As seen on KATV Channel 7 on Saturday, December 29, 2013
When we think about celebrating New Years Eve we tend to think about grown up parties with lots of drinking—but for families with small children or for those who don’t want to get out here are some tips for hosting a family New Years Eve in your own living room.
With a family party things can get off course easy so think about posting the agenda for the night and going over it with the kids and make them excited about each aspect of the event.
Maybe send the kids next door for a playdate or out to run an errand with dad for an hour prior to the start so that you can set the stage and when they come in let it be an exciting surprise to them—if they can’t go out, send them into another room to play or watch a movie together while you work.
When I think of any party or get together I think about the 5 senses and try to cover each with items at the party—for example, the music you hear when you walk in or a candle burning for fragrance. Just lighting a few candles will help transform your house for your little ones who don’t usually get to be around burning candles.
Keep the foods easy and things you know your family will enjoy. The idea of snacking for dinner is always fun for little ones and they get to try finger foods (i.e. mini-PB&J sandwiches, or bite sized grilled cheese, small bowls of nuts , cheese or cut fruits).
Set up a “carpet picnic” in your living room using your coffee table as the buffet (maybe even drape it with a tablecloth) and while you’re eating play a slideshow featuring favorite memories from the year. These slideshows are easy to do on laptop computers. This is a great time too to talk about goals for the coming year or set family goals—like saving for a special trip for getting more exercise as a family.
After dinner you can do fun photos at a homemade photobooth by pulling props you probably have around the house—silly hats, dress up items, costume jewelry, oversized sunglasses, etc.
You can play board games or interactive computer games.You might want to have the little ones take an extra long nap so they can stay up late to ring in the new year, but if they’re too young and you know the next day they’re going to be cranky ring in bedtime.
For those who are going to stay up until midnight, keep everyone awake by having a family dance with fun music.
You could give each child or guest a 2014 calendar reflecting their favorite things.
Mandy Shoptaw is a freelance writer, photographer and expert guest on KATV where she shares a wide range of ideas, most focused on parties and events.