Remember when New Year’s Eve actually meant getting all dressed up and going out?? God we had some great New Year’s Eve back in the day…one time we even spent AN ENTIRE WEEKEND in rental house with about 30 of our closest mates (because New Year’s Eve required more celebrating than just one night). That was the weekend after ThisIrishDad proposed so we celebrated ALL weekend long.
It seems like those New Year’s Eves were a life time ago…I can’t say that I mind much. While I loved the NYE’s we spent celebrating at house parties I never was a fan of the crowded pub scene for the New Year. Then of course when the kids came along we started to chose to stay and celebrate as a family.
The only problem with celebrating New Year’s Eve with the youngest people in your life is that it is probably the only holiday not focused on the kids, or at least not in Cork. The lack of family friendly New Year’s Eve events in Cork is a missed opportunity in my opinion. It seems if you want any sense of family New Year’s festival you need to head to Dublin.
So on New Year’s Eve 2013 we took matters into our own hands and started creating our own family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.
Through the power of Pinterest I came across the idea for Countdown Bags from Amy at The Idea Room…and our New Year’s Eve tradition was born.
Now the Idea Room activities and craftiness were great but that first year I was working pretty last minute and wanting to create a party atmosphere for a toddler. So we created ‘Countdown Envelopes’ (with no crafting involved) and started at 2:00 so we could still make bed time at 7:00! We placed cards inside each envelope with surprise activities and handed them to her throughout the afternoon. It turns out toddlers get pretty damn excited about opening blank envelopes if there is promise of a surprise inside!
And in true ‘start as you mean to go on’ fashion, when New Year’s Eve 2014 came around and we were in America visiting family and ThisIrishGirl wanted New Year’s Eve blank envelopes. Last year we added actual times to the front of the envelopes but that is about it! The activities have changed from year to year with some simple and some more creative but the kids love the anticipation of seeing what’s next in each envelope. As they are getting bigger we are hoping to add a “Year in Review” or “New Years Resolution” activity.
Below is a list of very simple activities if you’re looking to try a ‘Countdown Envelope’ celebration of your own.
Our only rule is mandatory participation in all activities for the whole family. We’ve kept it simple with our activities but i would love some fresh ideas if you’ve got them!
- Paint our nails
- Play dress up
- Dance Party
- Look at old family photos and talk about the past
- Bake a New Year’s treat
- Order take-a-way and go get it!
- Indoor picnic
- Make a gingerbread house
- Play a board game
- Make a fort
- Pillow fight
- Scavenger Hunt
- Flash light Tag
- It’s Midnight somewhere!! We always end on this one which involves watching New Year’s Eve celebrations on the news or YouTube, playing Auld Lang Syne and ‘midnight’ kisses before bed. Recently Netflix has done one better with their own Netflix New Year’s Even Countdown which you can show whenever you are ready for it to be midnight!
I’ve personally had enough Pinterest fails in my time to put in the effort to go overboard but if crafting is your thing definitely check out this Countdown Bags post from Amy at The Idea Room.
Whatever you’re up to this New Year’s Eve hope your starting off a happy and healthy New Year with friends and family!