For Ryan Seacrest, New Year’s Eve is anything but quiet.
But before the TV and radio personality rings in 2020 with the million-plus people who descend upon New York City’s Times Square to see the ball drop, he’ll be relishing in spending quality time over the holidays with his loved ones, including girlfriend Shayna Taylor.
“I’ll be with my whole family,” Seacrest, 44, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “We’ll be in Los Angeles, and we’ll spend Christmas Eve together, [which is my birthday]. We’ll do a traditional birthday fondue, which we’ve done forever. Christmas Day we’ll do in L.A. as well, and then I’ll head out to N.Y. for the show.”
Seacrest is set to host Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC (airing Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.) for the 15th year. He and Taylor, 27, reconciled in September after a split earlier this year, and he says they plan to continue their tradition of spending some time alone together before the holiday madness.
“We like to do something on our own before Christmas,” he says. “Whether it’s traveling to a city for a couple nights or spending time at home before family arrives, it’s nice to get to spend some time together and reflect on the year. We’ll try to do that again this year.”
As for gifts, Seacrest says there’s one thing on his list this year: Taylor’s cooking.
“She is an amazing cook, and she’s a fantastic healthy chef, as well,” he says of Taylor, who has her own food and wellness blog. “So, sometimes she will surprise us. She makes this incredible guilt-free pumpkin pie, which I tasted a few weeks ago. She’s mastered the recipe. Hopefully she gives that to me as my Christmas gift!”
When it comes time for Seacrest’s New Year’s Eve special, this year will be a bit different since his longtime co-host Jenny McCarthy announced in October that she’ll be skipping the show for the first time in a decade. Instead, Seacrest will be joined by actress Lucy Hale.
“Jenny has become such a friend of mine,” Seacrest says. “She and I have spent countless New Year’s Eves together. I will miss her, but I know that she has not had a New Year’s Eve night off in a long time, and is relishing in spending time with her family, especially her son, on that night.”
Seacrest says what keeps him coming back to the show year after year is the magic of being live.
“I like doing a live show, and Times Square is about as big as it can get on one night, with a million-plus people and rain or snow or sleet,” he says. “So, the potential craziness is fun for me. I remember watching this show on ABC as a kid, so to be able to host it is fun every year.”
Seacrest says he has learned that there are “many years where you just cannot stay warm — no matter what you do, no matter how many layers you put on and no matter how many of those warming rocks you put in your socks and your gloves.”
“One year, a few years back, it was close to zero,” he says. “The wind chill might have been below that. I was most concerned not about being cold, but about being able to talk because you lose the ability to move your mouth when it gets to be so cold. That becomes part of the whole experience.”
The artists slated to perform in Times Square during the show this year are Post Malone, BTS, Sam Hunt and Alanis Morissette. In addition, Seacrest’s former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul will sing in a set streaming from the West Coast.
After the show, Seacrest says he and the crew will continue their tradition of getting a late dinner.
“We don’t really eat dinner because we’re on the air from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m.,” he says. “So we generally go out for dinner at 2 a.m., somewhere in N.Y.C. that will serve us food. The cast, the crew, we like to sit and have a nice meal. We’ve gone to sushi in the past, and they serve us sushi late at night. So, we’ll see if we do that again this year.”
As to whether he has any New Year’s resolutions of his own, Seacrest admits it’s something he struggles with “all the time.”
“Like many people, it’s to start a new fitness routine,” he says. “But I think this year, instead of starting a new fitness routine the first week, I’m actually going to wait for two weeks because the gym is too crowded for the first two weeks. People start to quit their New Year’s resolutions, so I’ll wait until the third week to start my new regime.”
In the new decade, Seacrest says he’s looking forward to seeing how his life perspective changes.
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“I turned 45 in this decade, so it’ll be interesting to see how perspective changes in life next few years,” he says. “I still feel like a child, so perhaps I’ll feel more like an adult in this decade.”
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest airs live on ABC on Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET.