Do you have your sparkly New Year’s celebration outfit planned yet? Are the champagne flutes washed and ready? Is your party music cued for the big night? Or, like many other parents, are you laughing at these suggestions, trying to remember the last New Year’s Eve when you even made it to midnight? If you have a babysitter lined up and big party plans for a New Year’s celebration, then high five! If you’re a parent of little ones though, you’re likely looking forward to slipping into pajamas early on New Year’s Eve, toasting the end of 2014 with some plastic cups and hoping the kids sleep in the next morning. No worries! You can ignite the night right from your home, add some family-friendly sparkle and celebrate in Times Square style with these New Year’s celebration ideas that incorporate your kids.
Dress in Sparkles
Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t dress for the party. Dig through closets and dress-up drawers to find some fun sparkly things to wear–glittery shoes, a sequin scarf, a disco dress from that one Halloween party. If you have daughters, pick up a bottle of sequin nail polish and treat your girls to a New Year’s manicure and pedicure. Take pictures of each other, fancy it up and have fun!
Family Party Pack
Nothing says “Party!” like festive hats and noise-makers. Before New Year’s Eve, pick up some inexpensive party hats, noise-makers and balloons. Even if you’re simply planning a movie night, fill the living room with colored balloons and pair pajamas with hats, and your kids will think they’re at the best party in town (they are!). Schedule a movie intermission where everyone throws balloons in the air and tries to keep them from touching the ground. If you know your family won’t be making it to midnight, move the clocks forward and celebrate early. When the clock strikes 12:00 (…er, 9:30), blow your horns, bang on pots and pans and hug and kiss your family!
A kid’s idea of fun? Make a mess. And if you can, make that mess a colorful sparkly one. Confetti poppers can be found at most party stores this time of year and are a fun way to celebrate the new year. Or, make your own confetti with torn colored paper and some sequins. Let your kids throw it up in the air at “midnight.”
If you’re staying in for New Year’s Eve, you might as well kick back and have some fun. Pull out your family board games or ring in the new year with a rousing game of Twister. Who needs to see the ball drop when your family’s a heap of laughter from tying up in knots on the living room floor?
Kids love to be included in grown-up rituals. While you’re picking up a bottle of champagne for your own New Year’s toasts, buy a bottle of sparkling juice for the kids. Let them be a part of your toasts and make them meaningful for the entire family by asking everyone to share some of their favorite family moments from 2014 and some wishes for 2015.
Make a Time Capsule
Wrap up this year with a fun family project. Have each member of the family write down some favorite moments from 2014 along with some facts that identify themselves this year–friends, movies and songs they like, trending toys or favorite books. Put them all in a box along with a few memory items that will fit–small toys they’re willing to give up, tickets from shows they’ve seen this year, brochures or souvenirs from trips, class photos–and seal it up, saving it to be opened at an agreed upon date.
Light Up the Night
Sparklers are a great way to celebrate the New Year with kids. Treat them like birthday candles and make wishes for the New Year while they’re burning. Another great way to launch dreams for the coming year is to release a sky lantern. Gather outside with your family at your designated “midnight” and say goodbye to all the blessings of 2014 while you watch the lantern disappear into the sky. Sky lanterns have become a ritual of gratitude for our family, and my kids love being a part of the tradition.