My husband and I have never really been fans of New Year’s Eve.
We’re the furthest thing from night owls, so staying up late is not easy–or that much fun for us.
New Year’s means that the long-awaited holidays are over (boo) and that family has come and gone (wah) and that there’s a lot of cleaning, reorganizing, and refocusing ahead (ack).
With kiddos in the picture, New Year’s has always been hard to explain–since little ones barely understand the year’s cycle, the ball dropping, or the passing of time. And the thought of keeping our kids up until midnight is something that I just cannot even begin to entertain.
So instead of focusing on midnight. Or going out. Or getting fancied-up and crazy, we’ve made New Year’s a fairly (okay, totally) tame, low-key family-oriented event. And we focus on new beginnings, fresh starts, and the exciting adventure ahead instead of mourning the loss of the holidays and the year past.
Here’s the skinny:
- Easy, Memorable New Year Family Traditions: For us, it’s about setting traditions–easy, affordable, and memorable traditions–ones that we are excited to keep and ones we look forward to seeing each year. Traditions that are easily adaptable and traditions that are flexible enough to adjust to our little family’s needs.
- New Year’s Shakers: We make these with supplies we have on hand–beads, ribbon, and some tiny containers we save from the recycle bin. Or we use paper rolls with the ends stapled. Or we use leftover noisemakers from the year’s birthday parties. Either way, we have something that we can make some noise with–so that we can hoot and holler and welcome in the New Year, even if it’s only 9 o’clock.
- New Year’s Family Interview: We keep them in a blue binder, and every year we use the same basic template. (The New Year’s Family Interview can be downloaded here if you want to get in on the fun!). With a few basic questions, it doesn’t take long, but we all love looking back on how our answers have changed over the year, and I particularly love seeing how their handwriting changes.
- Fondue & Fancy Drinks: We bust out the ole fondue pots and dipping sauces and meat, shrimp, veggies, and cheese, along with some sternos and toasting glasses, and we eat fondue and drink sparkling cider or Shirley Temples. It’s fancy. Usually we’re all in sweats, so it’s all good. And the kids (and we!) love it.
I (gulp) forgot the Scratch-Off’s on Christmas. So they’re going to be for New Year’s.
(And huge thanks to Karen for putting my tickets on fancy paper after I left–how awesome is she??!)
- New Year’s Scratch-Off Tickets: I totally and completely forgot to add the Scratch-off’s we spent so much time making to the kids’ gift piles this year, but I’m not worried. Instead, I’m planning to wrap them up and present them to Maddy, Owen, and Cora after our New Year’s Eve dinner. I’m betting that they’ll be able to focus on them that much more–and I think it’ll be a super addition to our New Year’s traditions!
- New Year’s Day dinner: Pork and sauerkraut. There hasn’t been a year that we didn’t make the ole Pennsylvania Dutch good luck meal of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. And I’ll make it every single year. Because what if I don’t? Who wants to test their luck that way? Certainly not I. Everyone knows that pigs move forward to forage for their food, unlike those lazy cows (who stand still) or the chicken (who moves backwards), and you better believe we’re all about moving forward in the new year.
And that’s it for us–any New Year’s traditions that your family celebrates? I’d love to hear them!
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2012 to everyone!