Sparkly dresses, champagne toasts at midnight and partying until the ball drops might be a thing of the past for parents. Unless you are ready to pay a hefty babysitter fee.
Luckily, you can still party like it’s 1999 with your kids! Well, maybe not quite that much fun, but pretty close.
Here are 11 ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve with your children.
Host a Kid-Friendly Soiree
Call up your other parent friends and invite them over for a fancy dress party. Serve finger foods like chicken nuggets and mini hot dogs, with champagne for the grown-ups and apple juice for the little ones.
Make Mocktails All Night Long
Older kids, and many adults, want to celebrate with fancy drinks but not the day-after results. Create fun mocktails with seltzer water, soda, fruit juice and garnishes. Make a mocktail of the hour and bust it out every 60 minutes. Check out these suggestions!
Celebrate a Different Midnight Ball Drop
The new year arrives at different times around the globe, which means that you don’t need to wait for midnight EST. Pick another location that matches your kiddo’s bedtime and roll with it! Live stream their celebrations, set the clocks ahead to match their time zone and blow your horns when the clock strikes midnight, over there. Kids get the fun of celebrating 2017, without staying up all night long.
Launch Sky Lanterns
Recreate the classic scene from the Disney movie “Tangled.” Sky lanterns symbolize hope and good wishes. They are perfect to ring in a new year! Have your kids write down their resolutions, wishes or prayers for 2017 and include them with the lantern. Then launch your lanterns as the sky is growing dark or just before bedtime. Make sure you are in a safe location and away from fire hazards. Check with your local fire department just in case.
Roast Marshmallows at a Christmas Tree Bonfire
What better way to get rid of a very dry Christmas tree than to have a bonfire! Gather up sticks and branches from the last winter storm or buy a few cords of wood. Invite your friends over to cook hot dogs and roast marshmallows over the flames. As a bonus, you’ll be nice and toasty while you enjoy some fresh air as 2016 ticks away. Just make sure you are following fire safety guidelines for your area!
Have an Epic Game Night
Bring out ALL the board games for one night of endless playtime. Make it a family affair or invite friends and neighbors over to play with you. Start with the classics and end with modern favorites or play games that you loved as a child. It’s a great chance to share memories and practice winning (and losing) with grace.
Invite Friends to Eat Around the World
New Year’s Eve at home is a great opportunity to try out all those Pinterest recipes you’ve been saving all year! Start early, with fun appetizers, and end with dessert just before bed. In between, try out recipes, tapas style, from around the world. Sushi from Japan, hummus and pita bread from the Middle East, bangers and mash from England, or poutine from Quebec.
To keep your New Year’s Eve menu kid-friendly, try serving Candy “Sushi” Fruit Roll Ups.
Go where your taste buds take you! If you’re really ambitious, you could attempt to coordinate a new food with when midnight arrives in that country or region.
If you’re not ambitious, you could order take-out from a variety of restaurants.
Snuggle on the Couch with a Classic Movie Night
Go with classic movies from the golden age of cinema or your favorite Disney movies as a kid or really any combination of movies you love. Snuggle up on the couch with popcorn, candy and pizza, then push play.
The Jewish festival of lights ends on January 1, 2017. Celebrate hope and faith by lighting your own candles, menorah or sparklers. Play dreidel and eat delicious latkes or sufganiyot, a deep-fried doughnut filled with jelly or custard. Then initiate your children to the glory that is the “Hannukah Song” by Adam Sandler. Maybe edit out some of the more risque bits though.
Organize a Living Room Slumber Party
Set up sleeping bags, or make a tent out of blankets. Watch movies, play games and eat junk food until the kids fall asleep! Then you and your spouse can keep the party going, quietly, or can join your children in dreamland.
Make a Fancy First Breakfast
After all the celebrating the night before, refuel with a delicious breakfast on New Year’s Day! Go all out with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast and juice (or mimosas). While you eat, ask your family to talk about goals for the new year or remember their favorite parts of 2016.