Sometimes New Year’s Eve is all about dressing to the nines, carrying an itty-bitty purse, and dancing the night away with other grown-ups. Other times, it’s all about quality family fun and early bedtimes. Both are great–but since we’re kinda partial to ringing in 2017 with our kiddos, here are a few creative ideas for a sweet celebration with your fam. Happy new year!

photo: Brigitte Tohm via pexels

Celebrate in another time zone. Throwing a New Year’s Eve party with kids doesn’t mean you have to miss bedtimes or stay up super late. Throw your regular bash, but have an early countdown by following another time zone! Grab the noise makers and confetti, countdown from 10 as loudly as you can, cheer, sing– you name it. You can even head outside with sparklers for more fun. And then you can wrap everything up early, get the kids to bed and collapse onto the couch, without the kids ever feeling left out. Parenting win!

Get outta town. If you live in the city, escape the bright lights and head out of town to somewhere a bit quieter and more laid back for ringing in the New Year. While we love heading to the quiet of the woods or a cottage, you don’t need to travel far or stay away long. Even a hotel in the suburbs that has a great indoor pool and a cool restaurant nearby will work! Come back into the city when the chaos of New Year’s celebrations has died down and get your year started!

newyearseve_kevinmuncie_newyearseve_redtricyclephoto: Kevin Muncie via flickr

Head to the city. On the other hand, if you live outside of the city, go on a family adventure and head into the madness to ring in the New Year! Book a hotel room near the coolest, and most kid-friendly celebration, pack lots of snacks for staying up way past dinner time, and have a blast staying up late and celebrating with a bunch of strangers! Trust us–your kids will never forget it.

Get all decked out. Planning a pretty regular night in for New Year’s Eve? Bump it up a notch by getting decked out in your finest! Pull out the flower girl dresses that your little ladies wore in your cousin’s wedding last summer. Let your little guys bust out the superhero Halloween costumes. Throw on that LBD that you never wear anymore and match it with your coziest slippers and a bow tie for your handsome date. The best part–you can take it all off whenever you want! But before you do, be sure to stage a little photo shoot. Snap pictures of everyone all dressed up and having fun for a great memory of your last night of the year.


photo: Personal Creations via flickr

Or get super comfy! If comfort is more your jam, put on your pajamas or your most comfiest of clothes, order in a yummy dinner and get settled in for a good, relaxing night. Get a bunch of board games going or pop some popcorn and have a movie marathon. Whatever your plan, ringing in the New Year in a relaxing, comfy, laid back way with the people you love the most is always a great option.

Create your own tradition. You may have had New Year’s Eve traditions pre-kids and there’s no reason why you can’t have a few with your kids now. Choose an activity that is special and unique to your family and that can easily be adapted from year to year, as your kids grow older. Make plans with another family to celebrate together. Plan dinner out at a restaurant that you don’t often go to. Just because there is going to be a huge celebration when the clock strikes midnight, doesn’t mean that your New Year’s Eve tradition needs to revolve around that–make it your own and make it fun for your family!

fotologic-via-flickrphoto: fotologic via flickr

The family that cooks together… Got foodies in your family? Plan your own little cooking show and make a big meal together! You can never have too many sous-chefs, so try out brand-new recipes or craft up a collection of everyone’s favorite dishes. You can even give the night a theme, like foods from around the world, or test out a fancy four-course meal for the first time. Then finish it all off by staying at the table long after the meal is done for games, good conversation, and a lot of laughter.

It’s always a good time to dance. What’s a party without a little dancing? Plan out a playlist, put on some tunes and have a family dance party together (The kids will never tire of this one, trust us!). Take it up a notch by inviting friends over and challenging them to a friendly little ‘dance-off’ competition. Pair it with our favorite appetizers, drinks, and bam! You’ve got yourself a fun, family-friendly night planned.

anjanettew-via-flickrphoto: anjanettew via flickr

Wrap up 2016 with a bow. The last moments of 2016 are coming to a close. Take time with your kids to look back on all of the things you did together as a family before 2017 arrives. As you talk about your memories, write them down on scraps of paper, or have your little ones draw pictures. Then, tuck them all away in a pretty box, along with some of your favorite 2016 pictures–a mini time capsule, if you will. Your kids will love pulling it out at the end of next year! Find out how to make your very own time capsule here.

Does your family have special New Year’s Eve traditions or plans? Share in a comment below!

— Heather Dixon & Katie Kavulla