Family-friendly New Year’s Eve parties


McClatchy News Service

At home with the kids this New Year’s? While it may not seem like the most family friendly of holidays, there are many ways to keep the night exciting while still staying G rated.

“New Year’s is really about bonding,” said Linda Kaye, a children’s party planner for high-profile New Yorkers. “It’s a time for looking back on the year — and you should have some fun with it.”

That means getting a little creative.


“Kids love seeing their parents dress up when they go to a big New Year’s celebration, so you can let them dress up for their own home-based fancy party,” said Sue Kirchner, mother of two who blogs at chocolatecakemoments.com.

No need to buy new expensive outfits. You can pull out an outfit the child would use for some other occasion or head to a resale shop for some snazzy duds at a fraction of the cost.

You can even roll out a little red carpet for their grand entrance, Kaye suggests.


Not planning to keep the kids up until midnight? You could use the old trick of setting the clocks back a few hours, or you could celebrate a New Year’s time zone that’s a bit more accommodating. You can even make it an educational opportunity by learning about the culture of the country you celebrate.

“Every culture has its unique traditions for the night,” Kirchner said. “Use the time to talk about them and practice a few, such as Spain’s ritual of eating 12 grapes at midnight.”


The last thing busy parents need is a bunch of messy decor to clean up, so keep it simple. Still have your Christmas tree up? Kirchner likes the idea of decking it out for New Year’s, especially since the holiday usually occurs right before it’s time to take it down.

Celebratory fireworks may be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean your little party guests can’t make some noise. A safe, inexpensive — and quiet — alternative: bubble wrap, which you can pick up at any office supply store. “Put it on the floor for kids to jump on, and you have your own fireworks,” Kaye said.

It’s fun for them, and better yet, easy for you to pick up in the morning.


Sparkling apple cider makes an excellent champagne alternative. “You can even serve it in a glass with a raspberry to make it look like a real cocktail,” Kaye said.

And get food into the New Year’s action with a clock made out of cake. You can bake or buy a plain white cake from the store, and then create clock hands out of marzipan, Kaye said.


• Time capsule: New Year’s is a holiday that celebrates the past as much as the future. What better way to reflect than a handcrafted time capsule reviewing 2012’s top trends? Have each child create his or her own, and then have them take turns presenting it.

“You can set it as a tradition, so each year you go back to the capsules and hear things like ‘I can’t believe we used a camera that size!’” Kaye said.

• Game night: Take advantage of all those new games the children got as gifts during the holidays. “We’ve hosted a New Year’s game night where you set up a different game in each room and rotate every hour,” said Kirchner, adding that you can buy some candy for the kids to earn as prizes.

• Resolutions: And of course, you can always make a game out of the night’s most popular activity: New Year’s resolutions. “Get the whole family involved by having everyone write down their resolution on an index card,” Kaye said. “Then put them face down on the floor and have people pick and guess who wrote it.”

After a busy holiday season, the key to a successful New Year’s celebration is keeping it easy on yourself. “When you have your own kids, you’re tired and may not want to stay up that late,” Kirchner said. “But you can still get into the celebration.”

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.


    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

  • Southern Cross Stargazer for April 20-26

    By nightfall Spica follows fiery Mars, in Virgo, higher in the east. Telescopes reveal the white ice cap shrinking in the Martian summer and subtle dark details on the iron-rich red Martian desert. Binoculars enhance the planet’s bright color. Mars sets in the west about dawn and will remain bright for a few weeks.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category