Celebrating is Kid Stuff
Follow these steps to make New Year’s Eve a perfect split of kid-parent partying.
Just as "It must be 5 o'clock somewhere" enables us to make a cocktail at any time of the day, "It must be New Year's Eve somewhere" gives parents of young children a chance to set the schedule for ringing in 2011.
Why wait for the ball to drop at midnight in Times Square when it most likely means everything else will drop? Years ago, we wondered, why not celebrate with any other city east of us at a more reasonable hour? Then we can send the kids to bed and have our own celebration.
We choose France because their midnight is our 6 p.m. How civil! We do all the same countdowns, horn blowing and clinking of glasses (our champagne to our kids' sparkling cider) as everyone else, just six hours earlier than the rest of our time zone. Heck, it works and no one wakes up with a hangover!
The New Year's Eve of time past involved "party-like-its-1999" drinking, followed by sleeping in much of the first day of the new year. Well, no more, folks. Now we have lovely, built-in alarm clocks that will run into our room at the crack of dawn to welcome in the new year. Oh, joy.
I asked around to find out what other friends do. Aside from getting a sitter and leaving the kids in the dust, here are what some of my stay-at-home friends recommend:
- If your kids are young enough, move the clocks ahead two hours. As the clock is about to strike midnight (really 10 p.m.), let them go crazy. Then send them to bed, and sit down to a nice grown-up dinner and real-time New Year's Celebration.
- Camp out in the family room. Have a movie marathon or watcha prerecorded ball drop with the whole family in their sleeping bags. Let the kids pop the corn while you pop the champagne.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. You can hide items that best represent the year, like a soccer trophy and backpack (just don't lose them!).
- A Wii sports playoff: Who will win the jousting competition this year?
- Get a disco ball and strobe light, all the bells and whistles, and have a dance party. This is one night where you can't be loud enough!
- Load up on crafts. Make New Year's crowns and noisemakers galore! Here are some online tips.
- Another fun craft is to make calendars for the new year. Check out these great (and incredibly inexpensive) calendars.
- Stargaze and learn some astronomy.
- Have a dress-up party. Get decked out in your finest, but you can keep your slippers on and ditch the stilettos.
- Discuss New Year's resolutions. Set goals for the new year, no matter how big or small. Study architecture and build the world's tallest building or just build that Lego tower still in the box.
- Have a dinner party with other families. Eat early and let the kids go nuts until they drop!
- Ditch the New Year's Eve celebration and bring in the New Year with a New Year's day brunch. Forget the countdown; start by celebrating and counting up.
Whatever you do, we hope you have a very happy New Year!