It’s one of the most hyped-up nights of the year, but celebrating can be tricky when you have little ones and no babysitter.
Ringing in the New Year at home can be lots of fun though, especially with a bit of planning. You might not be able to party like it’s 1999 (showing my age here!), but there are plenty of things you can do to bring the party atmosphere home.
Bring it forward!
If midnight is too late for your children, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating at 12 noon, or later in the afternoon. There are loads of pre-recorded countdowns on YouTube and Netflix usually does one too. Or, you could watch a countdown from a previous year, so you get the excitement of the fireworks and chimes of the clock.
We blow up some balloons and have party poppers around, but I saw a few photos of homemade balloon drops that look really cool. You can order a balloon drop bag online, or make your own from some fabric and masking tape. Brightly coloured napkins and paper cups add a nice splash of colour, and a disposable tablecloth.
Throw a wish into the fire
We did this a few years ago and although my oldest is still waiting for her cat (and has a few more years to go!), I think she really enjoyed the sentiment. This one is really simple; everyone writes a wish on a piece of paper, folds it up and throws it in the fire while hoping it comes true.
Eat 12 grapes
This is a Spanish tradition that my husband’s family takes part in. The idea is that you eat a grape for every bong from Big Ben. Whole grapes are a choking hazard for young children, but you could do halved grapes, or blueberries instead, and eat them to the bongs of a prerecorded countdown.
Record your children’s favourites
It’s so much fun to see how your children’s tastes and favourites change in just one short year. Write out some questions for them – and for yourself – then write down their answers and put them away until next NYE, when you read them aloud and do it all over again. You could ask about their favourite food, place, colour, subject, toy, song, story, best friend and much more.
Start a “good memories” jar
A nice big jar works well for this. Every time you do something fun as a family, or the kids have a moment they want to remember, write it down and pop it into the jar. Next NYE, get them out and read them all aloud. I’ll confess that we started this a few years ago and ran out of steam a few months in, but we might actually dig out the jar and see what’s in it this NYE.
Mocktails with accessories
Our kids love mocktails – or even juice – in plastic champagne flutes with party accessories such as umbrellas and cherries. You could make your own fancy ice cubes too, or cut shapes out of melon to decorate the glasses.
Try mixing Sprite and orange juice with 2 teaspoons of Grenadine, garnished with a cherry, or this Cocoa Mocktini from Lidl. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest too.
Run a Glowstick bath
We do this on birthdays too and the kids LOVE IT! Crack open a tube of glow sticks (we usually find them cheap at Home Bargains), tip them into a nice, warm bubbly bath and turn out the lights. So much fun! But don’t try it with kids who still put everything into their mouths!
Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! Thanks for all your support in 2018 and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Calderdale in 2019!