How to Fake New Year's Eve for Your Kids

girl confetti
I don't know about you, but I love New Year's Eve: the sparkly clothes, the anticipation, the resolutions, the countdown, the dancing, the bubbly, the kisses, the sense of a brand-new beginning! Since we've become parents, my husband and I have relinquished some of our old New Year's Eve traditions: We no longer go out party-hopping until the wee hours. Instead, we've started a new tradition with a few other families with kids around the same age as ours: We celebrate New Year's Eve twice – once at 7 or 8 p.m. with our kids, and once at midnight, long after the kids have been tucked into bed.


Being unwilling either to keep our kids up past midnight (the sleep deprivation made the days afterward more brutal than a severe champagne hangover) or to deny them the joy of marking the transition from one year to the next, we came up with a great solution: We fake New Year's Eve for our kids.

They're now old enough to be onto us, but not yet old enough to pressure us to stay up for the real thing. It's a blast. Here's what we do (so you can do it, too):

1. Decorate: Nothing says "festive!" for kids like homemade decorations. On the day of New Year's Eve, we enlist our kids in making decorations for our party using markers and construction paper, glitter and glue. They can stencil "Happy New Year," draw pictures of favorite memories from the year that's ending, or write down wishes and resolutions for the one that's about to begin. We decorate the house with their creations using wall-friendly painter's tape. You could also have kids make festive paper chains with wishes for the New Year written into each loop and string them around the house  -- or get creative with your own ideas.

2. Dress up! Break out their party clothes – the ones they only wear on "special occasions." Or break into the Halloween costumes, dress-up box, or the grownups' closets and get all gussied up! Feather boas, rhinestone necklaces, satin scarves: Why not pile it all on? It's not a real New Year's party unless you sparkle and shine!

3. Set the mood:
Turn the lights down low and put on some music. Maybe light a few candles for a warm, soft glow – keeping them safely away from your kids, of course.

4. Start dancing: Put on something with a beat that gets you moving (vintage disco, old R&B, current hits!) and cut the rug with your throng. Break out the limbo stick. Play some freeze dance. Get crazy!

kid toasting new year

5. Don't forget the bubbly: Just because kids are too young to drink champagne doesn't mean they can't enjoy festive fizzy drinks. Pop open a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider and let the kids drink from champagne flutes (disposable, if you'd rather not worry about breakage).

6. Count down to the "New Year": Pick an hour – we usually do 7 or 8 p.m. because we like the feeling of celebrating at night, when it's dark, but any hour will do – and count down the minute preceding. Then hooray! Jump around, toot party horns, bang pots, make noise!

7. Soak in the kisses! Hug and kiss your little ones and wish them a happy year ahead. Try not to get too misty when you think about all the New Year has in store for them – and how much they'll grow before you do this all again next year.

How do you celebrate the New Year with your family?


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