In my 20s, New Year's Eve celebrations were the best night of the year. The streamers, the champagne, the joy in partygoer's faces. It was such a fun night! As I got older and then had children, going out on New Year's Eve seemed to get harder.
There was finding the elusive babysitter (because they were all booked in July), finding an event that was both fun and not terribly expensive and having to get all dressed up to go out. We've settled into a routine of staying in and celebrating New Year's Eve while watching the fireworks over the Space Needle on KOMO 4 with a glass of bubbly in hand while wearing my favorite sweats. I'll let you in on a little secret, it's more fun this way and this year I've decided to up my game with some fun, festive activities.
- Year in Review - Thirty Handmade Days has a sweet tradition for her family. They take time to sit down and fill out a "Year in Review" to try and remember the highlights from the past year while also looking forward to the new year. This is a memorable activity for all ages to help you reflect on what has happened and what is going to happen.
- Games - We are really into games in my house so I would be lax to forgo games during our at home New Year's Eve celebration. Luckily for me, I found some awesome New Year's Eve games. My favorite grown-up game has cards which provide ice breaker questions that lead you to remember all the cool stuff that 2015 had to offer. New Year's Eve Bingo is sure to be a hit with the kids along with some good old fashioned board games.
- Food - New Year's Day is the time to watch those calories but New Year's Eve is still a time for celebration. Eat grapes at midnight for good luck like the Spaniards. Skewer 12 grapes and serve in a champagne flute. Serve Bubbly New Year's Eve Parfaits so the kids can enjoy bubbles as well as the adults. Make a Popcorn Bar and fill it with fun goodies! Bake a Coconut Dream Cake decorated with sparkly goodness.
- Kiss Me Kit - Make these fun Kiss Me Kits for your sweetie. Fill them with mints, champagne, sparklers, lip balm, noise makers, masks and your favorite treat. Add in something unexpected to keep romance alive while celebrating New Year's from the comfort of your couch.
- Time Capsule - Time capsules can be so much fun. Gather your favorite memories and mementos from the past year. Place everything in a container and bury it in the backyard or hide in a special place. Next year, pull it out to reminisce while burying another capsule.
- Volunteer/Charity Giving Plans - I have a friend who spends New Year's Eve with her husband reflecting on where she wants to volunteer her time and money in the coming year. I love that she takes the time to research organizations and then decides where she wants and can give the most help. Create a calendar of ways you want to give back in 2016. You could plan something unique every month or find an organization to help either financially or with your time on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Resolutions - New Year's is a great time to make resolutions for the coming year and New Year's Eve is the perfect time to write them down. Make a Resolution Kit for your family by stuffing a paper sleeve with everything you need to fill out your lists from paper to pens. Write a letter to your future self and help your kids write letters. Next year, read your letters and see how your resolutions turned out.
- Countdown Activities - Keep the excitement alive through the long wait to midnight with Countdown Bags. Don't feel that you have to fill the bags with cheap trinkets. Stuff your countdown bags full of activity ideas or games. The possibilities of what to fill the bags with are quite endless.
- Pamper Yourself - Fill the bathtub with bubble bath and recreate your favorite spa experience. Pamper your loved one (which might just be yourself!) with a facial, foot scrub, massage and more. Add in some candles and soft music to really relax. Cuddle up in a freshly warmed robe for some real realization.
- Celebrate the World's New Year Traditions - People around the world have New Year's traditions that vary from writing down a wish, burning it and throwing it in a champagne glass in Russia to giving gifts of marzipan pigs in Austria and smashing plates on your neighbor's doorstep in Denmark. Adopt one of these customs for yourself and celebrate at home. If you decide to smash crockery on your neighbor's doorstep, you might want to also explain yourself first though.
- One Word for 2016 - For the past few years, I've been focusing on One Word to encompass my goals for the coming year. The basic premise is that you select just one word to focus on as your resolution for the coming year. This is a great way to have resolutions without a long list of unattainable goals. I like to spend New Year's Eve reflecting on my word and how I can incorporate it into my life.
- Surprise Balls - Pre-make surprise balls as a fun activity to keep everyone entertained. Throughout the night you can unwrap layers to keep the excitement going. If you'd like you can try to time the final unwrapping at the stroke of midnight. You can make surprise balls with inexpensive crepe paper and fill them with trinkets and toys. I've also used yarn to wrap the trinkets and form a ball. This option works great if your recipient is a knitter. Crepe paper is a better option for the younger crowd who just enjoys the surprise portion. Covering them in glitter confetti makes for a shiny addition to your New Year's Eve celebrations.