When you are young and single, New Year’s Eve is the event. The party. You can spend days deciding what to wear. You may even buy tickets to the top party months in advance. It’s a big deal. Then, you get older, and wiser. You decide that you don’t want to be on the road with everyone else, especially when they have drinking. You decide that it is much more comfortable to watch Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest at home, on your comfy sofa, in your pajamas. Your spouse agrees. Then, enter the kids. As a parent, you are often much too tired to even make it to the ball drop. You fall asleep well before that big kiss.
There are ways to celebrate with your children. In fact, you can create new traditions for your family. Nothing is set in stone at New Year’s. Here are a few ideas for you to try this year.
- Toast with sparkling cider or grape juice. Take this opportunity not to focus on the alcohol portion of this tradition but rather to practice the art of giving a good impromptu toast. Really, it is a lost art. Being able to think on your feet and come up with a witty one liner or two is a skill that most of us wish we had.
- Write out resolutions. They do not have to be complicated or in depth. Maybe not fighting with siblings as often or emptying the dishwasher without being asked. Make a big fanfare out of writing the resolutions. Get special paper and pens from the craft store if you like. Then, have each family member read them aloud to the group. You can even ceremoniously burn them in the fireplace.
- Have each child research the New Year’s Eve traditions in other countries. Ask them to give a mini report so everyone can learn something about another culture. Maybe you could even try one of the more exotic traditions.
- Pick a New Year’s Eve menu and stick to it each year. The repetitive act of always serving black-eyed peas for luck, grandmas pierogis or potato latkes is something that they will cherish from year to year and pass on to their own children.
- You do not have to celebrate at the stroke of midnight either. Why not celebrate at the stroke of noon. Or figure out what country hits midnight at their bedtime and pretend you are there. The excitement of a new beginning, a new year and the countdown itself is enough.
Whatever you decide to do to celebrate with your children, the important aspect is that you are together and enjoying each other’s company for another year. Before you know it they will be living on their own and you can return to your party lifestyle. Ok. Maybe not.