Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations
New Year’s Eve isn’t often thought of as a family friendly celebration, but it can be.
New Year’s Eve isn’t often thought of as a family friendly celebration, but it can be. Since my kids have been born, my husband and I have always celebrated New Year’s Eve with our daughters, now both 10.
If you would like to celebrate New Year’s Eve with your kids, there are plenty of options. These are ones my family has tried:
1. Go International For the past several years, my family has attended a New Year’s Eve celebration hosted by friends. Our friends have three young children, so every year, these friends hold their New Year’s Eve celebration “Dublin time.” The pot luck party, in which each family brings a dish to share, starts early in the afternoon. The kids enjoying playing together while adults gather to chat, and everyone enjoys the food and refreshments.
We do a New Year’s countdown at 7 p.m. our time, which would be midnight in Dublin. The hosts pass out champagne for the adults, sparkling cider for the kids, noisemakers, and confetti for the young ones to throw from the top of the host home’s staircase. Everyone has a great time, and most guests leave shortly after the countdown to tuck their little ones into bed! The evening is an enjoyable one, as everyone gets to enjoy food and fun together on New Year’s Eve.
2. Stay Overnight A terrific way to celebrate New Year’s Eve with family is to stay overnight at a local hotel. We did just that two past New Year’s Eves, when we went with two other families on our block and stayed in a local hotel that has an indoor pool. The kids swam together in the pool, and we all shared a Chinese takeout meal in the hotel’s lobby area, which is appointed with dining tables and chairs.
We request adjoining hotel rooms, so we can gather together later to watch the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration on TV – the kids usually hang out in one room, while the adults gather in another. We bring board games and snacks to pass the time. At midnight, we enjoy a midnight toast together (the kids get a non-alcoholic drink) and break out New Year’s noisemakers and hats. We say goodnight shortly after midnight, and meet the next morning for a New Year ’s morning breakfast together. The kids love having an overnight with their friends, and the adults appreciate not having to risk the roads late on New Year’s Eve.
3. First Night: First Night celebrations are a wonderful way to ring in the New Year with one’s kids. The cultural events are hosted by towns and cities across the U.S. These events typically include concerts and shows for the entire family, with the events being within walking distance of each other. Many towns offer fireworks displays. In NJ this year, Morristown (First Night Morris County), Haddonfield, Ocean City, Burlington County and Ocean County will be hosting First Night celebrations.
4. Stay In – Of course, you could always stay in New Year’s Eve. We’ve stayed in a few New Year’s Eves, and we’ve always have had a blast with our kids. We make a whole bunch of appetizers to share, and let our kids watch the ball drop at midnight. (We wake them up for the countdown if they fall asleep on the couch while waiting for the big moment). My kids like making their own New Year’s decorations, and we’ve gotten some great photos of them in their New Year’s hats and sunglasses. Another fun way to ring in the New Year is with a big (late) breakfast on New Year’s morning! (And if your kids are young enough, maybe you can all enjoy a New Year’s Day nap together – I am just saying – you all might be tired the next day!)
Lauren Kim is the editor of Mom Home Guide, a family website that features ideas for family friendly home décor, crafts and recipes.