I’m excited to be guest posting at The Humbled Homemaker today, where I am talking about making our New Year’s Eve celebrations meaningful, including some of my favorite New Year’s Eve activities. Head on over.  But wait!  First read on to learn what we do to keep everyone awake and involved until the wee hours of the morn.

New Year's Eve Celebrations

Normally, having to stay awake past 10 at night (okay, 8:30) is barely on the legal side of torture for me.  Nevertheless, for the sake of my celebration-lovin’ children, I have become a New Year’s Eve party animal.  Okay, not quite, but we have instilled a number of traditions that have made our New Year’s Eve celebrations memorable and fun.

Because our family consists of a mixture of night owls as well as morning people, with ages ranging from very young to…slightly less young, we need a variety of activities to keep everyone alert (or at least conscious) and interested throughout the evening.  Dinner and a movie would have half of us sound asleep by midnight three time zones east of us.

New Year's Eve 2008 002

100_8030To make the evening fun, memorable, and doable, and to slap Mama awake every 20-30 minutes, we schedule different treats, games, or activities for various times throughout the night.  A piece of paper or scroll describing each activity is contained in either a brown paper bag or a manila envelope (any container will do). The time at which the bag or envelope should be opened is represented on each container by a paper clock or a hand-written time.

When the time comes, the bag is opened and the activity is performed.

Here are some of our keep-your-eyes-open activities:

  • 100_8576Make your own pizza. (Ingredients are prepped ahead of time; this doubles as dinner, so less work for you-know-who.  Taco bars work well, too.)
  • Record heights on the wall.
  • Cookie decorating. (Again, everything is prepped ahead, or it can be something as simple as dipping Oreos in chocolate.  We’re making these melted snowman cookies.)
  • Fondue fun (This can also double as dinner.)
  • Simple and inexpensive gifts that double as activities, such as balloon racers, punch ball balloons, or ramp walkers. Race or bop for half an hour.
  • 100_8009Play games. (I resurrect games from my childhood such as Charades or new-to-us classic ideas from a book we love called Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, and Ha Ha HaFamily Fun (magazine or site) is another great resource for games.  Noisy group from the game closet, such as Bop-It, Loopz, or Freeze Up, keep the ol’ eyes open.)
  • Make a favorite snack or treat.  (We make my grandfather’s famous, world-class, tastes-like-home, calories-don’t-count-on-old-family-recipes chocolate malts.)
  • Make noise makers or open some store-bought bargains. (Popcorn and rice in toilet paper tubes with the ends covered work great.  We once sent everyone on a hunt to find something loud to shake or pound on – little brother’s don’t count as noise makers.)
  • New Year's Eve Party HatMake your own party hats. (You could make nice hats out of craft supplies, or do what we do – set a timer and have everyone fabricate a hat out of whatever they can fine around the house…and then model them in a fashion show. Paris designers will have nothing on you!)
  • Record memories using a video camera or memory pages.  (Print our memory pages out here.)
  • Create scrapbook pages from the previous year.  (Nothing fancy!)
  • Watch the ball drop in New York or the fireworks in Las Vegas…or both. Go online if you don’t have a television. Or…if you live out in the middle of the desert in Zanyville, you could watch the distant neighbors launch bottle rockets at each other – it’s hard to fall asleep while watching people try to douse a tumbleweed fire. (If you have very young children, consider ending their portion of the celebration when it is New Year’s day in some other time zone. We westerners can send kiddos to bed when it hits midnight in New York…although we don’t.)
  • Ring in the new year with hugs, noise, and a prayer.

Some of my favorite activities are those with the most meaning or which serve to record memories from the previous year.  I elaborate on those over at The Humbled Homemaker today.   Hop over there to read about our memory pages, how we focus on improving character in the new year, our family time capsule, and more.

From our home to yours, happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Celebrations

(This picture is from New Year’s Eve 2010, so, yes, we are short one little party animal.)

How do you keep everyone awake during your family’s New Year’s Eve celebrations?

Linked up to Weekend Whatever at Your Thriving Family and Homemaking Link-up at Raising Homemaker.

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