For the first time, I am considering letting my girls stay up to ring in 2012 at midnight. In years past, sleep took priority, and though we did fun things during the day — last year we ate fondue, played board games, and toasted the new year with sparkling cider — we still hit the hay before the rest of the country even started their celebrations.
But I think this year we are ready to greet the new year at midnight. I found some great kid-friendly New Year's Eve party ideas that should keep us busy until the clock strikes 12. And I asked around on Facebook for more ideas on how different families ring in the new year with their kids. Here are some of my favorites:
"The kids try to stay up. Last year was the first time we they made it. We watch Times Square and pile up in my bed eating popcorn. It's a nice, lazy family tradition." M. Tyler
"We invite high school friends (with kids), and the kids pile in front of the tv while the adults play games in another room. Then we all toast the new year. We have been doing this for years." T. Switzer
"Our kids stay up with us and we make special hats every year out of news paper that we hold on to all year." W. Johnson
"When I was growing up in Russia all religious holidays were outlawed so most of Christmas traditions migrated to secular New Year's. So it became one heck of a holiday. That's when you put your tree up, got and gave gifts, threw parties. The celebration lasted days. Since I moved to the States several of my Russian friends and I couldn't part with the idea of a fun New Year's so every year we rent a house for a couple of days in a place where there promises to be snow and celebrate the end of the year and beginning of a new one." I. Khanin
"We usually have dinner, play board games, make popcorn and watch family movies... Then we all toast with gingerale. We then usually wait for the famous "ball drop" on TV and go to bed shortly thereafter." T. Hunsacker
We celebrate a North American New Year's here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. We start our countdown (with Auld Lang Syne, toasts, blowing horns, kissing, etc.) at 9:30 p.m., which is when it is midnight in Newfoundland. We continue on from there until we hit midnight Hawaii-time. It's great for a variety of ages and energy levels — everyone gets to celebrate AND go to bed at a time that's right for him/her. It's really fun!" A. Anderson
"Our family always had a big potluck on New Years Eve. The adults would have a big poker or Mah-Jong game going inside; all the kids would be in the yard exploding fireworks till way after midnite." M. Ing
"We fondue and play board games every year and the kids love it! The New York countdown is an hour before ours, so we usually follow that one." K. Joy
"My son and I have adapted this little walnut candle boat activity, each setting sail a wish for ourselves and a wish for someone else. We tend not to stay up until midnight as meeting the new year feeling rested and refreshed seems more productive!" H. Keighley
How will your family celebrate the New Year?