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New Year’s Eve Celebration Ideas

Have you thought about how you will ring in the New Year? Yes, I know we haven’t celebrated Christmas yet, but I know I’ve been thinking and planning (at least in my head) about what we will do for New Year’s Eve this year. We have had fun celebrating as a family the last few years and we plan to do the same again this year.


I think this year, we are going to add a few other families to our celebration. Our kids are old enough that having friends makes it more fun and they are old enough, I think they can handle staying up to ring in the New Year (as opposed to years past when we have run in the New Year at 10 or 11 pm instead). 


Even with adding a few other families to our New Year’s Eve fun, I think we will keep the format similar with our hourly bags. I’m thinking that each family that comes will be in charge of a bag or two. So, they will bring the idea for the activity as well as what little trinket or gifty goes in the bag. 


Most of us have hours of home videos, but how often do we look at them? Spend the last evening of the year looking back as your family's great moments. This might take a little prep, finding the videos, but it'll be fun to relive first steps, school plays and family vacations. Make it a real movie experience by making popcorn and getting theater-style candy. 

Try a New Year's tradition from Colombia, Ecuador and other Latin countries. Build a dummy representing the Año Viejo (the old year), using sturdy paper or cardboard. "Dress" it by drawing clothes on it or gluing on scraps of old clothing from each family member. Write down your faults and bad luck on a piece of paper. Exactly at midnight, tear Año Viejo into shreds. If you have a fire going in your fireplace, throw in the shreds and let them burn. While Año Viejo is being destroyed, read the list of faults and bad luck out loud, to make them vanish along with the old year. 

Cheese fondue is just plain fun. You'll need a heavy pot for the fondue, a hot plate or burner to keep the fondue warm on the table, some long forks, and a loaf of crusty bread. Cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, keeping some crust on each piece. When the fondue is ready, gather everyone around the pot and take turns dipping the bread in the melted cheese.
If you lose your piece of bread in the pot, tradition says you either have to kiss the person on your left, kiss everyone at the table or pay a forfeit devised by others at the table.

Cue up a family-friendly movie. Shop for snacks. Pick up a deck of cards and break out the board games. Spread pillows and sleeping bags or blankets on the floor and camp out for the night. Cook one of your favorite meal and eat it by candlelight in the living room. See who's still awake at midnight! 

If your kids are small, it's hard to keep them up for midnight festivities. So celebrate midnight in another country, when it's still early in your part of the world. Get in the spirit by playing music and serving food from that country. You could celebrate the New Year in Paris, Greenland or even the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (with an underwater theme).

It's a Greek tradition to serve vasilopita (New Year's Cake) at midnight. This special cake or bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden inside. The head of the household cuts the cake exactly at midnight. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will have good fortune all year.


Turn your family room or heated garage into a ballroom with a disco ball, curtains and strings of lights. Gather lots of different kinds of dance music, from Big Band to Top 40, so everyone can have fun dancing. Dress code can be casual (pajamas encouraged) or formal. 

Cook a feast full of kid-friendly foods. Let each child choose a frozen appetizer or meal at the grocery store or treat them to something they are normally not allowed to have.

Staying home with the family on New Year's Eve is a great bonding opportunity and think of all the money you'll save on a babysitter! Try out any of these activities, and create your own New Year's traditions!

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