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New Years Eve comes so quick after the holidays! Creating fun family traditions is so important for our families.
Sometimes it’s hard to plan something super elaborate because money is tight after the holidays. The days of partying till the middle of night are long gone! Maybe your house isn’t party ready, you have to work night shift (or day shift) the next day or maybe you just prefer to spend a quiet evening home with the kids (I know I do)!
A cozy family New Year’s Eve is just the ticket! It can be a lot of fun for families. Here are 16 Family New Year’s Traditions to start with your family.
Have a New Year’s Day celebration.
Since my daughter was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, she is on a pretty strict sleep schedule. So we decided to stop staying up until midnight and to have a celebration on New Year’s Day instead! This works if your kids (or you) cannot stay up late, or maybe you have to work. We watch the ball drop at noon and make noise and hug and kiss each other like it’s midnight! Then we do all the things we would do if it was New Year’s Eve like eat appetizers, fill out out New Year’s planner, watch our photo slideshow etc..
Reflect on the past year.
Our family writes down all the fun memories they can think of and puts them in a bowl. We take time to read each one out loud. It’s really fun because a lot of times, other family members will forget about things that have happened though the year and it gives us a time to reminisce. It is a lot of fun to see what everyone comes up with. (Hint: Look at the pictures on your phone to help you remember!)
Have a family friendly buffet.
Serve food on tiny plates like these from the dollar store. Cut up mini sandwiches with cookie cutters. Make some yummy punch or sparkling cider in sugar rimmed flutes. Have chicken tenders or chicken fries served with dipping sauce cups. Have individual dessert cups that kids can help you put together. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive! Even PB&J sandwiches cut up into tiny circles look appetizing. Make it easy and fun for the kids to get their own food.
Have a photo slideshow.
Most cell phones can create a slideshow right in the gallery. I usually do this ahead of time and choose certain photos to highlight our memories through the year. It is a lot of fun to look back on some of the moments that have shaped our lives over the past year. You can also have family send you photos that you may not have on your phone to include them in the slide show as well. Many game systems or computers have ways to put the photos up to watch as a slideshow with your family.
Family game night.
If you are waiting for the ball to drop- playing some fun games is a great way to kill some time. Have each family member pick out their favorite game and play together until the ball drops or a kid falls fast asleep. You can play card games, XBOX, or regular old board games. Beat the Parents, Labyrinth, Uno, and Jenga are all fun games for the family.
Have a treasure/scavenger hunt.
Kids love having a treasure or a scavenger hunt! You can have clues that lead to a fun prize like a game or a treat. Or have a scavenger hunt that has kids find objects around the house that has to do with a certain theme.
Make your own Decorations.
Every year we cut out big numbers of the year that is coming out of poster board. Each kid can decorate the numbers anyway they want. Add stickers, color it, make a collage and hang it up on the wall to welcome the new year.
Whether you are staying up late or having an early to bed kids new years party, get comfy. Have everyone dress in their super comfy PJ’s for the festivities.
Have a tasting party.
Kids love this one because they get to be in charge. The kids and/or parents can set out some ingredients and challenge each other to come up with the best treat that everyone tastes and votes on. It could be a Sundae challenge, pizza, snack mix, milkshake- it’s up to you!
Have a fun treat.
My mom would always make cheese fondue served with thinly sliced steak and french bread on New Years Eve. It was always fun because we never did any other time of the year! If your kids aren’t into that, a chocolate fondue would be amazing too. Get a chocolate fountain with a coupon at a craft store (Wilton makes a great one). Serve with fun dippers such as strawberries, marshmallows, pineapples, wafers or anything else you can think of. If you can’t get a fountain, heat melting chocolate in a double boiler and have the kids dip it instead.
Make New Year’s Hats out of paper and add all the trimmings. Make some noise makers to bang around at midnight from found objects like paper plates/toilet tubes and corn. Have a contest to see who made the coolest hat or the loudest noisemaker.
This idea from is a fun way to countdown to midnight. Write down different activities on slips on paper. Put the paper inside the balloons that are marked with specific times. When that particular time comes around, pop the balloon and do the fun activity inside. It can be things like: Have a Snack, Watch a movie, Dance Party, Color a picture etc..
New Years Interview.
Check out this FREE PRINTABLE for a simple New Year’s Interview kids can fill out themselves. Sometimes the adults might like to do one too! It’s a fun way to get into the mindset for the new year and gives the kids a chance to reflect on the past year as well. It is also a great keepsake to have throughout the years for your kids.
Minute to Win it Games.
While this is fun with a group of people, it can also be fun with a family big or small. There are a ton of minute to win games out there! You can plan a competition and have a prize for the winner, or make a homemade trophy that the winner gets to keep until next New Year’s!
Let’s face it – the kids are not really into watching the pre-ball drop shows. They are usually full of celebrities and singers they don’t even know. While you are waiting for the ball to drop, watch a movie or TV show instead. You can introduce your kids to the classics movies of your childhood like ET, Harry and the Hendersons, Pretty in Pink, or The Sandlot. Or watch something you all have been waiting to see together on Redbox.
Make a time capsule.
Get a sturdy container. Have the kids put one small thing that represents them or an important event they had they year. If you fill out New Year’s Interviews, this would be a great item as well to put inside. Take a picture in the same spot every year and put that in your capsule as well. Put it somewhere safe (or bury it) and open it next new years or five/ten years down the line- it’s up to you!
Whatever you decide to do on New Year’s- have a great time! I hope you can incorporate some of these fun family New Year’s Traditions into your family night.