Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I love to create family traditions, and I think we may have begun a new one last night. New Year's Eve was always a big deal when I was growing up—or at least in my memory of it after age 11 or 12. My older brothers and their wives and families were usually back home for the holidays, and we played games and ate snack food until the ball dropped. In high school and college I went to friends' houses for New Year's Eve parties or such. I remember one moonlit New Year's Eve when some friends and I went ice skating on an orchard pond in my snowy hometown.

We haven't been at home for New Year's Eve in a few years. We usually take this time to go visit Randy's brother in North Carolina or his mom in Indiana. But this year we opted to stay here. His brother and sister-in-law ended up coming in earlier in the week and surprising Randy for his birthday, which was fantastic. (They also surprised us all with a Wii and several Wii games, including Guitar Hero World Tour. We have been having a blast!)

So we decided at nearly the last minute to have a few friends over to celebrate. Right before I went to the grocery store yesterday I looked at Family for any quick and brilliant party ideas, and I found one that I could manage with limited time and funds:

These are countdown bags. I made one for each child for each hour, beginning at 8 p.m. I was seriously scrounging to come up with cheap ideas for the contents, but my trusty sidekick Laurel helped me and here is what we ended up with:
8:00: Plastic fork and Happy New Year napkin. This was the signal to come in and eat Confetti Cake!
9:00: Piece of paper and a marker, with the directions to draw something(s) significant that happened in 2008. They took this very seriously, all settling down into the living room and carefully recording their year. (This was a perfect time for the grown-ups to play Guitar Hero.)

10:00: Bubbles and balloons. They ran outside to blow bubbles, and I'm not really sure what they did with the balloons. My idea was for them to blow up their balloons and race to pop them, but I never actually communicated that. Whatever they did, they had fun.

11:00: Glow-in-the-dark mouthpieces. These are like glow-sticks for the mouth. Again, there was no purpose for these other than to have fun.

12:00: Predictably, party hats, horns, and confetti. I had a hard time finding these things, which is something that happens when one waits until the last minute to make decisions and plans. I'm thinking I might head out to the party store today to pick up some for next year!

It was lots of fun. My kids were immediately begging, "Can we do this again next year?" I love that moment when a memory is created.


  1. Oh I love that. I've been trying to work on traditions as I now realize that those are the memories we take with us along life's journey. This year we had a "snowball" fight on the 4th of July, with those rediculously gross pink marshmallow cake "snowballs" by hostess. It was hilarious. The kids have already asked me where my stockpile is for 09

  2. Sounds like a great evening! Our kids don't make it up that late, but maybe next year we should have company so they will.

    I haven't been commenting much lately but am reading here regularly still. Thanks for all the book reviews, fun ideas, reminiscing, etc. Happy New Year!

  3. We may be slow moving this morning, but we had so much fun...glad we could be a part of this new tradition...and hope it becomes one for years...and was a great New Years!! Thanks!!!

  4. those are super ideas. what a fun party!


  5. I love, love, love the paper bag countdown idea! We just stayed up late, let the kids have a sip or two of champagne, watched the neighbors set off (illegal) fireworks... it was good, but I think I'll work harder to make it more fun next year.

    Oooo... I got my budget for this month all written out! Dh thinks I'm a goober because I'm so excited, though he is willing to go for it! So, thank you!

  6. What a fantastic idea! I know your kids will always remember that night. Sometimes a little last minute planning really pays off. Thanks for sharing that idea. I think you're underestimating how much time and energy it must have taken to "throw that together". :) Your family is lucky to have such a creative and willing Mom! Happy New Year!

    Looking forward to the "best of 2008" post.

  7. What a neat idea with the countdown bags! We get together with my dh's family, and I might have to do that next year for all the kids.

  8. What a great tradition. Are you OK with people borrowing your ideas?

  9. What a fun evening! I wish I could have been there!:) Lori

  10. This sounds like so much fun!! I want to steal your idea for next year!! What creativity!!

  11. I may use the countdown bags for next year. This year was our first to have friends over, and they have 4 kids. We had so much fun, it will probably become a tradition.


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