Four years ago my daughter suggested we start doing the same - having all three grandkids come over and spend the night on New Year's Eve. It has come to be a tradition we all treasure.
The first year we did it, I had no idea what we would do. I remember running to LTM in the afternoon of NYE and just grabbing lots of things - hats, streamers, noisemakers, poppers, snaps, and then I saw what turned out to be the most fun thing of all, a large $4 bag of confetti. I had no idea how I would actually use it, but thought, what the heck, for $4 it looks festive and I'll find something. More about that later.
So anyway, the kids usually arrive about 5 PM and we take the dog for a walk and then make dinner - spaghetti and garlic bread. I always make the table as fun as I can. I hang metallic streams down to the table from the chandelier, put all kinds of noisemakers down the length of the table, I have a bright starburst centerpiece I use every year and finish it off with colorful napkins and dishes. After all tummies are full and it is dark out, we retreat outside and the real fun begins!
That big bag of confetti I mentioned? I dole it out in small handful to each grandchild with instructions they run down to the end of the driveway, shout "Happy New Year!" and throw the confetti up in the air. Then they race back and do it all over again, and again, and again for literally about an hour. I can't tell you how many neighbors come out to watch them or stop by as they are going on their evening walk. Most think it is adorable, but one crabby one always says, "Oh what a mess you will have. You'll never get it all cleaned up and it will be in your yard forever." I always reply, "Yes, it will be in the yard forever and every time I see it, I'll smile and remember all the fun we had on New Year's Eve." That usually shuts them up.
After that they each get their own bag of poppers and snaps - things that used to kind of scare them when they were little, but now they get a big kick out of them. During all this, all around the neighborhood, people are setting off real fireworks, which my husband always want to get and I always veto, so it is a festive, noisy time. By the time we finally finish all that it is about 9:30 PM. We make a quick sweep up of the driveway, something all three especially enjoy for some reason, and then it is back in the house to make dessert.
This year we made brownies and served them hot with vanilla ice cream. It is all about simple, fun, kid-friendly food. We finished that and then it's time to brush teeth and get pjs on. This year we just bought a new sleeper sofa for the family room which we pulled out for NYE and it was the first time the six-year old had ever seen that type of thing and was VERY impressed! She watched as Jan unfolded it and made it up and asked, "What's that, Papa? He told her it was a bed that she and Marina were going to sleep it. She looked at him wide-eyed and said, "I've never seen anything like that in my whole life - that's awesome!" Ah...to be six and still see the wonders of a sleeper sofa.
Our grandson wanted to sleep in the recliner and was out in about two minutes. (As an aside, I don't have a guest room. As soon as our girls moved out, we changed their rooms from bedrooms to offices - on purpose. I don't typically like overnight guests so I wanted to be sure not to provide comfortable sleeping arrangements. I can't imagine all the people who have so many house guests throughout season. That would drive me insane. I like my privacy and alone time too much. These three are the only people I allow to stay overnight.)
We shut off the lights, but left the TV on so they could watch the ball drop (it was about 11:20), but within about 10 minutes when I had checked on them, they had turned off the TV and were fast asleep. Jan also fell right to sleep and I had to wake him up at midnight for a kiss to welcome in the new year. Yes, we are one wild bunch of partiers, that's for sure!
|Joyfully throwing confetti|
|Happy New Year!|
|Pulling the poppers|