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Have a Familiy New Year's Blast!

By Norma Schmidt

Believe it or not, you CAN enjoy a New Year's Eve bash once you have kids - even if you CAN"T get a sitter!

PRESCHOOLERS AND KIDS IN THE EARLY ELEMENTARY GRADES LOVE GETTING INTO THE NEW YEAR'S SPIRIT.

To build excitement, announce a day or two ahead of time that you're going to have a night-time New Year's party with pajamas on.

Then, when you go grocery shopping, you can let your child pick out a party snack.

A trip to a party store for some inexpensive noisemakers will add to the excitement.

Or, create home-made noisemakers and decorations together. Visit familycrafts.about.com/od/newyears or http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/newyear/ for ideas.

On the afternoon or early evening of December 31, sit down together with some oversized construction paper, glue sticks, markers, crayons and scissors and make party hats.

Now, here's the sweet part: Young children don't seem to mind at all if "midnight comes at 9 PM - or even earlier!

All you need to do is put on your party hats, pick your time, count down from 10 and yell "Happy New Year! with lots of noise and hugs and kisses. Then enjoy your party snack.

HAVE OLDER KIDS IN THE HOUSE?

You have even more fun choices as kids mature. You can:

Print out the words to "Auld Lang Syne ("times long past") from the Internet and learn to sing it as a family. You can get the words and hear the tune at http://wilstar.com/xmas/auldlangsyne.htm

Put into a box all the ticket stubs, souvenirs and photos you've saved from the year that's ending. Take turns pulling items out of the box and sharing fond memories.

With adult supervision, let kids make home-made party snacks.

Rent funny movies or old sitcoms to watch together. Maybe Abott and Costello or "The Honeymooners will tickle your family's funny bone.

Invite everyone to write down on a strip of toilet tissue events from the year that they want to put behind them. Then ceremoniously (or unceremoniously!) flush away.

Play an old-fashioned game of charades. You might want to print out the special charades sign language from http://www.answers.com/topic/charades-2

Invite family members to write down hopes and intentions for the coming year on slips of paper. Each person can seal their paper in an envelope, to be opened the following New Year's Eve if desired.

After your celebration, consider saving your noisemakers and decorations to use again. Kids enjoy rediscovering their old favorites from year to year.

As for you - Who knows? Maybe the kids will take you to a whole new level of New Year's fun.

(c) Norma Schmidt, LLC

About The Author

Norma Schmidt, M.A., M.Div., helps busy parents create peaceful, connected, spiritually well-fed families. To get her free report, "55 Free and Low-Cost Ways to Have the Best Holiday Season Ever," click here or visit www.ParentCafeOnline.com


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