DOES the thought of crowded clubs, extortionate taxi fares and over-priced restaurants make you baulk at the idea of going out for New Year? You're not alone - a third of us will see it in at home or with friends. ANDY DOYLE investigates.

WHETHER it's a cosy night in with your family or an impromptu party with friends, staying in can be a far more attractive option than a night on the town when it comes to New Year's Eve.

Just the thought of spending a week's wages on being stuffed like a sardine into a hot and sweaty club before competing with hundreds of drunk punters in the freezing cold for the right to pay a jaw-dropping taxi fare is reason enough to settle for a night in.

And new research seems to back that view. One in three people are planning to stay in this year, while one in eight are not even going to bother seeing in the New Year.

The survey carried out by the Yorkshire Bank also found only five per cent of households were planning to spend more than £200 on New Year celebrations.

Gary Lumby, Yorkshire Bank's head of retail, said: "We normally associate New Year's Eve with outrageous parties and excessive spending.

"Our research suggests this is no longer the case.

"People this year appear to be avoiding the aggravation and expense and are choosing to be more sociable by spending a fun, but perhaps more relaxing and cheaper time celebrating at home."

Part-time model and office worker Emma Corten from Pontypool likes to party - she's out most weekends in Newport or Cardiff with boyfriend Chris.

But when it comes to the New Year ,she's got a different perspective.

"You get a lot of nutters out generally at the weekend - on New Year's Eve you get about three times that many," said the 19-year-old.

"That's one good reason not to go out. Staying in with your family is much more fun.

"You can play games - like charades, and my mum has just got a great new Sky movie package."

But Pontypool-born actress and comedienne Elise Harris, who currently lives in London, has a cautionary tale when it comes to staying in.

"Every year I used to make the effort to go home and spend New Year with my parents," she said.

"But more often than not they ended up going out to a dance and I was left on my own watching Singing in the Rain or The Rocky Horror Show. Very sad.

"I remember for the Millennium my dad bought this huge rocket to set off at midnight.

"We were all waiting with baited breath and when he lit it, it just sort of fizzed briefly before dying."

Elise's ideal New Year is a house party with friends.

She added:"We had a pyjama party one year which was fun. Otherwise it's a case of just ringing round and seeing what's happening.

"I think New Year is for friends and Christmas is for family."

PROFESSOR Huw Beynon director of social sciences at Cardiff University said the drop in the number of people going out on New Year's Eve is reflected in the fact that fewer people go out generally these days.

"We live in a much more home-centred society," he said, adding: "It's much more the case that many people just don't go out on a Saturday night anymore - there's been a huge decline in the number doing so compared with about 20 years ago."

Prof Beynon said a number of factors were influencing the change, from the expense of going out to tougher drink-driving rules and the backlash against smoking.

"Pubs and clubs have changed - they are much more the preserve of the younger generation," he said.

So home has become our focus, with more people drinking wine instead of beer and an ever-growing array of home entertainment.

"We've got karaoke machines, Sky movie channels and so many other forms of entertainment that people are now far more inclined to spend the New Year at home with their family or friends," said Prof Beynon.

Another factor added Prof Beynon is the fact that New Year has become "much like any other night".

"Perhaps 20 or 30 years ago it was the event of the year that we looked forward to - that's much less the case now."

Top tips for a great night in on New Year's Eve.

*Get a good spread organised.

*Decorate the room with confetti and have plenty of streamers to hand.

*Organise some good party games - a quiz of the year is easy to put together or that old favourite charades.

Cards is also popular, especially poker for real lose change!

*Have a sleep-in party with all your best friends.

*Line-up a good movie *If you've got kids let them stay up and teach them all the traditions, such as singing Auld Lang Syne.

*Compare and have a laugh at New Year resolutions Or *Go to bed and pretend it isn't happening.