Why is it that the last day of the year always leaves us with the most difficult decision of the year: Where to spend your New Year’s Eve. Do you shell out for tickets to an expensive party or find a bar with no cover and a free champagne toast? Do you eat a five-course meal at a fancy restaurant or stay home and watch Ryan Seacrest?

It doesn’t help that there are more than 80 NYE events happening in Charleston on Saturday night. Luckily, we here at the City Paper felt it was our duty to clue you in on some of our favorites.

For fans of fancy parties, some of the big ones are the Platinum Ball at the Hippodrome, the Crystal Ball at the Omar Shrine Temple, Charleston NYE 2012  at Harborside East, and the Snyder Grand Ball at the S.C. Aquarium. For bashes like these, you’ll be shelling out the big bucks in return for good booze, food, and live entertainment. They’re classy options, but it may be difficult to round up a group of friends who can afford the ticket prices.

Sometimes, ringing in the New Year with a lobster or decadent steak is all you need. Our favorite dinners are the Italian-inspired one at the Glass Onion, the all-truffle dinner at Circa 1886, and the gala at Woodlands Inn, which follows up a five-course dinner with a black-tie party.

Having young kids can turn NYE into a huge bummer, since you’ll have to bypass any champagne-fueled debauchery in order to get them in bed on time. But the whole family can enjoy the city’s Happy New Year, Charleston! bash in Marion Square, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry’s daytime Noon Year’s Eve, the Holiday Festival of Lights Winter Carnival, or the family- and adult-oriented bowling packages at River Bowl and Bistro.

Your favorite local haunts are getting gussied up for the holiday. Blu, O-Ku, and the Cocktail Club‘s parties are a bit on the pricier side, but some other, less expensive standouts are Noche Vieja New Year’s Eve at Barsa, the parties at Light and Torch, New Year’s Eve Prom at the Tin Roof, a NYE Ball at The Roost, and Twenty-Twelve Suede.

And two of our favorite parties are both free (and the restaurants happen to have the same owners): Tattooed Moose’s Day of the Dead Goodbye to 2011 and Voodoo’s Bee Gee’s Dance Party.

And if you need to chill after what will undoubtedly be a busy night, regardless of your specific plans, Holy Cow Yoga will have a free class on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Our New Year’s Eve listings will help you plan the perfect end to 2011.