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New Year's Eve with kids

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to mean scrambling to find a babysitter or skipping a night of partying. With a bit of planning ahead, kids and New Year’s can be seamlessly combined to create a fun night for the whole family, full of activities you’ll all look back on.

At a loss for how to pull this off? Presenting the Bunchland Guide to New Year’s Eve, our collection of ideas for having the best lead-up to midnight (and the most relaxing New Year’s Day) ever.

For starters, night tobogganing is a perfect multi-family activity. Round up some friends and neighbours and head for the hills. Enjoy the crisp winter air and the shrieking of your kids as they coast along at lightning speed. With some preparation, you can avoid your tobogganing sesh being cut short because everyone’s too cold. We recommend lots of layers and a thermos filled with hot chocolate or another hot beverage.

If your family-friendly New Year’s Eve bash is going to be strictly an indoor affair, now’s a great opportunity to get the kids all gussied up in some glam pint-sized evening wear. Really, when else can you get away with tiny tuxes and tiaras, gold everything and sparkles galore?

Before the party starts, get busy crafting one of these three DIY noisemakers so you’ll be able to make lots of noise when the clock strikes 12. Your kids will be excited to learn this is one holiday when they’re encouraged to be loud!

Your guests will expect some munchies to go with their champagne (or sparkling apple juice), so here are some finger foods that should be a staple of your New Year’s Eve party menu. We recommend setting up a bar — but not just the kind stocked with booze! Popcorn bars, candy bars and slider bars make a fun focal point to your party area and are a unique way your guests can be creative and satisfy their individual tastes. And having options that don’t require lots of cutlery or fussing, like crudités, means your spread will be a hit with kids and parents alike.

Having a few simple party activities planned will keep kids busy and get your guests talking and mingling. A memory mural gives everyone a chance to reflect on the past year and draw a picture of their favourite moment or their hopes for the upcoming year. Best of all, you can take a photo of the resulting creation and email it to all of the contributors as a sort of loot bag.

Another no-brainer New Year’s Eve party activity? Smashing a piñata with a stick to make candy come out! And in keeping with the glitz and glamour of the evening, we suggest this disco ball-style version you can make yourself with simple materials like a balloon, newspaper, paste and sparkles (and, of course, candy).

A homemade time capsule is something you can get your guests in on, or it can be a more personal project for just your family. Either way, it’s an easy way to capture everyone’s highlights of the year gone by and something special you can open up later on. Some suggestions for what to put in are newspaper clippings, photographs, favourite books and toys and trinkets that represent memorable trips your family took together.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead for New Year’s Day as well. Lots of places will be closed and you’ll be faced with an entire day of keeping your kids entertained. Luckily, we have a few foolproof suggestions for a lazy family-style kickoff to the new year: pancakes, pajamas and DVD box sets, all day long. Here are 5 suggestions for DVD box sets for families that make for the perfect day of snuggling in front of the flatscreen.

Photo by Geoff LMV via Flickr.

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