I have many fond memories of New Year’s Eve as a child. Each year we would have a big party with lots of family and friends. There would be a big dinner and afterwards all of us kids would get to help ring in the new year.
My grandmother would pull out the big ‘ol bag of old-fashioned noise makers. All of us cousins would pick one out. Then there would be funny party hats and leis and we would hand those out. We would eagerly anticipate the highlight of the evening!
As the hour of midnight approached, we would gather around the television watching the Times Square ball drop. We would count down to the new year and at midnight everyone would run outside with their noisemakers (some of us just banged on pots and pans with spoons) and would all scream, “Happy New Year!”
It was such a special time. It was like the closure of the holiday season, and it went out with a bang!
When my sister and I started having children, it seemed only natural to want this tradition to continue. However, we quickly realized that little ones couldn’t stay awake until midnight. (quite frankly, neither can some of us adults)
So, we have designed our own alternative to a New Year’s Eve party just for little ones!
Each year since we have had babies, we all get together for an early dinner. Then we play some games, reminisce about the year past and talk about our hopes for the new year.
Afterwards, the cousins bring out the noisemakers and funny hats. The anticipation begins…
Yet, with a twist…
We have a count down until 9:00 pm. At 9:00 we make our own count down to the New Year! And we have our own rendition of the Times Square ball drop.
My husband takes a large exercise ball, strings it with Christmas lights, hangs it by a rope from a tree in our back yard…and the countdown begins!
He lowers it as we all watch from the window…As the “new year” approaches and we get to the final moment, we ring our noise makers and scream, “Happy New Year!’
We toast with fancy glasses of sparkling cider. One year I made sparkling jello in plastic champagne flutes. Oh what fun!
Here are some great recipes and games to try for your own Kid’s New Years Eve Party:
- Ice cream cones dipped in white chocolate and covered with sprinkles. Turn upside down to look like party hats!
- A cake frosted white with some sparklers or noise makers placed in top for decoration
- Bugles are a great snack-they look like noise makers or party hats!
- Make your own party hat. Simply roll paper into a cone and decorate with glitter and streamers
- “Minute to win it” type games are fun for the whole family– when little ones join in with the older generation, there is lots of fun to be had by all!
- Cookies with numbers 1-10 on them, line them up in a row for countdown cookies
- Small donut holes iced, rolled in sugar crystals to represent the Times Square Ball
- Each take turns telling a favorite memory from the past year
As our children get older, some of them are now able to stay up until midnight, but we will always remember our fun alternative to New Year’s Eve!