30 night in ideas for staying in with friends and family

It’s icy cold outside and our bank balances are still recovering from December’s indulgences – there’s never been a better time to hibernate at home. And if you’re spending most of January doing just that, you’re certainly not alone.

Staying in has become the new going out. In a recent survey, the UK voted one of their favourite things about winter as ‘not feeling guilty about staying in’, and more than half of us now say that we’d rather sit in front of the TV with a takeaway than venture out to a bar or restaurant. As a nation, we love nothing more than snuggling up in the great indoors – and now we’re taking things to the next level.

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2019 is set to be all about the art of staying in, curating low-maintenence meet-ups and inviting friends and family to join the fun too. From movie marathons to DIY wine tastings, group baking sessions to competitive games nights, there are hundreds of easy ways to entertain at home – and we’ve collated the best and most affordable options to try this year.

So – which one will you plan first?

A competitive game night: Take inspiration from the Jason Bateman movie Game Night (not seen it? Add it to your movie marathon night) and gather together, get into teams, and let the games commence.

Movie marathon: Whether you make it a themed marathon or just opt for the classics, hop onto Netflix and bulk buy the snacks.

DIY wine tasting: Stock up on affordable bottles (Aldi has some great bargain options) and some complimentary nibbles. It’s up to you how seriously you take it – do your research, or just enjoy the variety!

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The big quiz: With one person acting as quiz master, get together some of your smartest friends and family members and bring the pub quiz into your own home.

Bake-off: Like the Great British Bake Off, but in your own home. Each ‘contestant’ should make a showstopper creation and bring it along for a night of cake tasting and judging. Paul Hollywood cardboard cut-out optional.

Book club: Ideal for ongoing nights in with friends, creating your own book club is cost-effective and incredibly easy to do. Make sure everyone gets a turn to pick.

A murder mystery: Always wanted to go to a murder mystery? Why not organise one yourself?! You can go all out with costumes or keep things low-key. As long as you have clues and a sense of humour, you’re all good to go.

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Dinner parties: For a more formal celebration, wow guests with your wit, charm, and brilliant coq au vin. Make everyone dress up and you can stay up all night chatting.

Cheese and wine: Who doesn’t love a cheese and wine night? Ask each guest to bring a cheese they’ve never tried before or their favourite bottle of red.

Arts and crafts: Be it a night of knitting, a ceramics workshop or some drawing, get creative with your nearest and dearest.

Paint’n’decorate: Just moved in to a new place? Invite some of your most loyal pals round for a night of good old fashioned fun painting the walls and ceilings. All they need to bring is a paint brush. It can be enjoyable, we promise.

Floral arranging: There are plenty of online tutorials on arranging flowers, and organising a night to learn how to do it alongside friends leaves you with a new skill and a beautiful bouquet to take away.

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TV premieres: If one of your favourite shows is about to premiere a new season (or end with a huge finale), get fellow fans together for the big night and organise a dedicated period of time afterwards to discuss.

Gin tasting: If you’re not much of a wine fan, try gin instead. These days, there are a whole host of flavoured gins to delve into.

A puppy playdate: Borrow a pup from someone (or join a site such as Borrow My Doggy) and bring together your fluffy friends for a night of fun and affection.

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Takeaway night: Get a huge group together and throw in a little money each, then order from a few different takeaways to try new cuisines and go home with a full belly.

YouTube night: There’s nothing more addictive than heading over to YouTube and going down a spiral of viral videos, and doing this with friends and loved ones can be just as entertaining.

Clothes swap: If there are a pile of clothes you’ve been meaning to throw away, why not get together with friends and have a swap. What doesn’t suit you is bound to look great on someone else, and vice versa.

A night of true crime: If you’re interested in it, hold a themed night and watch documentaries, films and listen to podcasts to do with all things true crime. Just don’t go to bed before watching a couple of episodes of something uplifting first!

A cocktail evening: Making cocktails is good fun and most people enjoy trying out different mixtures and creations. If anyone doesn’t drink alcohol or you’re doing Dry January, make it a mocktail party!

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Get fit: While to many this may not sound appealing, having a little ‘get fit’ night in will make you feel amazing afterwards. Set up a mini HIIT session or throw on a workout video and clear some living room space.

Try out calligraphy: Being able to address and write beautiful letters is an enviable skill, and one we seem to have lost since becoming a digital-led world. Try out some calligraphy with friends for the ultimate throw back.

Take a digital detox: Talking of stepping away from all things digital, host a social media, phone-free night where the focus is on human interaction! It’s much easier to refrain from looking at technology when you have loved ones around to keep an eye on your usage.

Spa night: If you can’t afford to go to a fancy spa, take it back to your younger years and make homemade face masks, paint your nails and try out some new hairstyles. We all deserve a spot of pampering.

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Get astrological: Do your research and find out which night is clearest, then gather together for a little star gazing. All you need is a great look out point and lots of blankets.

At-home karaoke: This only requires one friend to own a karaoke machine or a microphone, and if all else fails, having a sing along to some of your favourite tracks over a bottle of wine or two is just as fun.

Play poker: Get your game face on and gamble a little (it can be with monopoly money if needs be). Unsure how to actually play poker? Stick to card games instead!

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Debate night: While we admit there is potential for things to get heated, a debate night can be a healthy way to manage opposing views on things like politics and current affairs.

Try out some comedy: Think you’re the funniest one in your family? Challenge each person to come up with a super short comedy sketch, and vote for your favourite at the end.

Host a poetry night: Literature fan? Challenge everyone to scribble their most creative thoughts on a page, before reading out loud when it’s your turn.