Whenever a holiday or special celebration comes around, I always start with the greatest of intentions to make a big deal out of it. My motto, “go big or go home”. Well…. time, chores, kids, and work always seem to interrupt my grand plans and it’s never quite how I pictured it. So to save myself some time and headaches, this year I delegated some of the party duties to my kids. Their first order of business, to make lanterns to decorate the house with. We stuck with the simple Chinese lanterns, as we could make them from bright construction paper and after all, that’s what is important here, the bright colors! Bright colors are used in many cultures around the world because of their ability to attract good fortune.
- Multiple colors of construction paper
- Glue Stick
- Glitter glue, markers or crayons (optional to decorate the lanterns)
- Ribbon or string to hang
- Fold a piece of construction paper in half length wide.
- Next Cut strips starting on the folded edge up toward the opposite edge. **Do not cut all the way through, only about 3/4 of the way, see the middle picture above.**
- Next open up paper and glue one short side.
- Then wrap the glued edge around to the unglued edge and press to attach.
- Cut a small strip and glue on the inside of the lantern to make a handle.
- Decorate the lanterns with glitter glue or any other decoration you prefer.
- Hang them up!
These are fun, quick and easy for kids to do.
My kids never make it until midnight. I know if they did stay up that late they would be holy terrors the following day, so I’m thankful in a way they pass out early. However, they do stay up later than they normally would, and we celebrate as the New Year rings in around the world. We watch the times and countries and try to catch a glimpse of how New Years is being celebrated. This year we are incorporating a balloon drop! This is a very fun thing for kids to take part in! When London brings in the New Year, they pull the string opening a trash bag releasing a cascade of colorful balloons.
- Draw string trash bag
- Tape or something else to hook the bag to.
Blow up the balloons, stuff them in a trash bag, tape or affix the bag to the ceiling. At the right time, open the drawstring and let the balloons drop!
P.S. I have also seen people cut open the trash bag so that it lays flat, then tape it to the ceiling, leave a small opening to stuff in balloons. Once it’s filled with balloons then tape it closed. I didn’t have the time or patients to do this part.
This is a night of family fun for us. We enjoy bringing in the New Year from the peace of our own home. We spend the evening playing video and board games, grazing on food, watching movies and seasonal T.V. programs.
While my husband and I may enjoy a spirit or two (homemade eggnog, wine or champagne), I have always bought sparkling grape juice for my kids. They even have their own special “wine glasses” to drink from (they are cheap plastic but the kids feel pretty special with them).
Grazing Menu of Choice
I incorporate some old favs along with things that people eat in other areas of the world. Whatever is on the menu, we snack on it all evening long. I suppose it’s one last effort to gorge ourselves until our new year resolutions kick in. Every year the menu changes a bit. One of my favorite desserts is Watergate Salad, or the green fluff as we have called it. I have memories of my grandma making this for holiday celebrations and I LOVE it. However this year I didn’t have the time to make it. I wasn’t sure what we would eat because a cold/flu has been circulating through our home. So I settled with shrimp, pigs in a blanket for the kids, guacamole, fruit, cheese ball and crackers, eggnog, juice and I made for the first time a Dutch treat called Oliebollen (Click here to see how my Oliebollen turned out!). It’s a pastry that is similar to a donut and is traditionally ate on New Years Eve in the Netherlands.
One of my favorite things to do on a holiday is have chocolate fondue. It’s a fun way to sit around the table as a family and enjoy a delicious treat. I reserve chocolate fondue for special occasions such as New Years Eve. The point is, have fun with your food selections, try new things, research what others may eat in different cultures and share in their traditions.
|Many Spanish speaking countries eat 1 grape for each of the last 12 seconds of the old year.