Throw a Kid-Friendly New Years Eve Party

New Year's Eve party

Christmas is over but are you still in the mood to party? Looking to ring in 2012 with some fun for your family? Personally, I prefer to go to bed early and sleep in on New Year’s Day to recover from the Holiday season. My kids however, like the idea of celebrating the arrival of the new year. So, we will PARTY. Since I’m usually running on empty, I’ve put together some fun but easy ideas for staying home and celebrating in your family room with the kids.


    Keep it low-key.
    You don’t need to go crazy cleaning the house, buying party favors, and cooking to have a fun New Year’s celebration. Keep the party ideas simple. Even if you just end up watching the countdown shows on TV with the kids, they’ll appreciate it.

    Make it a party.
    Definitely invite neighbors, family and friends with kids about the same age over to help celebrate. This keeps everyone off of the road, you can all watch the kids together, everyone can ooh and aah over your Christmas decorations one more time, and it saves on babysitter money. To keep it casual and easy, have everyone bring a dish to share. Start the party later so you don’t need to cook dinner, just have snacks and desserts. Invite the kids to come over in their pajamas so it’s casual, and parents won’t have to change their kids’ clothes if they fall asleep before going home.

    Time is all relative.
    Even if you have small children, you can still ring in the new year together. Here’s a trick. If you have small children who might not make it to midnight, change the clocks in the house so that “midnight” hits around 9 or 10 p.m. The kids will feel like they got to stay up and celebrate and you will still be able to put them to bed at a decent time. Or have the kids at the party bring sleeping bags so they can go to sleep while the parents still stay up and party a little more.(/ul>


      Pop in the Fun
      Kids love to make noise and New Year’s Eve is all about loud noise. Grab some inexpensive noise makers at your local Dollar Store or buy a roll of large bubble wrap. Give each kid a piece and let them “Pop it Up” at midnight while the adults pop open the champagne. Skip any confetti or streamers unless you want to spend the next day cleaning. Remember, we said keep it simple.

      Balloon Drop
      Another fun idea is to blow up balloons and “drop” them at midnight. Rig up a net in a corner of the basement or drop them over the balcony stairs. Kids will have fun popping the balloons and chasing them around.

      Re-Decorate Your Christmas Tree
      I loved this idea from a Mom who wrote in to a few years ago. She had her children help her take the ornaments off the Christmas tree so that they could make a “New Year’s Tree.” They took all of the Christmas ornaments off of the tree but left the lights on. They then added curled ribbon, party horns, balloons — basically everything needed for a New Year’s Eve party for the children. What a fun and festive idea and you get a second use out of your Christmas tree! If you are planning on having people over to help celebrate New Year’s Eve, this is a perfect idea on how to decorate.


    It’s easier to plan a party if you have a theme. Here are 3 easy themes and activities to keep the family occupied and laughing while you wait for midnight.

      Game Night
      Get out those new board games you got for Christmas or Hanukkah, find your old favorites in the closet or fire up the Wii for a little family competition. Definitely grab prizes like big boxes of movie theater candy, large chocolate bars, or my favorite, win coupons to get out of household chores. Click here for more ideas on planning a Family Game Night. Here are a few of my family’s favorite games that you can get from our affiliate Amazon:



      Mexican Train Dominoes

      5 Second Rule

      Pajama Pizza Party

      Why not have fun cooking together and sharing some laughs in the kitchen by making homemade pizza? If you have a great pizza recipe and a pizza stone, you are good to go. If not, here’s my family’s killer homemade pizza recipe. To make the evening more unique, have everyone wear their pajamas all night. Invite another family over and make it a kids/adult slumber party. Or set up a tent in the living room and the kids can watch the ball drop from inside the tent in their sleeping bags. Here are some more ideas on how to host a fun Pizza Party.

      Fancy Schmancy New Years Eve Party

      Half the fun of New Year’s Eve is getting dressed up. Who loves dress up more than kids? It’s also fun to dance so why not combine these two into a Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Party? Kids love watching their parents get dressed up for New Year’s Eve Parties, so let them share in the spotlight this year by dressing up in their fancy duds or their kooky dress-up clothes.

      You don’t have to go to a club to hear the latest bands and dance on New Years. Pick a theme and host a kid’s prom at home. Turn the New Year’s countdowns on the TV and let the kids dance along to the featured bands. Or set up an area in the house as a dance floor and spin the tunes. Create a playlist of the top dance hits of 2011 and groove those holiday feeding-frenzy calories away. Get your video camera out because the video of your kids dressed up and dancing will be worth it!

    Whatever you decide to do, have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve with your family. We look forward to sharing more simple, creative and memorable Family Fun ideas with you next year, so we can all have more Chocolate Cake Moments.

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    Tags: Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have lots of “Chocolate Cake Moments” with your family this Holiday Season.

(My 9-year-old daughter painted this picture. Isn’t it cool?)

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun

More Fun with Your Elf on the Shelf

There’s only 9 more days for having fun with you Elf on the Shelf. Are you out of ideas yet? Well, here are more fun things you can do to hide and enjoy your Elf on the Shelf tradition.

Elf on the Shelf Cookies

Bridget over at the Bake at 350 blog did an AMAZING job with these Elf on the Shelf cut-out cookies. I wish I could ice cookies like that!

Elf Magic

Amy at Living Locurto had some fun with her kids by giving them “Elf Seeds” and creating magic. Check it out, it’s a very fun idea. She also has a free download with ideas for posing your Elf.

Elf Mischief

I’ve been having a blast creating funny situations for our Elf Jack. I found that I’ve been doing so many “scenes” with our elf that when I actually do hide him. The kids can’t even find him. They have become lazy with their elf sighting skills. Oh well. Here are some of the latest Elf sightings in our house.

    Snowball Fight

    Jack picked a snowball fight with one of our other Elf decorations. Each side has his own Marshmallow Reindeer team mascot.

    Snow Globe

    I made homemade snow globes with the kids one night and Jack decided to make his own that night while we were sleeping.

    Elf Notes

    Jack wrote our kids a note last year and of course everyone knows that Elves write backwards, so the kids had to hold their notes up to the mirror to read it. (You knew that, right?)

    Late Elf Nights

    We have a pull out couch in our family room that we like to use for Family Movie Night. We pull out the couch and everyone watches the movie in their PJ’s. Well, the kids loved it when they came down one night to find Jack had pulled out the couch and had stayed up all night watching Holiday movies. He even made himself an espresso to stay up. The cat must have kept him company.

I’ve been working on my Parents Sanity-Saving Guide to Elf on the Shelf for the last few weeks but sadly I didn’t get it done in time for the Holiday Season. Life keeps getting in my way. I’m make sure you know when it’s done so you can download it for next year.

What do you do for fun with your Elf on the Shelf? Send me a photo and I’ll put it up on the blog. I’d love to highlight your creativity! Send photos to sue (at) Thanks!

You Might Also Like:

8 Ways to Have More Fun with your Elf on the Shelf

What to Do When You Forget to Move Your Elf on the Shelf

Unique Family Holiday Traditions

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Family Fun Ideas

Unique Christmas Family Traditions

Don’t you just love Holiday family traditions? Everyone is excited, looking forward to the activity. It’s fun to get everything ready with the kids. And then it’s fun to make the memories.

However, every now and then I feel like some of our traditions are getting a little “stale” and we need to spice them up a bit. Maybe you just need to add a fun twist to an existing family tradition or maybe your kids are a little older now so they can do more things.

So I did a little investigating and I was amazed at some of the really unique and cool traditions that other families are doing for fun. So I flagged some traditions I found online and asked my readers about some of their unique Holiday Family Traditions. You might want to start some of these fun activities in your home.

Christmas Eve Traditions

There are a lot of fun activities that go on on Christmas Eve night. Some are more traditional like opening gifts from family members to going to midnight mass. Some read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and others have to sing a Christmas carol before you get to open gifts. (OK, that was my Mom’s rule.) However, some families kick it up a notch. I’ve seen online that some families wear matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. My Mother-in-law has a good family friends that hosts a talent show on Christmas Eve. Everyone no matter what age has to get up and provide entertainment for the whole family. If your family tends towards the “dramatic” it’s a nice tradition because cousins were working together on an act which brought them even closer together. Plus, it makes for great family videos.

The Family Memory Tablecloth

Amy over at has a unique family tradition where they make aFamily Tablecloth. Every year when her family gets together for the Holiday they add a saying, memory, hand print or other drawing in pencil onto the designated family tablecloth. Then her mother-in-law embroiders over the pencil marks during the year so that next Holiday you see your contribution permanently added in needlepoint. The tablecloth grows as the family does. How cool!

Tree Looking

My husband’s family lives in rural Iowa and for years they’ve had a tradition of “tree looking” where you drive around to your friends’ houses during the Holiday Season and drop in to look at their tree. I know my Mother-in-law always had to have some cookies or treats ready because you never know when someone will stop by. It’s casual, informal and a fun way to stay connected with friends or neighbors and get to check out all of the hard work people put into decorating their homes for Christmas. I only ever get to see my neighbors’ trees from the window. I love the idea of stopping by to admire and chat. I love seeing other people’s Christmas decorations too because there is usually a memory or story behind some of them that I love hearing.

Hide and Seek Traditions

This year, the Elf on the Shelf tradition has really taken off but many families have been hiding the Christmas Pickle for years. This is a German traditions where you have a glass pickle ornament that gets hidden on the tree and whoever finds it first on Christmas Eve wins a prize or small gift. Here’s how one of my readers does the Christmas Pickle tradition.'s Cookie Drop Tradition

The Cookie Drop

Over at, I found a cute post about a Cookie Drop tradition. Andi, the author from, makes up packages of homemade cookies, drops them at a friend or neighbor’s house, takes a photo of the package at their door and sends them an email telling them to check their front door for a surprise. Very cool!

Does your family have any unique holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them so please leave me a comment.

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Holiday Traditions

Spice Up Your Family Holiday Traditions

Looking for a way to spice up your family’s Holiday Traditions this year? I suggest you Be Creative and Try Something New to add a little variety to your Holiday Season and make it more fun this year.

While we all love traditions and look forward to them every year because they provide a foundation for the family’s Holiday activities, it doesn’t mean you can’t adapt or update the tradition or try something new entirely. Variety is the spice of life! What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like the new activity and you don’t do it again next year.

So, instead of putting on your Santa Hat, put on your thinking caps and get the whole family to brainstorm some creative ways to amp up your existing Holiday Traditions. If your family has a tradition of cutting down a real tree every year, try wearing Santa Hats or dressing like lumberjacks this year to give the event a little silliness and flair. If you all bake Holiday cookies together, be adventurous and try a new recipe or one that sounds really wild. Do all the girls in your family get together for Holiday Tea? Ask everyone to wear an audacious hat to make the affair more elegant and/or goofy.

If your family seems a little burned out on the tried and true family traditions, be adventurous this year and try a new activity that you’ve heard or read about. Who knows? It may become a new favorite. So, if you always go to see the Christmas Carol play, try the Nutcracker Ballet this year. If you’ve never had a real Christmas tree, try cutting one down this year and see if you like the difference. If your kids are a little older now, try going to Midnight Mass. Invite other people to your Hannukah celebration to teach them about your traditions. Try making your menorah this year instead of using the family favorite. Or, buy a candle making set and have the whole family make candles this year for the Celebration of Light. (I’m not Jewish but I asked my friends about their traditions and looked and online for ideas. I found a really fun article on family Hannukah traditions to do with your kids at Let me know what you think.)

For inspiration, check out the article I wrote for where I share 7 Fun Holiday Tradition Ideas.

What are your family Holiday Traditions? Leave me a comment and let’s see if together we can brainstorm ways to spice it up this year.

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Holiday Traditions

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