When I became a Mom, all of the holidays changed, but none perhaps as much as New Year’s Eve. I can (somewhat) remember the New Year’s Eves in my 20’s where I rang in the new year with some fabulous beverage and an “up all night” crazy celebration.
Fast forward a decade and things are a little different….
I now ring in the new year with a different crew, my husband and 3 kids. I’ve got to say, however, that my New Year celebrations are just as fun and fabulous as my younger days (with the added bonus of no headache the next day).
So, if you are “toddlering” in the New Year, here are some tips for making your celebration a blast for all ages:
(1) Noon Year’s Eve.
We always kick off our holiday with a trip to the Bettendorf Family Museum for Noon Year’s Eve. We’ve been attending this event for years and absolutely love it. In case you haven’t discovered this yet, Noon Year’s Eve is a New Year’s Bash designed for the younger crowd. There are crafts, snacks, and games, all leading up to a confetti drop and count down at noon. Tip: Bring along a bag with some stuff to do while you wait for noon. Usually you have to go out to the hall and nab a good spot pretty early due to the crowds and so it is always helpful to have something to entertain your kids while you wait.
(3) Craft time!
In the afternoon hours (after we all nap to prepare for the late night ahead),we make crafts to help us ring in the new year. Homemade confetti, confetti poppers, the ideas are endless! Here is one craft project my kids and I are going to try this year: Hop on Pinterest and search: “new year’s craft ideas for kids” to find loads of other ideas.
(4) New Year’s List
While my kids are making their crafts, I usually take the time to “interview” them for a Year in Review page for their Scrapbooks. I ask them to tell me their favorite things about the year: favorite moments, favorite movie, highlights of the year, etc. I also have them make some predictions for things that will happen in the year ahead. I later turn their musings into a scrapbook page with pictures from the day, or summarize their year in story form. Another idea: videotape these interviews for a fun look back on the year.
(5) Party Menu
For dinner on New Year’s Eve, a standard dinner won’t do! Instead, I make a menu of party foods for my kids. My menu usually includes: finger sandwiches, a hot dip of some sort (this is one of my favorite ones), pretzels, mozzarella sticks and other party foods. I put out the spread in our family room, gather some pillows around the table and we sit and munch on the snacks as our dinner. It’s casual, laid back, and fun.
(6) New Year’s “Toast”
Later in the evening we do our favorite New Year’s tradition, one I can credit my son Hayden for inventing. When Hayden was 2, I told him that we were going to have a “New Year’s Toast”. But before I could pour apple juice into little plastic champagne flutes, Hayden looked and me and exclaimed “I want Jelly on mine!”. Yep, my little guy thought New Year’s Toasts come from the toaster. The tradition has stuck ever since. So get out the jelly, the bread, and “toast” in the New Year!
(7) Game Night
In the evening my family and I usually play board games. Twister is always a big hit. But trust me: NEVER challenge a competitive dancer to a game of Twister – it doesn’t end well.
This year I’m going to change up our New Year’s Eve game night and do a balloon popping party. I’m going to take 6 balloons (one for each half hour from 8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m). I’m going write on small pieces of paper little activities for each half hour (such as a game, a dance, something silly, etc.) Then I’m going to put the papers inside the balloons before I blow them up with helium, blow them up, and let them fly around the room. Each half hour we will pop a balloon and see our activity.
(8) Ball Drop
Each year I allow my kids to attempt to stay up for the ball drop in Times Square. Last year all three of mine made it up that late. We do the standard countdown, the ball drops, and then have a confetti party and use the crafts we made from earlier in the day.
Is it messy? Yes. Will you be vacuuming up confetti and finding it in your couch for months to come? Probably. But the looks on their faces are totally worth it. I don’t even bother cleaning it up after such a fun day — I save that for something to do while my husband watches football the next day.
So whoever said only adults have fun on New Year’s Eve was just plain wrong. Happy New Year everyone! How are you celebrating the holiday?