This post may contain *affiliate links.
Christmas & New Year, Life, Seasonal

11 New Year’s Eve ideas for families

The image shows two children jumping up and down near a window.

New Year’s Eve is a special time. It’s a chance to celebrate, or commiserate one year, whilst you welcome the next. However, things become a bit trickier when kids come along. You can no longer get away with, or you may not have the desire to, be dancing on tables at 5am.

I asked some fellow bloggers to help me come up with New Year’s Eve ideas for families that want to make the night special for old and young alike.

1) Fizz, crackle and bang

Fireworks and New Year’s Eve go hand-in-hand. You might want to watch them on the tele, or set them off yourself. If you don’t want to put on a full-on display, then perhaps sparklers are the solution. 

Shayla said: “One thing that always comes out on New Year’s Eve in my family home is sparklers! They’re super affordable and fun for the kids! We will watch movies and eat popcorn, all leading up to the countdown where we watch the fireworks on the TV and have a glass of bubbly! The kids will have fizzy drinks in champagne glasses!”

Rachel said: “Last year we were away in our motorhome, we had a family party in the van and stayed up to watch the fireworks in Marbella from outside our van.”

2) Make a new tradition 

Family traditions are the best, so why not make a new one this New Year’s? Pick an activity you enjoy and aim to make it an annual event 

3) Bingo with a twist

Why play ordinary bingo, when you can play bingo with a twist?

Emma said: I’m planning a big game of 2020 bingo. I’ll be asking my friends and family to suggest some bingo items such as ‘binge watched a Doctor Who series in a day’, ‘downloaded the Couch to 5k app’ or ‘took part in Joe Wicks’ PE lessons’ and whoever ticks off the most 2020 items will win a prize.”

4) Give the kids a country

Finding an activity where the kids can get involved in the spirit of things, yet be in bed at a decent hour, has to be the holy grail when it comes to New Year’s Eve ideas for families. Rebecca has a brilliant idea that might do just that. She says: “We have a big meet up with friends usually so there’s lots of kids. The plan for this year (if we can meet up) is to allocate each child a country and then all the children celebrate New Year as it happens in each of their countries until their bedtime.”

5) Eat rather than drink

Food is at the heart of most celebrations, so why should New Year’s Eve be the exception?

Jennifer likes to bake biscuits with the kids during the afternoon to enjoy in the evening. Whilst Emily said she likes to “eat sweet foods to bring in a rich and prosper New Year” with her family.

In our house, we make a stew or a chilli in the slow cooker and tuck into some comfort food. The advantage of making New Year’s Eve about the food, rather than the drink, is that it doesn’t generate a hangover!

6) A gathering at home

If circumstances allow, then a gathering at home is often a winner. 

Claire said: We have a New Year’s Eve party at my best friend’s house with all the kids. There’s usually 4 families that get together with about 10 children. We play board games, have a family battle of Wii Sports, and have a huge buffet that we all ‘bring a plate’ to, then at midnight we all take to the street with our saucepans to bash and let the kids go wild whilst we sing Auld Lang Syne.” 

Rebecca said: “We normally have my mum and best friend round and play board games or family fun games on the PS4 or Alexa or similar before watching the fireworks on the TV.”

7) A 11.55pm wakeup

You could always put the kids to bed as normal but wake them up just before midnight. Ella said: “We put the kids to bed as normal and then my husband and I watch a movie together. Then, about 10 minutes before midnight, we wake the kids and we all watch the London fireworks together on the TV, have a boogie and then all go to bed.”

8) A New Year’s fib

You could always pretend it’s New Year at an acceptable time. Jenni said:We put all the clocks forward two hours, then at 10pm we tell them it’s midnight. We put last year’s celebrations with the midnight countdown, Big Ben and the fireworks on YouTube and then at 10.15pm they go to bed none the wiser.” 

9) Uphold an old family tradition

New Year’s Eve is a great time to uphold a family tradition. When I was a kid, we used to follow first-foot folklore. This meant that the person in the house with the darkest hair would walk out of the back door and back through the front. 

The first footer is the first person that enters the house after the clock strikes twelve. If this folklore is to be believed, the first footer brings in good fortune, which sets the tone for the year ahead.

10) Reflect together

New Year’s Eve is a great time to reflect on happy memories. You can ask your kids what they enjoyed the most about the year that has passed. Perhaps you could look over some family photos to remind the kids of the fun you’ve enjoyed together over the past twelve months. You could make some family resolutions together too.

The image shows a young family sat on a sofa. Over the image, the text reads: '11 New Year's Eve ideas for families'.

11) Family time

You could argue that you don’t need to do anything special on New Year’s Eve, apart from being together. You could play a board game, put a family film on, or just eat together. 

If you have kids, then I hope this list of New Year’s Eve ideas for families gives you some inspiration. How do you plan to celebrate?

If you enjoyed this article, then you might also be interested in my other Christmas and New Year hacks and ideas. I am have a whole section dedicated to life with babies and toddlers.