It's getting late, but there's still time to use the Web to choose a place for a memorable week or weekend to celebrate the new year, ranging from quiet and intimate to fireworks and noisy.
Of course, since the day is fast approaching, you should expect to do some shopping around. And you might want to confirm a reservation with an old-fashioned phone call.
Take a look at the West Coast, where San Francisco - is throwing a long party with lights, decorated trees and reindeer. You could watch fireworks over the bay on New Year's Eve, according to the Web site's "Festivals" section, or see if you can still get into the Bishop's Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve at Grace Cathedral Church. Look through "Performances" for the New Year's Eve Gala at Davies Symphony Hall or the New Year's Eve performance by Teatro Zin Zanni at Pier 29. Then you can check out their "Special Holiday Offers" and look right below that for a link to help you plan your shopping.
If you don't want a splashy big-city holiday, consider a place like historic Newport, R.I. full of Colonial-era homes and opulent mansions. Look down the page for "Celebrate 2005" to see what's going on for New Year's Eve. Then hit "Where to Stay" for directories of hotels and intimate bed & breakfast inns such as the Olde Bristol Ferry House B&B. Take your plastic along so you can browse in the city's many galleries and shops.
Enjoy southern gentility at Savannah, Ga. where you want to click on December and then head for the bottom of the page to look up the outdoor New Year's Eve part at City Market, the fireworks show on the Tybee Island Pier, or perhaps a river cruise or a gala party at one of the big hotels.
Looking for someplace a little more relaxed and old-fashioned? Lancaster County in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country has carriage rides, local holiday theater and other festivities. Look for their "Holiday Shopping Package" to save a couple of bucks on places to stay and shopping. Then run down to the bottom of the page for "Ringing in the New Year" to see New Year's Eve events that include dancing in the street and concerts.
If that's the right part of the country but too rural, think about Philadelphia home of the Liberty Bell and the New Year's Day Mummer Parade the annual flight of fancy that takes a year of preparation. The Web site provides lots of links to accommodations and other information you'll need for a visit, along with photos from past parades.
On the other hand, you could skip both coasts and head for Chicago for an evening or two or three on the town. Plan your partying with the help of Centerstage or MetroMix either of which can will help you find a club, restaurant, concert or ballroom bash.