New Year's Eve isn't the easiest holiday to celebrate with kids. First, of course, there is the issue of timing--keeping kids up, I now know, does not necessarily bring CPS to your door but you almost wish it did the morning after, when you have uber-cranky and unruly monsters on your hands. Plus, the stuff of New Year's Eve--sparkly dresses, flutes of champagne, reminiscing about the year--is just very adult. That being said, New Year's can be lots of fun with your little ones and it's a great opportunity to make traditions that can be part of your family folklore for years to come. Some ideas on how to celebrate the mark of 2009 with your children:
Noon Year's Eve Party
Create a party at 12 p.m. instead of 12 a.m. Invite some kids to come over to your house at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31. Have the kids watch the ball drop in Times Square (taped from the year before). Make a ginger ale toast, make festive hats, blow noisemakers, dance under disco lights, make sundaes, be festive. Or you could have the party at 12 p.m. on Jan. 1 and show the taped recording from this year.
Indian New Year
Since India is twelve and a half hours ahead (the half! why the half!), you can start celebrating New Years in India right around noon (on the west coast)--Indian midnight. Make it fun for adults and kids alike by shaking up some easy Indian cocktails, like a Tamarind-margarita or one of many concoction based upon Sub-rosa vodka, with its decidedly Indian notes of toasted cumin, lemony orange, ginger, black peppers, and red chilis. You could do this for any country. Try an Italian New Year and have a pizza party starting at 6 p.m.--midnight in Italy. And check out these recipes for some cool kids cocktails so the babies don't feel left out of the imbibing...!Clock Party
My friend A. started a tradition of making clocks with her kids every New Year's eve. Her kids are now 8 and 4, and they have quite a few clocks in their collection. There are many ways to do this, but why not start simple? This kit comes with a step-by step poster for easy assembly. And here are 4 other basic kits. (For the classic Indian over-achiever mom, check out this site for actual clock parts.) The basic clocks are super colorful and, according to A., making the clocks together affords you the opportunity to teach your kids about time, as well as places around the world, since you can set the clock to the time of different countries. Gotta love the fun with the hidden educational component. Kind of like sneaking those green beans into the spaghetti sauce.
Once you have made our clock, you can set it 's alarm to whatever time to you deem to be "midnight" and herald in the new year.
This one's my favorite. You and your kids can fill a box with all sorts of circa-2008 items--toys, photos, magazine collages. There's no limit. You can use anything as a time capsule as long as it's waterproof and airtight. If you have any of those popcorn tins from the holidays lying around--those are perfect. And, depending on how young and/or interested your kids are, you can unearth the capsule as soon as next year or as late as, say, your eldest's high school graduation! The fun part is making it an adventure and explaining to your kids that you are a bunch of explorers in your house, searching for artifacts to bury. Make tinfoil hats as necessary, and turn hiding the capsule into the centerpiece of the event.
Bubble Wrap Stomp and Balloon Drop
Two fun add-ons to any of the above ideas, or parties in their own right. For the bubble wrap stomp, all you need is a bunch of packing materials. Attach bubble tape to any surface and let the kids at it. Make sure to get the bubble wrap with the big bubbles (which pack more of a firecracker-like sound than those puny bubbles) and synchronize the stomp with whatever time you are calling "midnight." The fun is in the sound, and in the contagious energy of a bunch of kids jumping and dancing on the stuff at the same time.
The balloon drop is a little more involved but kids LOVE it. Here's how to do it:
- Line up two rectangular paper tablecloths and punch holes every 2 to 3 inches down one long side of each.
- Stitch the tablecloths together with yarn, leaving a foot or so at the end for a rip cord. Tape the cloth to the ceiling on three sides, leaving the side opposite the rip cord open. Tape the cord up separately, so it's accessible. Let the center of the cloth hang down to allow space for the balloons.
- Inflate at least 75 balloons, buy thin streamers and metallic confetti.
- Stuff the cloth with balloons, then add the confetti and streamers on top. (Reverse it, and the confetti will weigh down the cloth and filter out ahead of time.) Tape up the last side of the cloth.
- Let her rip! Just one strong pull tears through the paper, releasing a cascade of balloons and confetti--and some seriously amused children .
Always a good option!
Enjoy, and here's to great things in 2009!