Posted by Deborah Pujoue on December 30, 2011
For those parents that believe in the mantra “Christmas is for kids, New Year’s is for adults,” I have one thing to say to you: You don’t know what you’re missing.
At Christmas kids get all hyped up on sugary treats, presents galore and a constant stream of guests and visits. It’s enough to wear any parent out and want to paint the town red on New Year’s Eve. The only problem with that is, unless you have a live-in babysitter (and sometimes even with one) the costs can quickly skyrocket out of control. Between getting tickets for various public events, paying for food and drinks while out, paying your sitter and providing the inevitable pizza, you’re likely to ring in the New Year even more broke than before with just your Christmas debt.
However, there is an alternative that may not sound good at first, but can work wonders in the long run. You can spend New Year’s Eve with your children. By now, the excitement of Christmas has all but worn off and your kids are practically begging for a routine to get back into place. But before they do, it’s always fun to have one last hurrah. These last nights before going back to school is a great way for the whole family to spend time together and still have fun ringing in the New Year. Let me explain how this works at my house.
First, we go to the dollar store and stock up on essentials (hats, party favors, balloons, plastic champagne glasses and even treats). Next, I buy some sparkling cider or apple juice for the kids and the champagne for the adults. As the darkness starts to fall (around here that’s 5 p.m.), we make a pot of chili, then pour it over tortilla chips and add shredded cheese so that we can have chili cheese nachos all night. We start decorating the house with balloons and streamers and whatever else the kids want to hang up. We play a dance game on our video console — the kids love to laugh at how uncoordinated I am — and wait for the ball to drop on TV. We toast to the New Year (10 p.m. for smaller kids) and make a lot of noise (party screamers, banging pots and pans, etc.), then it’s off to bed for the kids to dream of their resolutions, which we have agreed to discuss the following morning at breakfast.
With that, the adults get to have adult fun, while the kids are safe and happily asleep, having spent a memorable evening with their parents. The best part is that in the morning, there is virtually nothing to clean and no hangover. In the end, the kids have a great memory, and I don’t have any guilt for not being there. Thanks to the dancing game, I also got in some exercise time. This works so well my teenage daughters still want to do it.