper
On the 31st, a HUGE countdown clock to midnight will appear in front of Resident Services flanked by Tom Nook and Isabelle dressed all fancy-like. Similar to Halloween, your villagers will also dress up in their own snazzy outfits. Of course, you can invite your real-life friends over to your island to celebrate, too.
The giant clock will count down minutes until there’s one minute left until midnight. At that point, all your villagers will gather in your town square to celebrate and count down the seconds. There will be light sticks! There will be party poppers! There will be great glee at the riddance of this cursed year!
After midnight, fireworks will erupt over your island until 2 am.
January 1st – 15th: More New Year’s Items
After the new year has been successfully rung in, the before-mentioned items on the seasonal Nook Shopping tab will be replaced by a whole slew of new, New Year’s-themed items.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Animal Crossing is a Japanese game. The biggest reminders come with the game’s choice of seasonal fare and three of the new items – a kadomatsu, a kagamimochi, and a New Year’s shimekazari – which all have to do with Japanese customs surrounding Toshigama-sama, a god of the new year. Don’t worry – the descriptions of the three items will explain their meaning.
The game will also offer olivier salad (Russia), yut nori (Korea), and a Zodiac ox figure. And, of course, a New Year’s arch worth 2,021 bells.
… Damn, I love this game. Here’s to a continuing addiction to Animal Crossing in 2021 that will flourish in hopefully better circumstances in the outside world.