If you’re planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve at home with your kids, it doesn’t have to mean the evening is a write-off.
In fact, parents can turn the night into a scene of two parts: the one where you celebrate with your kids doing some wholesome activities, and the one post-bedtime where you can either party on, or relax, depending on how tiring the first instalment was.
If you’re stuck for inspiration when it comes to how to ring in the New Year with little ones, never fear. Here are some relatively simple ideas to get you started.
1. Make some New Year’s treats
Christmas might be over but that doesn’t have to mean the food-fest is too. If your kids are avid bakers, why not whip up some of their favourite fairy cakes (decorated with plenty of sparkles, it is New Year’s Eve after all) or if baking isn’t really your thing, try this no-bake Millionaire’s cheesecake from BBC Good Food. It takes 35 mins to prep, an hour to chill and roughly five minutes to eat (once the kids are in bed).
2. Get dressed up
Just because you’re not going anywhere, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up in your finest gear for a day – or late afternoon – of celebrating. Get out your child’s favourite sparkly top, posh shirt or fancy dress costume. And don’t forget to take lots of photos to remember the occasion.
3. Create a family inspiration board
What does your family want to achieve in 2023? Whether it’s a nice holiday together (money-permitting), trying a new hobby or using devices less, now’s your chance to really think about it as a unit and write it all down.
Renae Gonzalez, of Macaroni Kid, suggests it might be useful for everyone to make a list of ideas and then, after sharing your ideas with each other, narrowing them down so you’ve got a handful to focus on.
Get a big piece of paper and card and write down your goals, using pictures from magazines and photos to illustrate what you’re all hoping to achieve. Don’t forget to use plenty of colour – and glitter is always a plus. Hang it somewhere so the whole family can see it and you can manifest your hopes for 2023 as a team.
4. Make a wish tree
If your real Christmas tree is looking a little worse for wear, cut off some of the branches (or forage some branches from your garden or local park) and create a New Year’s Eve ‘wish tree’.
In a previous HuffPost UK blog, Nisbah Hussain suggested you can get your kids to decorate the branches with glitter and sparkly bits. Next, ask your kids to write down the wishes they have for 2023 on bits of card which you can then hang from the tree with leftover ribbon from Christmas presents – or bits of string.
Their wishes could be anything: from serious ones like learning to write their name, or read a certain book, to funny ones like wearing odd socks or making their own joke book.
5. Build a time capsule
Time capsules are nothing new, but they’re still all kinds of fun. The premise is simple: you create a snapshot of your life now for future generations – or for your kids to open when they’re a bit older.
To make one, fill a tin with photos and items from everyday life: you could choose newspaper or magazine clippings, wrappers from your favourite snacks, or you could ask your children to write down what a typical day in their life looks like or to write a letter to their future selves.
Pop the items in sandwich bags before putting them in the tin to help keep them from perishing over time. Once you’ve filled your tin, write the date you plan to open it on the side and then either store it in your attic or bury it in the garden (that’s providing you don’t plan on moving anytime soon!).
6. Watch (or paint) the fireworks
Fireworks are a big part of New Year’s Eve and for those living in towns and cities, it’s likely your neighbours will be setting them off way before midnight. If that’s the case – and your children aren’t scared of them – you can watch them from your window or garden.
If there aren’t any fireworks being let off locally (lucky you, some peace and quiet!) then you could ask your children to paint or draw some fireworks. Or, if you’re artistic, why not try firework face paint with this simple tutorial?
7. Reflect on all you’re thankful for
We don’t often get chance to reflect on all the things that make our lives better. If you have 10 minutes to spare, sit your kids down and ask them to talk about all the things that happened in 2022 that they’re thankful for – it could be certain teachers or family members, friends doing kind things, or even reflecting on the lovely gifts they received for birthdays or celebrations like Christmas.
To give yourself a few extra minutes of peace, ask your kids to write thank you notes to the people who made a difference to their lives in 2022 – or, if they’ve received gifts because of a religious holiday, you could ask them to write thank you notes to the people who sent them.
8. Try your hand at NYE crafts
Whether it’s fashioning your own New Year’s glasses and headbands or some firework paper roll blowers using old toilet roll holders, the internet is jam-packed with tutorials for themed arts and crafts that you can give a whirl on New Year’s Eve.
9. Do an early countdown
If bedtime is approaching but the kids want to ring in the New Year like the adults, why not set off your own countdown a few hours earlier? Perhaps in the run up to 7 or 8pm.
If you can access YouTube on your TV, get a New Year’s Eve countdown video up to help you mark the occasion. If your kids are older, you can help them set off party poppers, while younger children might want to try a safer alternative. Check out this handy tutorial from Ladyland for toddler-friendly party poppers (just make sure they don’t try and eat the confetti!).