Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Party

I wanted our annual New Year’s celebration to be terrifically fun, but also really simple since the entire holiday season can be a little stressful.  We celebrate New Year’s family-style at our place.  We invite some neighborhood families over every year and just enjoy the last few hours of the year together before we ring in a new one.  It’s really pretty casual.  The kitchen is filled with food, our loft is a kid heaven with Just Dance on the X-Box, and there’s lots of chatting/snacking downtime.  We like to intersperse the long night with some fun games and activities to keep things rolling all the way until midnight.  Here are a few family-friendly New Year’s ideas from our party.

This year we had several families from our neighborhood come to join in our festivities with us.

The Decor:

I can’t go elaborate with decorations because I have 4 children and have spent all of December making their holidays magical.  I’m one tired mama by New Year’s. Besides, this shindig is a simple bringing of friends together, not an elaborate dinner party.  The basic colors were gold, silver, and black.  I printed out a simple New Year’s banner, put the numbers “2014” in some silver frames I already owned (one number in each of 4 frames), and hung some balloons from the ceiling that guests would walk through as they entered.


We also hung a photo backdrop for resolutions pictures.  Each of the guests got to write down a resolution as they came in, put on some snazzy prop dress-ups, and then I snapped their photo.  The backdrop is just a black plastic tablecloth, some tinsel, and some balloons.


The Food:

Each family who comes brings 3 or 4 appetizers to share.  Crackers, dips, shrimp cocktail, homemade jalapeno poppers, ribbon sandwiches, veggie platter – our common New Year’s fare is all this and more.  Our popcorn machine also runs all night, and the chocolate fountain is always a highlight.  We also have an assortment of soda, juices, and lemon water.  At midnight we break out the sparkling cider.  We aren’t alcohol drinkers, and this is a family party anyway, so the drinks are pretty simple.  I wish I had a picture of all the food because it’s truly an astounding sight every year, covering every inch of table and counter space in my kitchen.  I guess I was too busy pigging out to snap a photo!

The Party:

The party activities were all inside of boxes that we opened on each hour of the party.  The boxes were labeled with the hour and had all the supplies inside for the activity of the hour.


7:00 P.M. Guests arrived, we snacked on appetizers, and visited.   The resolutions photo booth was alive and hopping.  There wasn’t a box for 7:00 since it was the starting time for the party.

8:00 P.M. Activity: Family Feud.  This site has lots of question ideas with the survey answers.  This was an absolute hit.  We set up a powerpoint on the computer (projected on our big screen TV) that was rigged to look like the old gameshow, had our daughter be “Richard Dawson,” kisses and all, and laughed like crazy all through the game.  This was my favorite hour of the night.

9:00 P.M. Activity: Scavenger Hunt around town (This is becoming a tradition – last year getting handcuffed by a cop was on the list and a couple of teams actually checked that one off!)

10:00 P.M. Activity: Celebrity Game (several party games all rolled into one game and played in various rounds)  Here’s a link that explains how to play.  We just asked people to use events/notable people from the past year to write on the slips of paper to give it a New Year’s theme.

11:00 P.M. Activity: Quelf (a party game that we recently discovered and love)


 Just before midnight: Our activity box had hats, party blowers, and glow sticks.  We also got out the sparkling cider and fancy glasses for a midnight toast to the new year!

Hope you have a very happy new year!


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