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How To Celebrate New Years Eve With Kids

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Irina Ozhigova

With the kick-off to 2024 right around the corner, we’re thinking of thoughtful ways to say goodbye to the year that was and welcome the new year with a dose of hope. With late-night babysitters hard to find on December 31st, chances are, you might be spending New Year’s Eve 2023 and New Year’s Day 2024 at home with your kiddos—and perhaps a small group of other loved ones. To make the occasion one you and your children will remember—instead of just another day spent in the house—we’ve got some festive ideas on how to celebrate New Years Eve with kids below.

How to celebrate New Years Eve with kids:

Dress Up. Face it, your sweats have gotten a lot of game time lately. On New Year’s Eve, give them a break and try dusting off a favorite festive dress or jumpsuit instead. Ask the whole family to do the same! If you want to go the traditional NYE route, try something with a little shine, feathers, sequins (we love these affordable sparkly dresses for littles), or mini-tuxedos, suits, and lush velvet options.

Accessorize Head-to-Toe. No need to stop at a NYE outfit upgrade! If you’ve got a little one who loves playing dress-up and “salon,” go to town with your accessories, too. Pull out all of your favorite add-ons (sparkly tiaras, velvet bows, capes, wigs, you name it!), paint your nails, do something fun with your hair, and maybe even try out one of those trendy rhinestone or neon eyeliner tutorials.

DIY Your Party Supplies. Try getting resourceful and creative (and more eco!) when it comes to your NYE party supplies. There are plenty of 2024-themed printables online that you can spruce up with paint and glitter, and we love the idea of using all of your leftover balloons, horns, confetti, sparklers, etc. from past birthday or holiday parties, even if they are in a variety of hodgepodge hues. If you’re really ambitious, check out this DIY Balloon Drop idea, which is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. (While you’re at it, read up on our tips for throwing a more Earth-friendly party).

Festive Food & Bubbly Drinks. Keep it simple, but festive! Think about ordering in from your favorite local spot, make a favorite appetizer or two, and don’t forget dessert! Chocolate anything will often do. As for beverages, while the adults indulge in bubbly, let your kiddos feel fancy by giving them a flute filled with sparkling apple cider or their favorite flavored fizzy water.

Have A Game Night. Mark the last night of 2023 with a family game night, which could include classic interactive games like charades, Pictionary, Twister, or CatchPhrase, new favorites like the hilarious Pencil Nose, creating your own family-friendly “Minute To Win It” obstacles, or plugging in your karaoke mic and belting out your favorite tunes! You can also create a fun scavenger hunt for the kids to find small treasures around your home.

Reflect & Set Goals. 2023 was a big one in so many ways. Take some time to reflect individually and as a family on how you experienced 2023 (the highs and lows) and the lessons you are taking with you into the year ahead. Be sure to write down the goals, hopes, intentions, or thoughts you have for yourself and your family for 2024. (Here are some prompts to get you started). If you have lost a loved one this year, think about incorporating their memory into your night.

Rally Your Family & Friends. If the pandemic-era has taught us anything, it’s that friends and family are of the utmost importance. If you won’t be able to ring in the New Year with all of your loved ones IRL (nor in the same timezone), you can schedule Zoom calls and FaceTimes to mark the occasion together and share your hopes for 2024.

Countdown Early. If you have little ones whom you need to keep on a schedule, Netflix created a countdown (just type “countdowns” in the search area) for this very reason. You can turn it on right before bed time or any time you gauge the kids are getting tired and ready for bed. Meanwhile, some parents opt to have a “Noon Year’s Party” with the littles, rather than trying to make it a late night.

Kiss At Midnight. Whether it’s an actual smooch or handing your child a Hershey’s Kiss surprise, seal the New Year with this sweet tradition and start 2024 off with lots of love.

For more New Year-themed things to do, check out these great reflection questions for the year ahead and the best guided journals for 2024.

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