Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach and weekly contributor to Patch.com.
She created ChocolateCakeClub.com and ChocolateCakeMoments.com both sites dedicated to helping busy families have more fun together. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
I know we haven't even celebrated Christmas yet but are you looking to ring in 2012 with some fun for your family? Personally, I prefer to go to bed early and sleep in on New Year’s Day to recover from the Holiday season. My kids however, like the idea of celebrating the arrival of the new year. So, we will party. Since I’m usually running on empty, I’ve put together some fun but easy ideas for staying home and celebrating in your family room with the kids.
You don’t need to go crazy cleaning the house, buying party favors, and cooking to have a fun New Year’s celebration. Keep the party ideas simple. Even if you just end up watching the countdown shows on TV with the kids, they’ll appreciate it.
Make it a party.
Definitely invite neighbors, family and friends with kids about the same age over to help celebrate. This keeps everyone off of the road, you can all watch the kids together, and it saves on babysitter money. To keep it casual and easy, have everyone bring a dish to share. Start the party later so you don’t need to cook dinner, just have snacks and desserts. Invite the kids to come over in their pajamas so it’s casual, and parents won’t have to change their kids’ clothes if they fall asleep before going home.
Time is all relative.
Even if you have small children, you can still ring in the new year together. Here’s a trick. If you have small children who might not make it to midnight, change the clocks in the house so that “midnight” hits around 9 or 10 p.m. The kids will feel like they got to stay up and celebrate and you will still be able to put them to bed at a decent time.
Pop in the Fun
Kids love to make noise and New Year’s Eve is all about loud noise. Grab some inexpensive noise makers at your local Dollar Store or buy a roll of large bubble wrap. Give each kid a piece and let them “Pop it Up” at midnight while the adults pop open the champagne. Skip any confetti or streamers unless you want to spend the next day cleaning. Remember, we said keep it simple.
It’s easier to plan a party if you have a theme. Here are 3 easy themes and activities to keep the family occupied and laughing while you wait for midnight.
Get out those new board games you got for Christmas or Hanukkah, find your old favorites in the closet or fire up the Wii for a little family competition. Definitely grab prizes like big boxes of movie theater candy, large chocolate bars, or my favorite, win coupons to get out of household chores. Click here for more ideas on planning a Family Game Night.
Pajama Pizza Party
Why not have fun cooking together and sharing some laughs in the kitchen by making homemade pizza? If you have a great pizza recipe and a pizza stone, you are good to go. If not, here’s my family's killer homemade pizza recipe. To make the evening more unique, have everyone wear their pajamas all night. Invite another family over and make it a kids/adult slumber party. Or set up a tent in the living room and the kids can watch the ball drop from inside the tent in their sleeping bags. Here are some more ideas on how to host a fun Pizza Party.
Fancy Schmancy New Years Eve Party
Half the fun of New Year’s Eve is getting dressed up. Who loves dress up more than kids? It’s also fun to dance so why not combine these two into a Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Party? Kids love watching their parents get dressed up for New Year’s Eve Parties, so let them share in the spotlight this year by dressing up in their fancy duds or their kooky dress-up clothes.
You don’t have to go to a club to hear the latest bands and dance on New Years. Pick a theme and host a kid’s prom at home. Turn the New Year’s countdowns on the TV and let the kids dance along to the featured bands. Or set up an area in the house as a dance floor and spin the tunes. Create a playlist of the top dance hits of 2011 and groove those holiday feeding-frenzy calories away. Blow up some balloons and have them around the dance floor for even more ambiance! You can drop them from a net or second story at midnight. Get your video camera out because the video of your kids dressed up and dancing will be worth it!
Whatever you decide to do, have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve with your family. Happy Holidays to all of you and I look forward to sharing more simple, creative and memorable Family Fun ideas with you in 2012.
How do you celebrate New Years Eve with your family?