How to Throw an Easy Family-Friendly New Year's Eve Celebration

New Year's Eve parties don't have to be big productions for kids to love them

By Sandy Wallace, publisher of Macaroni Kid Lynchburg, Va. December 20, 2019

More than any other year, families with younger kids may prefer to stay home on New Year's Eve, even if the adults typically  go out to a club or nightspot to ring in the New Year.

Fortunately, all you really need to celebrate with kids is party hats, confetti, and noisemakers. Add some kid-friendly snacks? It's the perfect family New Year's Eve celebration!

And guess what? You don't even have to stay up until midnight! If you have younger kids and know they won't last, celebrate the New Year a few hours early or even host a "Noon Year's Eve" bash. 

Want to throw a family-friendly New Year's Eve bash? Here's how to make it great:

Fun food and drink!

No party is complete without great snacks! Looking for ideas? Some kid-friendly (and easy!) snacks are pigs in blankets (simply hot dogs rolled up in biscuit dough), pizza bagels (kids can add their own toppings), and a fruit salad.

Don't forget the dessert! Make or buy cupcakes, add sprinkles, and write "2021" on top of each with frosting. Or make a round cake and decorate it with an outline of a clock showing the hands of the clock at midnight.

The adults might go for champagne at midnight, but what about the kids? Sparkling cider is a special treat! Keep some regular apple juice on hand just in case some kids don't like the carbonation.


Set up a craft table for kids earlier in the evening to create their own 2021 signs with paint, markers, or crayons. You can hang them on the wall for decorations as they finish. 

Make super easy confetti using a paper shredder and colored construction or scrap paper. Give each of the kids a baggie full of confetti so that they will be ready to toss when the clock hits the appointed hour. 

With a little creativity, you can make your own New Year's Eve ball! Use a plastic play ball or beach ball and simply write 2021 on it with brightly colored markers. As you count down to midnight, pass the ball around the room without letting it touch the ground.

Play games!

Play games everyone -- no matter their age -- will enjoy. Twister, Charades, or Pictionary are always great choices. Let the kids team up against the adults for some extra laughs.  

Another simple game idea? Kids and adults can write down their wishes and resolutions for 2021 and add them to a jar when they get to the party. Later in the evening, you can pick some at random for people to guess who wrote what. Give prizes for the funniest, most unique, or most wishful.

Ring in the New Year early

Are the kids too young to stay up until midnight?  Set the clocks ahead by a few hours.  For example, if you want the kids in bed by 9 pm, set the clocks ahead by 3 hours. When the clock strikes "midnight", everyone can celebrate and still get to bed at a decent hour.

Remember, no matter how elaborate or low key your New Year's celebrations, the most important thing is that you are with people you love. Happy New Year!

Sandy Wallace is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Lynchburg, Va.


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