I love to plan parties, go to parties, dream about parties, write about parties - you get the idea. It's somewhat ironic that when it comes to New Year's Eve, which is a major party occasion, I'm mostly indifferent. I blame it on Y2K.
I was a college freshman during the turn of this century, and this was the year celebrations stayed low-key. I stayed home like many others waiting to see if the world stopped turning or any computers blew up. It was all for naught, of course, but that experience stuck with me. Since then, I've mostly spent cozy nights in with family and friends on one of the biggest party nights of the year.
I'm now a mom with young kids who cherishes evenings spent at home. Being the party-lover that I am, I know I can easily create a special night just right for us.
Little Ones Can Experience Their Own Ball Drop
Since my girls are little, bedtime is usually by 8:00 p.m. While that may come later on this night, they won't get to witness the great ball drop for a few more years. So, we will make one, or more, of our own.
I'm thinking silver balloons, glitter and glue. This idea from How Does She is perfect - but rather than fill the balloons with little activities alone, I'll add in lots of glitter! That alone will make New Year's Eve the best night ever for my little ones, but there are other treats, too.
Make it Special Without Too Much Fuss
We will dress up in fancy clothes, make special NYE party hats, have a desserts-only dinner by candlelight, go outside and twirl a few sparklers, and then come in for hot chocolate, and a movie everyone enjoys.
I want to introduce the concept of resolutions, write them down and store them with the Christmas decorations to discover next year, too.
Then, it's bedtime for the five and under pair with promises that they'll wake up to a brand new year.
Don't Forget Your Own Celebration!
My husband and I will grab a couple of glasses, head to the deck out back and try to make it to midnight with a special champagne cocktail. I'll probably cheat and watch the ball drop in New York, which is 11 p.m. in my time zone, and fall asleep. He'll wake me up as the clock strikes midnight for a quick kiss.
Our New Year's Eve celebration is definitely low-key, probably boring to many, and it's perfect.
Making the Traditions Last a Lifetime
I recently read a magazine article that confirms my approach to the holiday. The writer said she didn't know New Year's Eve was any different than any other day until age 13 when her parents let her stay up and take part in their yearly tradition of steak, bubbly and movies.
After trying out the party scene, including New York's Times Square, she discovered her favorite memories were those at home with Mom and Dad, and she tries to make it back on December 31.
I don't want to deny my girls the fun of celebrating New Year's Eve. How else will I instill in them the importance of going on an organizing frenzy in the new year if they know nothing about sending out the old one?
I have no problem, however, with our annual New Year's Eve party of four being an event they always want to attend, no invitation required.
I'll try my best to make it one they look forward to every year.