November 17, 2017

New Year’s Eve Traditions, Family Fun Ideas for New Year’s Eve (& Day)


Are you trying to start some New Year’s Eve Traditions or think of some family ideas for New Year’s Eve to make it extra special? (Or additional traditions for New Year’s Day found here.)

Here are ideas for fun of all ages.

Best Ever Game Night
One of our favorite things to do is to have a full fledged game night. Set up stations (card tables or blankets on the floor) around your house with various games at each location. Set the timer, and no matter where you are in the game, stop and rotate stations. (Yes, a station can even include a bedroom for creativity.)

Depending on how many people are playing,  create teams to make sure that everyone gets a chance to play each other. This keeps it quick paced and fun.

Make sure you have one of the stations include my Conversation Starter Questions? Yes, a good ole fashioned “Get to know you better” station. We have used them so much this holiday time with little ones,  high schoolers, college agers and adults. It’s been a blast. One reader even suggested to put one inside of some balloons and every hour, pop a balloon and have everyone answer a question. Love that idea!

If you want to make this even more memorable, set up this station around a back yard bonfire with blankets, hot cocoa and some S-Mores. Oh, how cozy!

For our family, I’d have to include some of our favorite appetizers and dips too. 🙂

Head to Waffle House or your favorite greasy spoon

In college, I was notorious for my all night jaunts at Waffle House. It brings back such fun memories, but sometimes it also reminds me of how “old” I am getting since I never am spontaneous like that any more. New Year’s Eve is the time to be fun loving and this is something kids young and old would enjoy. Head out late and order breakfast for dinner, or if you want to avoid the crazy drivers, do it the next night and still embrace the spontaneity.

Candlelight Ceremony
New Year’s Eve is the best time for reflecting on the past, as well as contemplating new beginnings. On New Year’s Eve, set the table with a special candle for each person at your celebration, then lower the lights. One by one, each person lights someone else’s candle and shares a special memory or major achievement that the other person has accomplished during the past year. They may recount anything from a hard earned victory, a long awaited promotion to something deeper. It is then the honored person’s opportunity to share their New Year’s resolutions with the rest of the group. This tradition is a wonderful way to share in each others trials and triumphs from the past year, and to lend support for future dreams and goals. 

Family Toast
On New Year’s Eve,  lift glasses to honor  friends and family and bless our past and future. Sit down with your family prior to December 31st to discuss what you would like to include in your family toast at midnight. Give a piece of paper to each person and direct them to write down three people or events that have made the past year meaningful. This can include a memorial for someone who has passed away, the blessing of a new family member or simply a few words in appreciation of good health and general well-being. Take your family blessing and save it each year as a keepsake to remember how important it is to have your faith, family and friends.

Decorate a New Year’s Tree
Many of us are not quite ready to take down all of our Christmas decorations, but are ready for a bit of a change.

Why not create a New Year’s Tree?

It’s time to start getting the decorations down anyhow, but  be spontaneous and have your children take all the ornaments off the Christmas tree, yet make sure they leave the lights on to sparkle all night long.

Run to the Dollar Store or shop your house for some curly ribbon, balloons, party horns  – anything your children thinks makes it New Year’s Eve worthy and simply redecorate the tree.  Just when your Christmas Tree has lost its charm, it’s a wonderfully fun and festive way to reuse it for one last celebration. (Since this idea is re-posted from last year, it was SO fun to get some emails from readers who did this and said the kids had a blast and their guests thought it was so creative.)

It can be as easy as streamers and balloons like this cute tree. (Added two years after I first wrote this post. haha)

New Years eve Tree

Last year I shared this idea and I was just thrilled when reader, Tracey, followed up with a picture and comment.

Not the greatest picture of the tree, but here it is.  My kids are 7, 14 and 18 and I have to say this was a huge hit.  My husband even helped out with the crazy topper.  At first the kids thought I was crazy, and really wondered what I was up to.  I spent a couple of dollars at the Dollar Tree and had the rest of the ribbon on hand.  We are enjoying the tree all over again.
Thanks again for the great idea!

For those of you who won’t quite make it till midnight, why not enjoy a New Year’s Day Tradition your family will love?


As I think longingly on the days when my husband and I declared, “Sleep is overrated, I realize that I am just not as young as I used to be, especially when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations with little ones.

With young children and the high cost of child care for New Year’s Eve, the traditional late night  festivities just won’t work for many of you.  Why not change things up a little bit and ring in the “Noon” Year?

Read more about Ringing in the New Year at my New Year’s Day Traditions post.

(This post was previously posted, but good traditions last forever. :))


  1. Jen, absolutely *hear* every idea. What a way to honor the past&welcome the new with grace&thoughtful prep. Love it! Am taking sparkling non-alcoholic to the folks at the care center tomorrow afternoon, “stuffed” cupcakes or those little round doughnuts you can stuff. Poppyseed is lucky for us Slovaks (poor Mom is from KY and I cant figure a way to do blackeyed peas as a snack) and some chocolates. Have to do something to keep us all from being sad&wishing for the good ol’ days before dementia &broken hips & …(sigh) but I love your ideas&the tree is extra special. Thank you! So glad I found you in October! -s-


    Terri Reply:

    Susan, I make black eyed pea mini tarts for New Years. You can get the mini pie shells in the freezer section at the grocery store. I follow the directions on the box. I put a small layer of chopped ham or minced cooked breakfast sausage, a layer of already made black eyed peas, and sprinkle a little cheese. Bake till the cheese is melted (since the shell and all the other ingredients are already cooked) . They are a big hit in our house because they are finger food. You can dress it up any way you’d like with bell peppers, onions, whatever. 🙂


  2. MeaCulpa again-I *hear*T* aka heart,luv sheesh- every idea. Just shoot me. -s-


  3. What lovely ideas! Happy New Year!



  4. Way back in December 1999, we traveled a few hours drive to spend the holiday at a cabin in the snow, with another family with similar aged kids. Now, here we are in I think the 12th year, if I’m counting correctly. The guy who was only about a year old the first year is now huge and has a 7 year old sister! Our oldest can’t join us this year, but we’re rejoicing because at age 19, he has a job and the opportunity to work today and tomorrow.

    It’s always been something we look forward to all year long, and by cooking/eating in, sharing the cost of the cabin, etc. we’ve been able to enjoy a fabulous vacation at a minimal cost. Well worth every cent and every minute!


  5. We decorated our Christmas tree for New Years last night. What a great idea. (Made taking the ornaments down not so much of a chore). It looks great and we all had fun doing it! Thanks Jen!


    Jen Reply:

    YAY! That is so much fun. I’d love for you to snap a picture, so I can see it. 🙂


    Tracey Reply:

    Just sent the picture!


  6. Great ideas Jen! I especially like the game nigh idea.

    I have some ideas for a kid friendly New Year’s here including a FREE printable Year in Review for kids to do:

    Happy New Year!


  7. I love the idea of a New Year’s tree, so I just had to include it in my roundup of 15 New Year Crafts & DIYs on my blog! 🙂 Happy New Year!


    Jen Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂


  8. The tree is a terrific idea. I think I will implement that this year at our annual party. But my curmudgeonly friends would look at me squiggle-eyed if I suggested board games (hee hee). We usually break out the guitars at some point and play our old favorites, plus the kids introduce us to new songs (with us old folks trying to follow along). That’s our way of ringing in the new year.


  9. This is a terrific idea I will do next year with my grandsons (who LOVE the Dollar Store Nana frequents)

    Your website is packed with awesome information. I especially love your Faith and Family posts. God bless you and all your loved ones in 2016 (and may He grant great grace with your teens!)


    Jen Reply:

    Thank you so much, Freda! Have a wonderful New Years 🙂


  10. This is my first time on your site. I really enjoyed all those ideas. This year I was in bed by 10 and did nothing at all. I have a 9 month old who hates sleeping, so I sleep when I can. It will be fun when he’s older and we can start some New Year traditions. I will keep these in mind until then 🙂


  11. Ifrah Iman says:

    I will never celebrate Christmas, but I will celebrate New Year. Why? I’m not Christian. I’m Muslim,…Alhamdulillah. Why I am CELEBRATING New Year? We all follow New Year Calendar everyday in this world. It is normal and natural to celebrate New Year with enthusiasm. Do not be wild, but be safe and mature. Happy New Year everyone in this world who follows the regular calendar.



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