Holiday family traditions make memories and create a sense of belonging for the family members. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the perfect opportunities to create new family traditions that can be a blend of the ones you grew up with and new activities you think your kids will enjoy. With a little planning, you can keep even young kids entertained at these holiday gatherings.
Family Fun on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, include kids too young to stay up until midnight in the celebration by having one for them earlier in the day. Have a dress-up party and create a ball to use for a ‘ball drop’ countdown to noon. Read a book together about New Year’s Eve and the ways different cultures around the world ring in the new year. Have some fun games available and enjoy some holiday sweets.
For older kids who are determined to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, create a slumber party in the family room complete with blankets and pillows. This will allow kids who fall asleep before the clock strikes twelve to rest comfortably until it is time to wake up the next day. Keep kids entertained by making some fun New Year’s crafts together, like the paper plate noisemaker craft or the toilet paper tube confetti launcher, that can be used to help ring in the new year later in the evening.
Enjoy creating your family’s New Year’s Day dinner traditions
A New Year’s Day dinner menu full of special recipes is a tradition in many cultures. If you are looking to create a unique dinner tradition for your family, have fun combining your favorite family recipes with ones from other cultures. Research the New Year’s Day food traditions of other countries with your kids and ask them to help you select a new item to add to your family’s New Year’s Day dinner menu. For example, the European tradition of baking a special cake for New Year’s is one that the whole family can enjoy (just leave out hiding a coin in the cake). Some other traditional New Year’s foods from other cultures include rice, noodles and grapes.
New Year’s Day family activities that make memories
- One tradition shared between cultures is spending time to reflect upon the year past and making resolutions for the new year. At first, this might seem like an activity only adults would be interested in, but here are some ways to make it a kid-friendly tradition that will create memories you will cherish.
- With your kids, write a letter that touches on the highlights of the year past to send to friends you don’t see very often or to add to a scrapbook.
- Help kids create a list of family outings and activities from the year past that they enjoyed and a wish list of family adventures for the upcoming year. You could also create a time capsule and add this list plus pictures and souvenirs from your family vacations.
- Create a holiday ornament on New Year’s Day for each child by helping her write her name and the year on a glass ball ornament, along with one thing she wishes to achieve in the new year.
Even if your holiday tradition is to vacation in a new location you have never visited before, you can pack up the supplies for these family activities and take them with you.