Celebrating New Year’s With the Little Ones
I have to admit, I have never been a huge fan of New Year’s Eve. Perhaps that is in part because, by the time New Year’s rolls around I am soooooo exhausted from the holiday craziness that I just don’t have another party in me. Over the past two years, I have been taking baby steps towards embracing respectable New Year’s traditions (“respectable” based upon the extraordinary expectations everyone seems to have for a ‘Clueless Chick New Year’s….). I started with New Year’s Day traditions, namely eating lucky foods which begins, of course, with an early morning family trip to Krispy Kreme.
In the South, we all know about the traditional pork chop, black-eyed peas and greens dinner, but did you know that round foods are also lucky? As are grapes. My boys (all three of them) have enthusiastically embraced this tradition of donuts on New Year’s and let me tell you, we have a blast spending the morning at Krispy Kreme watching the donut conveyor belt.
This year, I’ve decided to expand our traditions a bit with a few special New Year’s Eve touches. As always, my goal is to keep it simple. For me, the golden rule is less complicated = less pressure = more FUN! So what are these new traditions I’ll be test-driving? Well I’m so glad you asked! Here are my new favorite New Year’s tricks:
Fun Ways to Count Down to Midnight (or 8 p.m.)
Countdown Balloons. Noise and a bit of a mess seem to be most often associated with New Year’s – individual poppers, confetti, horns, etc. so I decided to some up with an easy way to make my own noise/mess maker. Enter the countdown balloon, complete with confetti! To make these confetti-filled countdown balloons, all you will need are balloons (preferably clear or light colors so you can see the colorful confetti), a permanent marker, a funnel and confetti. Simply insert the funnel in the mouth of the balloon and pour in about 1 tablespoon of confetti. Then blow up the balloon as normal, tie it, and use the permanent marker to write “2015” or “Happy New Year” on it. You can also write the time on it and make an event of popping balloons on the hour or half hour for the few hours leading up to midnight. Be forewarned that you will have some cleanup to do so have the vacuum handy.
Countdown Cookies. Who doesn’t like the sound of eating your way into the New Year? You can easily make Countdown Cookies (or Cupcakes for that matter) by writing the time or Roman numerals on top of each cookie. You can then arrange the cookies on a large platter in the shape of a clock and eat one on the hour leading up to midnight. This would also work for a large cookie cake decorated like a clock where you cut a pizza slice to share each hour leading up to midnight.
Ringing in the New Year
Countdown to Decorations. Don’t forget to literally ring in the New Year with free and festive decorations found around the house. What, you ask could be the free decorations I have around the house? Clocks, of course! Create a fun focal point on the mantle or as a centerpiece on the table with all of the clocks you have around the house. After all, nothing says countdown like a clock. Once you have your collection in place, set all of the clocks with alarms to go off at midnight (and make sure they are all set to the same time). The ringing of all of the bells simultaneously will get your crowd roaring! Plus, it will bring back fun memories of the opening scene of Back to the Future 🙂
DIY Noisemakers. You don’t have to spend a fortune on throwaway noisemakers this New Year’s, all you need are plastic containers and dry beans. Any plastic container with a lid will do, I’ve used recycled milk bottles that I washed, dried and decorated, then filled with dry beans. To decorate the bottles, I simply wrapped them with black cardstock (scraps from my paper stash) and added bright white “2015” stickers (also from my craft stash). These are the perfect noisemakers for everyone from 1 to 100, and they are free or close to it.
Don’t forget about the Grown-ups!
Toast in the New Year. If you are having a few grown-up friends over for New Year’s, help them continue the celebration on New Year’s Day by sending them home with a mini bottle of champagne. These adorable favors can be found at your local wine store or ordered online and can be quite affordable if you are willing to settle for sparkling wine, they couldn’t be any cuter. To dress up the bottles you can simply add a pretty ribbon or gift tag.
The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, low stress and FUN!
Have a happy and safe New Years!
Until next time,
aka Chick #1