When I was young, my parents took us as far away from my home in California to some remote part of the country on vacation during New Years. We ended up seeing the sights of Idaho, Wyoming, and other places where we would have no chance of meeting anyone other than a drunk old cowboy. When I got to my college years, I hit some of the hottest parties in California and Vegas. Now, as a parent, I realized that New Year’s fun includes clowns, balloon sculptors, and dancing to Hannah Montana. Fun for children, not so fun for my husband or me.
How can you mix the best of what you had with what your lifestyle includes now? Simple. A little bit of planning, a lot of fun activities for adults and kids, and the support of other parents and friends will make a killer cool New Year’s Eve party.
If you have babies and young children, you know they won’t make it to midnight. But, you can still have a lot of fun together. Teaching them about New Year’s will be funner for them in these years. First, make it a sleepover. Have children come in their new pajamas they got at Christmas with all of their snuggly blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. That way, you can put them down early and still have time to have fun after they go to bed. Kids will also think it’s fun to have a sleepover together.
You can celebrate by doing your own ‘ball drop.’ Select party stores sell disco ball pinatas, or you can make your own by blowing up a balloon and covering the balloon with paper mache. Use small aluminum foil squares placed evenly around the outside of the New Year’s ball to give it a unique look. Than allow it to dry for several days, pop the balloon inside, and fill it with treats. Do a countdown with the younger children, than have them swing and try to break the pinata at ‘midnight.’
You can also have each children decorate a scrapbook page with stickers of some of the things they have enjoyed over the past year. Place it in a ‘time capsule.’ Next year when you or one of your friends hosts the New Year’s bash, bring the time capsule so kids can see how much they have changed and accomplished over the past year.
Make party bags with blowers, hats, and other fun party favors inside for each child to take home with them at the end of the night and to help them remember the fun festivities enjoyed the night before.
School Aged Children
If you live in a snowy area, consider a moonlit sledding party. This fun family activity will be full of fun as you sled by the light of the moon. Break out the ATV’s and haul sleds behind. Afterwards, head inside to enjoy a movie, hot cocoa, and plenty of treats before the ball drop. Most children won’t be able to stay awake until the age of 10 or 11 to midnight, so you might want to have everyone bring warm pajamas to change into after a night of sledding. Than turn on a movie, or watch the ball drop.
If your children aren’t old enough to stay awake until midnight, consider going outside and doing your own countdown and fireworks display. Hand out hornblowers, hats and other party favors then have children countdown and start some neighborhood street fireworks fun. Allow kids a glass of sparkling apple cider to toast with if desired. Some neighborhoods host what they term as ‘Culdesac’s of Fire’ where all neighbors come and safely light off fireworks. See if your neighborhood would be interested in shooting off their own special fireworks display.
One of the hardest groups to please are the teens. But there are plenty of fun teen party ideas. Host a black light New Year’s Eve party with plenty of music, glow sticks, and food. You could also host an outdoor party poolside if you have willing neighbors who are okay with enduring a large crowd of dancing teenagers and loud music. As it nears midnight, hand out champagne glasses of sparkling apple cider, noisemakers and confetti (if desired) to help the celebration.
When hosting a teen party, it’s best to make sure you get your teen involved in the planning, as well as the expectations and rules that are to be established at the party. No drinking, smoking, drugs, and other household rules that will need to be abided by while their friends are there. Also make sure that friends and fellow partygoers understand the rules before you head back upstairs to the adults.
Keeping the Adults Entertained
If you are willing, have adults come in black tie affair and host a catered dinner, with ballroom dancing lessons afterward. Include the children if desired.
Adults could also enjoy a fun fondue night with chocolate and cheese dipping fountains and plenty of foods to dip with while visiting with each other. Include a children’ dipping fountain if you are brave enough.
You could also turn your house into New York City complete with your own hanging disco ball and wall to wall building landscapes. Have children practice and put on their own Broadway production for the parents.
You could also host your own casino night, using party planning services, or just hosting your own poker and blackjack night. Include hors d’ ouevres and drinks (non alcoholic if desired) while playing.
There are many fabulous resources available to help out if with planning a family party if needed. Family Fun has a great online resource of foods, themes, and activities for children of all ages. There are also several other links listed at the end of this article to get your family-friendly New Year’s party really rocking this year!