Raising Kids

Creating New Year’s Eve Traditions Your Kids Will Cherish

New Year’s Eve offers a chance to look back and plan ahead, to have fun, make noise, stay up late, and celebrate with family and friends. Memories of New Year’s Eve with my family’s traditional chips, dip, and board games stay with me to this day! You can easily create a fun, exciting, memorable traditional New Year’s Eve with your family. Here are some simple ideas of New Year’s Eve traditions your kids will look eagerly forward to each year. Choose a few ideas (small or big!) and make it a point to do the same thing annually to solidify the New Year’s Eve traditions for your kids.

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How to start New Year's Eve traditions your kids will cherish

Serve a special food for New Year’s Eve

What food will your kids look forward to eating on New Year’s Eve each year? Whether simple or complex, your New Year’s Eve food tradition will bring back memories for your kids throughout their lifetime. Food memories engage all the senses, as Julie R. Thompson of HuffPost reports, and they involve a particular context, so they are often rich and powerful.

Many families choose a buffet of appetizers as their New Year’s Eve traditional meal. You could opt for potato skins, meatballs, chips and dip, or mini pizzas as your meal. For a different approach, try something whimsical such as fondue or a pancake bar.

Perhaps there’s a favorite dinner your kids enjoy that you serve each New Year’s Eve, or a restaurant that provides a traditional New Year’s Eve dine-in or take-out experience for your family.

If you want to opt for a significant New Year’s Eve food, try these dishes that bring good luck, or these traditional New Year’s Eve staples from around the world.

You could also find a delicious dessert recipe that you whip up every New Year’s Eve, and it will surely become “Mom’s New Year (insert baked good here)” that your kids will go on to make for their kids one day.

Create a signature drink for your New Year’s Eve tradition

You could certainly opt for the traditional New Year’s Eve drinks of champagne for the adults and sparkling cider or grape juice for the kids. But if you want to make your own New Year’s Eve traditions as a family, why not create your own signature drink? You could create the same drink you make year after year, or your New Year’s Eve tradition could include coming up with the drink together. Here are some New Year’s Eve drinks for kids gathered by Your Modern Family.

Look back at the last year

New Year’s Eve is a great time to reflect on what the previous year brought your family — the good and the bad. Offer your kids an opportunity to reflect and reminisce together. Write a letter about the last year, look at pictures and videos together, or have a family photoshoot.

You could put together a time capsule or have the kids fill out interview sheets.

As you begin the next year, think about implementing some family traditions that will illustrate your family reflection time. Capturing the little moments each day and documenting your family life throughout the year will provide a concrete way to look back together. This post details several methods of ongoing family reflection that you can prepare now for the coming year, including a memory jar, family journal, or photo book. Sitting and looking through your artifact of the year would be a fun way to spend New Year’s Eve with your kids!

Look forward to the New Year together

Of course, New Year’s Eve is not only about reflection but about looking ahead. You can spend time as a family discussing what you want to accomplish individually and as a family next year. Consider the following ways to look ahead together:

  • Write down goals
  • Create a family vision board
  • Make a bucket list for the new year
  • Define family values or rules
  • Write letters to your future selves to open next year

Choose a fun activity for a New Year’s Eve tradition

Your family can choose a specific activity to enjoy as a New Year’s Eve tradition each year, whether as a family unit or with guests. 

Some ideas include:

  • Hosting a party with an early start time for the kids
  • Visiting a local holiday light display
  • Watching a movie
  • Having a family dance party
  • Making crafts
  • Singing karaoke with your karaoke machine
  • Playing board games or party games
  • Taking an overnight trip


Get dressed up for New Year’s Eve

What fun ways can you and your kids get dressed up as your New Year’s Eve tradition? Maybe you could get in your pajamas early, wear your fanciest clothes, or get matching t-shirts. Your kids might love wearing festive necklaces or beads, hats, headbands, or glasses! Amazon sells plenty of New Year’s Eve props you could order for your night with the kids.

Count down and make noise!

While young kids are unlikely to stay up until midnight, that doesn’t mean you have to forego a New Year’s Eve countdown!

Netflix runs countdowns for kids you can stream right before bedtime, or you could watch countdowns that are happening around the world!

You could also:

Don’t forget to make noise when you shout, “Happy New Year!” Grab some New Year noisemakers from Amazon and pass them out in time for the big moment.

Whatever New Year’s Eve traditions you decide to implement, your kids will love them because you are doing them together. Each year, they will enjoy the anticipation and excitement of the New Year’s Eve traditions that are special and unique to your family. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Read Next:

Capturing Little Moments of Joy in a Tiring Season of Life

5 Communication Techniques to Connect with Your Child

6 Benefits of Quitting Your Job and Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom


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