The standard New Year’s Eve depiction features fancy parties, champagne toasts, and fretting about who is going to pucker up with you. But for those of us with small children, ringing in the new year often comes long before midnight. However, despite early bedtimes, you can still make the turning of the calendar a special event at home.
On Monday, Aimée shared many ideas for entertaining on New Year’s with ease. Those parties can easily be adapted for a family event, but for a more kid-focused bash, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a special evening interwoven with learning and discovery.
From ocean to ocean, each country celebrates the coming new year in a different way. Incorporating traditions from other cultures will amp up the fun and spark curiosity – and who knows, perhaps you’ll decide to continue a few of those traditions next year!
Here in the United States, we’re some of the last people on the globe to bring in the new year. I know my own child will not be able to stay up until midnight (even if I wanted him to!), so we are planning to ring in the new year early, grabbing another time zone and calling it our own. This works well for incorporating specific cultures, but if you want to be all-encompassing, why not celebrate midnight multiple times? Try a new food for each time zone, or bring them all together for one global meal.
Many Asian cultures enjoy long noodles on New Year’s Day, with the length of the noodle meant to signify a long life. Try a dinner of long noodles with stir-fry vegetables and encourage your children to get the noodle all in one slurp.
Grapes are commonly eaten for the new year in Spanish cultures, with 12 grapes eaten at the stroke of midnight. Each grape signifies a month of the coming year, and the flavor is said to signify what the associated month will be. For many kids, 12 grapes is a lot to eat at once, so portion the grapes as necessary.
Cabbage is an important New Year food in parts of Ireland, Germany, and the United States, as the green leaves symbolize money and wealth in the coming year. If your kids aren’t excited about cabbage, try Brussels sprouts, which are in the same family and easily adapted for more-picky palates.
Of course, we can’t neglect that big ball drop many of us have come to know well. Create your own ball drop at home, and after the final countdown, toast the coming year with nonalcoholic drinks made with pomegranate, a significant food in Turkey and other countries along the Mediterranean.
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 liter sparkling water
- 1 lemon, halved
- Divide pomegranate juice among six glasses.
- Fill glasses with sparkling water.
- Juice half the lemon and divide equally among glasses.
- Slice the remaining lemon into rounds, and add to the to glasses.
And don’t forget – once our own New Year has begun, the celebration can happen all over again with the Chinese New Year on January 23, and Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) celebrated September 16-18.
What tradition does your family do to celebrate New Year’s?