Ring in the New Year - family style

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

New Year's Eve is traditionally a time that many of us pause to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the upcoming one.

Whatever your take on New Year's Eve, it's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your children and loved ones. And with just a little creativity, both adults and children can enjoy a family-style New Year's Eve celebration.

An at-home celebration

Many families opt to stay home and celebrate on New Year's Eve. Sunny Nichols' family in Columbus does just that. "What we usually do is let each of our four children pick out a favorite food and we put them all together and have a picnic of all different types of foods," Nichols said. "We all sit together and watch the special shows, eat all night, have our special drinks (7-Up and punch) in our special glasses. If they can stay awake, we watch the ball drop at midnight, and we yell and bang pots and pans. Then, on New Year's Day, we head to Grandma's house for a special dinner."

For your family's New Year's Eve bash, a little pre-planning never hurts. Whether you are expecting just your immediate crew, or inviting the extended family over, you will want to determine the menu and some activities ahead of time.

Enlist the kids' help in decorating a room or a special area with confetti and streamers. Consider setting up the food buffet-style with appetizers such as buffalo chicken bites and meatballs that will please the palates of all ages. And don't forget to chill the sparkling cider or apple juice.

For entertainment, set out board games, noise makers and party hats. While you're planning the games and activities, don't forget classics such as charades. You'll be surprised at how much your children will love participating. If space permits, push the chairs out of the way and set up a special area where you can dance the night away. Dancing with your kids is great fun and a perfect way to get started on that lose-weight resolution! Let the kids spend time scrapbooking special photos from the past year or let everyone have a chance to share his or her own special thoughts and memories.

Away from home

The week between Christmas and the New Year also can be an opportunity to enjoy some time away with your family. With children out of school and many adults home from work, it can be a great time to sneak away. And while some families do opt to travel out of state and see family or take in some warmer weather, you don't have to travel far to grab some quality away time.

Ken and Caryn DeMann of Northern Kentucky enjoyed their time away for New Year's so much last year they've already made plans to get away again. "We enjoy getting away for the New Year's Eve holiday with our family and friends. Staying at Old Man's Cave Chalets in Hocking Hills gave us a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy one another's company," Caryn said. "In fact, it was so much fun last year, that this year we had to book a larger cabin because more family and friends want to join us. Not only do the adults get to relax, but the kids really enjoy it too. We let them bring some of their new Christmas toys to play with and for the New Year's Eve party we take the noise makers, streamers and other items to create a party atmosphere."

Mark Devol, owner of Old Man's Cave Chalets, sees many families just like the DeManns who travel to Hocking Hills over the New Year's holiday. They come to enjoy the area and each another, and grab some R and R before tackling their extensive resolution lists.

Whether you're planning a quiet New Year's Eve celebration at home, a big party with family and friends, or getting away from it all for a day or two, make it your resolution to spend the time with those you love. After all, what better way is there to bring in the New Year?

Rosanna Scott, mother of two, is a writer specializing in family/parenting issues and travel. She is the author of the children's book, Peter & Friends at Camp.