Remember those New Year’s Eves spent counting down to the new year with a champagne flute in one hand, loud music blaring from the band, people all around you, chaos and happy vibes flowing? Think all that “fun” is over now that you have kids? I am here to tell you it’s not! I have spent NYE many different ways — from Times Square to my living room — and can honestly say I have had a blast every time. Different phases of your life require more flexibility in how we celebrate certain holidays. New Year’s Eve? Definitely one of them. You can still have tons of fun though. Let me share a few ways to celebrate and make great memories!
NYE With a Newborn
When you have a newborn or very young infant, you may be hesitant to leave them. Or you may be looking for a good excuse to get dolled up and get out of the house for a few hours! Either way? I’ve got you covered. Staying Home: Put the newborn down for bed, a nap, or happily snuggled in a comfy spot. Cook a nice dinner with your main squeeze. Kindle a fire in the fireplace. Get dressed up (or into comfy pajamas!), and have your own private celebration. You could get really wild and crazy and actually stay up until midnight. Or join another time zone for an early countdown and hit the hay early. No one will fault a sleep-deprived parent for this! Getting Out: Call in Nana or a fabulous babysitter, and hit the town. There is no rule that says after you become a parent you can’t party like it’s 1999! But, if you are like me (and feel the need to slip into pajamas around 8:30), you may want to do some early celebrating. End the night at home gazing at your newborn and toasting to your beautiful family. Bottom line? There are no rules. Sometimes you need to reconnect with your former pre-parent self and sometimes you need to revel in your blessings. If you can merge those two together? Well, why not?!
NYE With Young Kids
If your kids are toddler age through younger grade school, now is a great time to include them in the festivities. You could set the clocks ahead if you want and do an early countdown with them. Complete the celebration with sparkling grape juice (or ginger ale) toasts. We let our kids make homemade poppers filled with confetti. Or toss toilet paper rolls around the room. Go outside and light fireworks and sparklers, and just have fun! When they were younger, we would enjoy a nice dinner, turn up the music, and create a dance party. We initiated our countdown around 8:00 or 9:00pm, and sent them to bed. Then, my husband and I took a bottle of something (or sometimes 2) to our bedroom and watched Dick Clark’s Countdown while toasting in the new year.
NYE With Older Kids
As our kids got a little older, we began going to parties with them. We sometimes left a little early. But I think many hosts expect that and understand that kids react differently in these situations. At the last NYE celebration we attended at a friend’s house, the kids played board games in one room while the adults played card games in another. Everyone had a blast. You could also host a party yourself and offer to pay the older kid(s) to entertain the younger ones. This would allow the adults to enjoy their NYE without having to worry . . . too much. Now that our kids are all in upper grade/middle school, we plan to host friends and family at our home. We’ll enjoy a wonderful meal together. (Were planning a sort of Friendsgiving — but without the chaos of the holidays.) Planning activities for the kids keeps them busy and up late without complaining. Having an area already set up and ready for those who just can’t keep their eyes open is key. Keep an (appropriate for kids and adults) music playlist going. Provide yummy snacks for everyone. Break out the champagne and sparkling juice or water for the countdown. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere for everyone. What better way to spend New Year’s Eve? Counting blessings, surrounded by family, and friends making memories together!