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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

A Better New Year’s Bash

Dec 21, 2014 12:00AM

The typical New Year’s Eve party, often consisting of late-night dancing and too much champagne, is not exactly a kid affair. Nor is sitting in front of the television all night just to watch the ball drop in Times Square. So, this year, why not make your home into a family party zone, and then everyone can have fun and enjoy the transition to a brand new year.

Change the clocks. If midnight is too late for your little one, avoid a meltdown with some DIY time travel. Set the clock to 11 p.m. whenever you like, then party down until “midnight.” Tuck in the tots with a new bedtime story, and celebrate the real midnight with the grownups and older children.  

Disguise yourself. Have a masquerade ball, and invite everyone to dress up. Put on a Venetian-style mask, or wear a crazy costume. If everyone is dressed up, the night will feel more special. Amp up the elegance by learning a few ballroom dance moves, and then teach them to your kids. The waltz is the easiest.  

Glue it down. Make a poster to commemorate all the important moments of the past year. Glue photos, flyers from special events, and magazine cutouts to an 18”x24” piece of poster board or foam core. Using colored pencils or markers, draw pictures or write reminders of memorable events, personal messages, and hopes for the future around the photos. If relatives are coming by, ask them to bring something to contribute to your poster. Hang it in a common space until you make a new one next year.  

Splish-splash. Run a special bath with bubbles or bombs that color the water and add sparkles. Fill the tub with balloons, and let your child wear a funny hat and glasses. Bring in plastic noisemakers, and play music in the bathroom to make the atmosphere even more festive.  

Let it glow. Remember black lights? Easily found in big-box stores or online, these long-wave ultraviolet lamps make bright colors glow. With fluorescent or glow-in-the-dark paint, paint pasta and use it for making jewelry or pictures. Decorate the kids with bright or white face paint, and make sure they are wearing something white. It’s so much fun to realize your white t-shirt can glow bright purple. Tonic water (with quinine) makes things glow under a black light, too, so incorporate the mixer into your beverages, gelatin desserts, or water balloons.

Share. In a calmer moment or perhaps over dinner, tell each member of your family why you are proud of them, and what you love about them. Ask everyone to share one or two New Year’s resolutions with the rest of the family. Then discuss how you can work together over the next year to help each other succeed.  

Sing and dance. With a little extra technology, such as a karaoke application (, or the current interactive dance app on your home gaming console, you can turn your living room into a nightclub. Or just make a playlist of high-energy club music that the whole family can dance to.  

Light up the silver screen. Maybe you’d prefer a calmer evening of popcorn and a good cuddle on the couch. Figure out in advance how to display a slideshow of your digital photos and videos on the television, and remember the past year with the family. Or simply rent a holiday-themed movie.

The best part about celebrating New Year’s Eve at home? You’ll always have someone to kiss!    

Gudrun Cram-Drach is freelance writer and mom of twin toddlers. She can’t wait to party down with her kids on New Year’s Eve.