I remember the first New Year’s Eve we spent with our firstborn daughter. She was 9 months old at the time and my husband and I looked at each other around 10 p.m. and agreed to just submit to the exhaustion. There was no midnight champagne, no ball dropping, no squeals of glee as poppers exploded with confetti. New Year’s means a whole new thing once you’re a parent but it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the festivities altogether!
Since that first year, we’ve enjoyed new spins on this end of year tradition and I’m looking forward to adding a few more of these ideas to our family’s celebrations.
I’d love to think this will help a few families out there enjoy New Year’s a little more this year!
1. Stock up on party favors: Even if you're not going anywhere, bring the party to your house! I found awesome cheap supplies at our grocery store of all places: a few curly blowers and sparkly paper tiaras are all you need to set the tone!
2. Let's get this started!: With little ones, you know things are going to fizzle out starting around 6:30 pm. I love the idea of hosting a countdown at noon instead of midnight! Use the fun wooden shape sorting clock to help count down the last hour and then pull out the hour blocks during your final 12 seconds.
3. Resolve to start a new tradition: Even though we didn’t have a party to attend, my husband and I still craved getting out of the house. We got everyone dressed up, packed into the car, and went for a local holiday lights drive. It was so much fun it has become a tradition. Holidays with little kids are the perfect time to start fresh with new ideas for activities you want to do together in the coming years.
5. Cheers!: While the adults were toasting early with champagne, we poured our daughters some fresh orange juice and put it right in the same stemless champagne flutes we were using. Stripey straws made it special and helped with ease of use!
6. Make your own confetti: This was something I loved doing as a kid–give your children some brightly colored construction paper and scissors or let them use their hands to make confetti for the family to toss. Have them store their cuttings (or rippings as the case may be) in a huge mixing bowl and save it for your countdown.
7. A year in photos: Collect your favorite photos from the year into a slideshow or print out a few and enjoy them together as a family. The concept of a year is hard for little kids to imagine but is easier to see when they can look back at how tiny they were when the year started. Talk about the milestones they hit in the last 12 months.
8. Take a hike: Last year I resolved to spend at least 15 minutes outside with my kids every day this year. We started it right away on New Year's Day. End the year on a healthy note and take the kids out for a nature walk. Bundle everyone up as needed and end with hot cocoa.
9. Start a time capsule: Write a note to your family one year from now and seal it away in a special envelope to be opened next New Year's Eve. Let the kids draw pictures or notes to themselves and include it in the bundle.
10. Fill a gratitude jar: I absolutely love this idea from Valerie at Inner Child Fun. End the year on a thankful note and vow to appreciate your blessings in the new year. Check out her suggestions and idea in full detail here.