I’m going to be honest with you: while New Year’s Eve should be one of the most exciting nights of the year, just the thought of it exhausts me. In past years, NYE meant big crazy parties or the odd year camping on the street so we could wake up and watch the Rose Parade (if you’re a Southern Californian and you haven’t done this, do it at least once.) But these days, staying in for New Year’s is infinitely more appealing than braving the cold (even if it’s the So Cal kind of cold).
Whether you’re like me or you’re more into hitting the new year with everything you’ve got, there are a ton of really great things you can do with your family. No matter what age your kids are or how much energy you have, there’s bound to be a New Year’s itinerary out there that’s just right.
Going to the Movies
Not every movie theater may have late-night showings, but if you’ve been saving that special Christmas blockbuster for a time when all of the family can watch it together, New Year’s Eve may just be the perfect night. It’s warm, it’s fun, and most of the nerdiest movies of the year come out around Christmas time.
I miss Hogwarts on the big screen, don’t you? But don’t worry, there’s probably something Hunger Games-y or Tolkein-y out that can equally satisfy your lust for cinematic geekery.
Staying in With a Movie (or Having a Movie Marathon)
Of course, renting an exciting movie that everyone wants to see can be a great way to bond with your kids and kick off the new year surrounded by that glow you get from having everyone in the same room.
Build a blanket fort (or pillow fort, if you’re into that kind of thing) and make up some snack recipes that go with the theme of your movie to make ahead of time.
If you were to turn your nerdy movie night into a trilogy marathon with something like The Lord of the Rings, try making some Lembas bread or (or just wrap up some leftover fruitcake in leaves and tie with twine).
Having a Nerdy PJ Party
If you’re an NWC reader there’s a pretty good chance that everyone in your family has a few pairs of geeky PJ’s lying around. Find your very best ones, and hop into jammies as soon as you possibly can. Read stories, build a time capsule, bake some favorite recipes, but whatever you do, PJ’s are a must. If you invite other people over, they can’t come in unless they’re in comfy jammies. Them’s the rules.
Having a Building Competition
Select your media of choice and have a huge family build-off. Nerdy gingerbread houses? Crazy LEGO castles? Snow forts? Rice Krispy statues? Whatever it is you have lying around, dump it on the table and get to work. Award prizes for the best, or come up with a unique prize for each entry.
You could also work together to build a city (or your own house) as a collaboration, like LEGO employees and their families did for Japan back in 2012.
Having a Game Night
I have personally done all of the things on this list, so I can tell you with authority that a tabletop game night is quite possibly the best thing to host on New Year’s Eve. You probably have all the games you need at your disposal, but this is the perfect excuse to add to your collection. We’re hosting the tabletop party this year, so we get to pick the games. We’ll probably play a little Small World that may spill into a little D and D, which is always fun if you crack into the champagne (or apple juice and Sprite cocktail) a little early.
A bonus to having a tabletop night is that you have time to hang out and interact with each other, which may not happen for awhile once January goes full swing. You can even turn on one of the New Year’s Eve specials to watch the ball drop, or catch a few of the awesome New Year’s Eve marathons on TV to have playing in the background.
If you have a console game that can handle including everyone in the action, add a videogaming tournament to the tabletop mix.
Don’t forget the snacks!
If you’d like to go out for New Year’s Eve, don’t forget to check out local or community-sponsored events that might be just right for your family. The header image is a family enjoying a kid-friendly NYE at Legoland.