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You don’t have to go out to have a fun, memorable New Year’s Eve celebration. And if you’ve got little ones at home, it may be less stressful and more enjoyable to keep the merriment under your own roof. Here are 12 fun ways to ring in the new year at home!
Pretend You’re Going Out. Even though you’re staying home, you can still get dressed up. Set the table with linens and candles and flowers. (You can always use artificial flowers and LED candles). And if you don’t want to cook the fancy meal, don’t. Whether you choose to eat your favorite Subway sandwiches on your finest dishes or you have the meal catered from your local market, making it more fancy than usual will automatically make the meal special.
Make A Time Capsule. Commemorate the end of the year with a family time capsule. As a family, select mementos to include such as a newspaper from December 31st, alist of places the family hopes to visit next year, a list of everyone’s current favorites (book, food, song, movie, color). It’s always interesting to compare and find out which favorites stand the test of time. Trace your children’s hands (or if you’re feeling ambitious, you can paint them and make painted handprints) so that next year you can literally see how big the kids have grown in one year.
Celebrate The New Year Internationally. If your kids aren’t old enough to make it to midnight (and/or you don’t want to), then celebrate the new year when it’s midnight somewhere else. You can select a country that represents your family’s heritage, a country you’ve always wanted to visit, or a country you’ve read about in a book. Celebrate when it is midnight there. And with the help of your public library and/or internet, you can play traditional music, draw the country’s flag, and enjoy a traditional meal or snack.
Make This Day “Except”ional. As in, do today what you would not normally do. Eat dinner backwards — start with dessert. Or make it a movie-marathon day (watch Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 for example).
Borrow From School Spirit Days. Let the whole family participate in “Crazy Hair Day.” Get creative and if someone doesn’t have hair you can always create a crazy headband for them! (Or borrow an idea from a teacher at my son’s school, and put stickers on your head!) Don’t forget to take pictures. You can also turn New Year’s Eve into your own version of “Backwards Day;” after all, New Year’s Eve is all about counting backwards. So do things backwards. Wear your clothes backwards (easiest with elastic-waist pants). Eat your meals backwards — have spaghetti for breakfast and eggs for dinner!
Make Your Own Balloon Drop. You can easily create your own balloon drop that you can then let go at whatever time your family has chosen as it’s own new year’s celebratory time. Lots of families opt to countdown to noon instead of midnight. (Extra balloons can also be used for a family-friendly version of what our family calls “balloonball” — think volleyball with a balloon). You can find easy tutorials online, but this fun idea requires a minimal number of supplies and not a whole lot of preparation time.
Use Your Technology. Have some fun with Photo Booth. Create a mini-video of everyone’s recollections of the last year and predictions for the year ahead. Pick out some music that best serves as a soundtrack for your family. Skype with relatives in another time zone. Challenge each other to a game of Wii Bowling.
Play Some “No-Batteries Required” Games. Get back to basics and play some games. Classics never go out of style for a reason. Some suggestions include Bingo (make sure to have some little prizes on hand), Go Fish, Mad Libs, and Monopoly (if the kids are old enough). (You can even find New Year’s themed Bingo cards and Mad Lib games!)
Celebrate With Sweets. You can “ring” in the new year with Candy Rings. You can share kisses at midnight (or whatever time you’re counting down to) with bowls of Hershey’s Kisses.
Borrow Other Customs. It’s tradition in Spain to eat 12 grapes for the New Year. In southern states, many families eat black-eyed peas for the New Year. In Italy, it’s customary to eat lentils. And in Denmark, many think it’s lucky to jump off chairs at midnight — it’s said to bring good fortune into the new year. And don’t forget the New Year’s classic “Auld Lang Syne” written by a Scottish poet.
Create Your Own Party Supplies. Use pipe cleaners to create funny “glasses.” Or buy inexpensive glasses and bend the pipe cleaners to make the digits “2018,” and attach to the top of the glasses. Don’t forget about noise-makers and/or shakers. Paper plates stapled together with rice or beans inside can be used as a tambourine-like shaker. Buy plain party hats and customize them with stickers, glitter, felt, and feathers.
Start Your Own New Year’s Eve Tradition. It doesn’t have to be “fancy,” doesn’t have to require a whole lot of planning, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be yours. Maybe each New Year’s Eve you take a walk in your neighborhood. Maybe you all sit down to watch a favorite family movie. Maybe you all squish into bed to read together. Maybe everyone gets manicures and temporary tattoos! Whatever you do, it’s your family’s special New Year’s Eve tradition.
If you do feel like going out, check our list of The Best Family-Friendly New Year’s Events in Southern California.
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