When the weather is chilly on New Year’s Eve, many of us opt to stay home and celebrate as a family. Here are some ideas to make your party special.
What’s a New Year’s Eve party without the proper hats, noise makers and confetti? Get the kids involved in making these fun accoutrements for your at-home celebration, and have everything ready and waiting when the clock strikes twelve.
Home Movies: Dinner and a Show
Most of us have hours of home videos, but how often do we look at them? Spend the last evening of the year watching the movie of your family’s life with the people you love most. Depending on how many hours of footage you want to review, you may want to have an early and a late show. During intermission, serve the favorite family meal while sharing memories of favorite past experiences.
Try a Different Sort of Meal
Cheese Fondue is a fun, communal meal that everyone enjoys. 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 with individual forks. Take turns spearing the bread and swirling it in the melted cheese. If you lose your piece of bread in the pot, tradition says you may have to kiss the person on your left, kiss everyone at the table, or pay a forfeit devised by others at the table.
Dessert fondue calls for melted chocolate and pieces of fruit. Try white chocolate and you’ll have “snow covered fruit treats.” Both types of fondue go great with champagne (ginger ale for the kids), making fondue the perfect dish for New Year’s Eve!
Family Slumber Party
Prepare for this activity on New Year’s Eve – that’s part of the fun! Visit the video store and rent movies. Shop for specialty snacks, ones you don’t normally eat. Pick up a deck of cards and break out the board games.
Cook one of your family’s favorite meals and eat it by candlelight in the living room. Then spend the evening watching movies and playing games. Spread pillows and sleeping bags or blankets on the floor and let the whole family camp out for the night. See how many family members are still awake at midnight!
New Year’s Ball at Home
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 current hits, so everyone can have fun dancing. Dress code can be casual or formal.
Make your own disco ball out of paper mache and glittery paper. Fill it with candy and small prizes (movie passes, kazoos, etc.), and let it drop and break open at midnight.
Make Your Bad Luck and Faults Disappear
Try a traditional New Year’s activity that comes from Colombia, South America. Build a dummy representing the Año Nuevo (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. Ask everyone to write down their faults and bad luck on a piece of paper. Exactly at midnight, tear Año Nuevo into shreds. If you have a fire going in your fireplace, throw in the shreds and let them burn. While Año Nuevo is being destroyed, read the list of faults and bad luck out loud, to make them vanish along with the old year.
Make a Good Luck Cake
It’s a Greek tradition to serve Vasilopita (New Year’s Cake) at midnight. This special cake is baked with a coin or charm hidden inside. The head of the household cuts the cake exactly at midnight. Whoever receives the piece with the coin will have good fortune throughout the year. So spend the day baking Vasilopita with your kids. At midnight, welcome in the New Year with a sweet treat and a bit of luck!
Midnight in Another Country
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 Italy. It’s great fun and everyone is awake for the festivities!
Sing “Old Lang Syne” and Make Some Toasts (or Blessings)
Give children the lyrics for “Auld Lang Syne” and celebrate the start of the new year with the song and some toasts to the special people in the room. You can do a search online for toasts, print them out and use them if creativity or impromptu speaking is not your thing. Better yet, instead of a toast, make it a blessing!