3. Making Some Noise — Of course there must be noisemakers. James suggests this fresh take: Paint small, empty raisin boxes with silver or gold paint — spray paint is easiest — and then decorate them with small gems or sequins. Fill the boxes with dry pasta or rice, and tape a Popsicle stick to the back. The noisemakers can sit in vases around the table. Kids will be proud of their contributions, and you’ll be happy to have them as attractive table decorations.
4. Food — To avoid holiday feast fatigue, a New Year’s feast should consist of foods the family actually likes. You’re not tied to tradition, so focus on old family favorites, or on foods that some cultures say bring good luck. According to Epicurious.com, cooked greens symbolize money and good fortune; pork means prosperity. Don’t eat anything that moves backwards, like lobster. My teen-age daughter likes to bake a holiday cake and get creative with frosting. Baking infuses the air with cheer and allows kids to participate. Limit how many sprinkles or frosting colors you offer; adult guests don’t always enjoy a crunchy inch-thick layer of purple sugar.
5. After-meal activity — Karaoke is a new tradition for our family; we learned it from the friends who held last year’s party. Systems range in price from less than $100 to more than $1,000, and can be rented, too. Whether you rock the oldies or attempt to rap, the kids are just as entertained as the adults. And they will want their turn, so make sure your song list includes some current hits or favorites they know.
Finally, do you or don’t you keep the kids up til midnight? Go for it, but be prepared to send them to bed or say goodnight early if they fall apart.
And they may. But the karaoke, other kids and special treats may keep them fueled and happy enough to see the ball drop. And then you will have another family memory tucked away, and maybe another entry for the 2013 poster: I want the whole family to ring in the new year together again in 2014.