I am admittedly not a party animal. Even before having kids I wasn’t your get dressed up, hit the town, stay up late kinda gal. Staying home, playing games and eating snacks with family and friends is definitely more my speed, and New Years Eve is no exception. Now that my kids are old enough to understand New Years, I enjoy making the evening special. Thankfully all of my kids are under the age of ten, so it doesn’t take a lot to make the night feel special. A few pre-planned activities, some fun drinks and snacks and a few decorations will get the job done! We usually make it a pajama party, because everything is more fun when you are comfy, am I right? We also try to ring in the new year before the earliest bedtime. I for one like to start the new year well rested, not in a sleep deficient or with over tired children!
Here are a few simple things that we enjoy doing to ring in the new year:
Choose a few fun activities to pass the evening. Make it extra exciting by putting the activities in envelopes/paper bags marked with a time to open/complete the activity. The surprise factor makes everything seem like more fun!
- Year in Review/goal setting. One of my favorite parts of the evening is spending a little time as a family looking back at the past year and looking forward and dreaming a little about the year to come. This year we are going to use these Say Goodbye printable I made to create a little snapshot of who they were in 2020. You could also use this Family Goal Sheet to jot down some things you hope to accomplish as a family in 2021. I’m including a variety of goal setting printables that you might find useful.
- Dance Party- Put on a playlist of your favorite jams and cut loose. My kids love it when we dance with them.
- Play some games. Print off some New Year’s Bingo or check out some fun New Year’s Minute to win it games. You could also play a family favorite game that you have on hand.
- Watch a movie together. I love the old classic Holiday Inn, but it isn’t one my kids really love. I did notice that Disney Plus has a Very Merry Pooh Year. We haven’t checked it out yet, but I’m thinking we might try it in the afternoon of the 31st. Last year we watch several different “ball drops” featuring kid’s cartoon characters as well.
- Read a New Year’s book. There aren’t too many New Year’s books out there, but we have a couple. Check out Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution and The Night Before New Years.
- Toast the New Year. Grab some sparkling juice for the kids, maybe the real stuff for the adults, and toast the new year! There is something pretty cute about their little, “cheers!”
- Plan a Grand Finale. Weather you are waiting up until Midnight or have picked an earlier time to celebrate, plan a fun countdown activity. You could do a balloon drop as described here, use noise makers, bang on pots, use poppers, etc. Whatever you plan, get into it and don’t forget to yell, “Happy New Year!”
Food & Drink
We don’t have any traditional New Year’s Eve foods, but the last few years we have just done heavy appetizers and snacks. It’s fun to just graze throughout the evening. You could also serve soup or Chili to make it a little more filling. We usually have shrimp cocktail, veggies, chips and dip, some fruit, cheese and crackers. Most of our food is no-low prep which makes it extra exciting for this Mama.
We also don’t have a traditional New Year’s Eve dessert, but I am on the hunt, I feel like we need one…we have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas Pie for Christmas…New Year’s needs it’s own go to treat! I guess that is a 2021 goal!
In the past we have always bought sparkling juice for kids and done a toast. This year I’m planning a little New Year’s Eve Signature Cocktail/Mocktail. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m excited to experiement.
The Amaretto-Cranberry Midnight Kiss– Cranberry Juice, Champagne, Amaretto, OJ
The Cranberry Midnight Kiss– Sparkling Cranberry Juice, a splash of OJ
A few dollar spot/store decorations can really help make things feel more festive. The great part is that you can reuse them from year to year! You can find cheap banners at Walmart or Target, add some balloons and you are all set! It really doesn’t take much, but it makes it feel like a special evening and not just another night at home!