With Christmas in the rear view mirror, we can now concentrate on celebrations for ringing in the new year. I’m at an age where staying up until midnight can sometimes be a challenge and the girls are at an age where staying up until midnight is a piece of cake. The nice part is that since they aren’t old enough to drive, I don’t need to stay up and keep track of them. I won’t be able to say that much longer. Until then, I can enjoy the present and reflect on the past.
I remember the days when we headed to the YMCA or local family museum to celebrate “New Year’s at Noon” complete with treats, streamers, noisemakers, a countdown clock and a balloon drop from the ceiling. We were able to do that a few times and it was a real treat for them. But honestly, I got to the point were I didn’t want to venture out anywhere on New Year’s Eve – usually because either the weather was horrible or I simply didn’t want to leave the house. We never really had a backup plan and when we would tuck the girls in, we would cheer and say “See you next year.” Kind of uneventful, I know.
Although it isn’t necessary for kids to stay up until midnight to ring in the new year when the clock strikes 12, that doesn’t mean they have to miss out entirely. So plan activities that allow them to feel like they are involved and that a new year really means something.
Create heirloom calendars
Let them spend the day (or some time in advance of the day) working on calendars for the new year. We used to create a calendar for everyone in our family that included everyone’s birthdays and all the holidays. There would be no reason for anyone to miss a birthday (in a pre-Facebook era) if they had their own custom calendar reminding them. My girls loved helping me with this tradition and it helped them recognize the importance of the start of the new year as well as all the special days that filled each month.
Create goal sheets or a journal
Another activity is to have them create goal sheets for the new year. No matter your age, you should make plans for things you want to achieve in the short and long term. Do they want to save money for a particular item? Do they want to do better in school? Do they want to improve at an activity or sport? Have them write their goals on paper along with some notes about what they’ve learned through the year. I recommend crafting a journal like we do for Scott’s birthday and add to it each New Year’s Eve.
Have a New Year’s Eve countdown
Finally, let them count down – no matter what time it is! Netflix has created several thematic countdown clocks from favorite characters such as True and The Rainbow Kingdom, Pororo, Larva, Word Party, Puffin Rock, Beat Bugs, Skylanders Academy, DreamWorks All Hail King Julien and DreamWorks Trollhunters. Starting today, you can search “Countdowns” on Netflix to start planning how you’ll be ringing in 2018!
Toast with special drinks and glasses
Oh, and one MORE last thing, have some fancy champagne glasses on hand (they sell plastic ones at Dollar Tree and on Amazon) and a bottle of kids’ wine (look for sparkling juice at Sam’s Club) so they can toast the new year in style. These simple ideas will ensure your child grows up with an appreciation for wrapping up one year and starting a new one fresh.
What traditions do you have for celebrating the new year for yourself and for kids?