New Year’s Eve With Kids

Team Tips

New Year’s Eve With Kids

No plans? No problem. With 22 kids between us, we’ve picked up a few ways to make a night in more fun than a night out.

Written By Isabel Ashton
Illustration Maria Tabet

Jackie Gleason, the hard-partying comedian, famously dubbed New Year’s Eve “amateur night.” And for anyone with young kids, the experience of booking a babysitter and going out for a disappointing prix-fixe meal only re-enforces the Gleason-ism. But how do you make a night in with the family feel festive? With 22 kids between us, the team here at Maisonette has picked up a move or two along the way. Aside from being a welcome excuse for a fun night in, we believe celebrating with our families is a lot of fun.

Here are our kid-friendly ways to see out the year and ring in the new one.

1. Celebrate on Paris time.

Put a Gallic spin on the night’s festivities. If you live on the East Coast of the U.S., you’ll be six hours ahead of schedule, so even after you’ve counted down to midnight in Paris and had the family dance party, you’ll still be in bed at a decent hour. Don’t hold back on the theme. Get dressed up, serve French cuisine, champagne for the adults and sparkling cider for the kids. You’ll wake up having celebrated but feeling refreshed.

2. Host a movie night.

If your kids are young, they’re obviously not going to be partying late into the night, and chances are, neither are you. But there’s nothing stopping you from celebrating the New Year before the clock strikes twelve. For a low-key evening that still feels special, take movie night up a notch. String up fairy lights and build a fort with sheets and blankets around the TV. Get popcorn bags and fill bowls with different snacks so your kids can create their own pick-and-mix. If they're little, try "The Sound of Music," but stop at the intermission after Captain von Trapp and Maria are married. If they're bit older, we’re fans of “Bridget Jones Diary” and “When Harry Met Sally.” Or if you’re not rom-com devotees, there’s always a super cheesy disaster movie. We’re partial to “The Poseidon Adventure.” The original, not the crap remake. We’re fans because the action takes on New Year’s Eve, and it is some of Shelley Winters’ finest work.

3. Bring Times Square to you.

Watching the ball drop in Times Square is frantic enough as an adult, let alone with little children. Avoid the crowds and recreate the scene in the comfort of your own home by making your own Times Square Ball piñata out of papier-mâché. Paint it in bright colors, cover it in glitter and fill it with candy and confetti. Everyone can take turns trying to break it open at midnight. Bonus points for dressing up any babies in attendance as pint-sized Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.

4. Create a time capsule.

Take an old shoebox and fill it with mementos of your kids’ best moments from the past year: a birthday card, a favorite tchotchke or photos from a field trip or vacation. Your kids can trace the outlines of their hands on a piece of paper or include a record of how tall they are so they can see how much they’ve grown whenever you rediscover the time capsule. Hide it somewhere indoors or bury it in the garden to open next New Year’s Eve.

5. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Hide different little toys and treats around the house and release a new clue every hour. The prizes should get bigger the later it gets. This is a good one if friends with children are coming over as the minis can be organized into teams. While they search for hidden treasure, the grown-ups can enjoy a little hang time.