I’ve partnered with Bounty to bring you these fun ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve with your children.
With 5 kids, when New Year’s Eve rolls around, there’s not much of a chance of my husband and me to get away for the evening. We’ve been celebrating New Year’s Eve with our kids for quite a few years now and, although it’s not the same as going to a party with our adult friends, we still manage to have a blast every year! In fact, December has been so busy this year, I’m looking forward to an evening with my kids where I can be in my comfy sweatshirt and jeans, eat and have fun!
Now that some of our kids are getting older, New Year’s Eve is even more fun because we can make our own party to enjoy as a family! If you’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve with your children this year, I thought I’d share our plans with you. Maybe you’d like to try some of these ideas for your own family this year!
New Year’s Eve Family Celebration Ideas
One of the best things about a party is the food, right? You can make the food fun without going through a lot of trouble. One nice thing about celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids is that they don’t expect or even want fancy food. They want yummy food that they know and love. (I’m okay with that too!)
We like to do taco bars with our kids! Here are some tips I’ve found that help to improve taco night at our home.
Use Bounty Paper Towels to Absorb Excess Fat From the Ground Beef
After browning your ground beef, rather than draining and getting your strainer dirty, you can easily use a Bounty sheet to soak up the fat. Just move the ground beef to one side of the pan and line the other with Bounty paper towels. Then gently tilt the pan and allow the Bounty to absorb the excess fat – it always amazes me how it only takes one sheet!
Fry Your Tortillas
Growing up, my mom never purchased fresh tortillas and fried them for tacos. She just always purchased the hard crunchy taco shells. When I married my husband I was introduced to fried white corn tortillas for tacos and, wow, I never knew what I was missing!
It’s really simple to fry tortillas and the results are worth the little bit of extra work! Just warm your oil on medium heat and then fry shells to desired crispness. After they have been fried, remove from the oil and dry them on some Bounty. I used the Select-A-Size towels and fold them over so you can use one towel for 2 tortillas.
Use Toothpicks To Hold Tacos Together for Younger Kids
I have a few young kids and I learned this trick that makes taco night a lot less messy! Make sure you don’t make your tortilla too crispy when you fry it. Fill it with the desired fillings for your child and then use a toothpick to hold it together. The filling stays in so much better this way!
Make Your Tortilla Chips and Salsa Taste Restaurant-Quality
I love getting chips and salsa when we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. One day the thought occurred to me that I could make our own chips and salsa at home taste much more like the ones we got at the restaurant by simply frying them for a few seconds. I did and it works! You’ll want to use either a deep fryer or, if you are frying tortilla shells already for your tacos, you can use that oil as well. Heat the oil on low-medium heat and then drop your chips in a few at a time. They really only need to fry for maybe 15 seconds.
Other Main Course Ideas
If your family doesn’t like tacos, here are a few other fun food ideas you could try for your New Year’s Eve family party:
- Pizza Bar – get pre-made individual pizza crusts or make your own fresh crusts and then everyone gets to top their own pizza with whatever they want!
- Baked Potato Bar – Fix baked potatoes for everyone and then have lots of toppings available, like sour cream, chives, green onions, bacon, cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and any other toppings you like. A little tip I use, if you don’t want to wait around for them to cook in the oven is to wash your potato, prick it a few times with a fork, wrap it in a damp sheet of Bounty, and microwave for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your potato and the watt of your microwave. Because Bounty can really lock in moisture, potatoes come out soft, hot, and delicious!
- Cold Cereal Bar – Gather up all of your cereal boxes for a fun, easy night of cereal! My kids love it when we do this – they even sometimes mix cereals together.
- Breakfast For Dinner – We often get busy in the morning and don’t have time for a huge breakfast. This is another great fun option for families!
Crystal Ball Drop Sugar Cookies Recipe
Do you watch the ball drop? We do! This year I’m making Crystal Ball Drop Sugar Cookies in honor of this iconic New Year’s Eve symbol.
They are so easy to make too! Here’s how:
Start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. I’ve shared one of my favorite “from scratch” recipes below but honestly, if you’re busy, just grab refrigerated dough from the grocery store. The kids are happy either way!
Ingredients for Crystal Ball Drop Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together until well blended. Add in vanilla extract, almond extract, and egg and blend together until mixed. Stir in dry ingredients by hand.
Chill dough for an hour or until you can handle it to roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar and bake until just starting to get golden on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on the tray for 2 minutes then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Next, you want to make the icing. Here’s the icing recipe I use. It’s super easy.
Simple Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
- 1/2 cup of melted butter (1 stick)
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 4 teaspoons of milk
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Wisk all ingredients together until well blended.
- Spread icing on cookies then place in refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes.
- Once the cookies have cooled, use a damp sheet of Bounty to smooth out the icing so it’s nice and even. One reason why I only leave this step to Bounty is because it won’t leave any lint behind like those other brands.
- Sprinkle gold and silver sprinkles on your cookies.
I was quite pleased with how these cookies turned out. They are so festive for New Year’s Eve and I know my kids are going to love them!
Make Fountain-Quality Cola Soda at Home
Have you ever noticed how much better soda typically tastes when you get it from directly from the soda fountain at your favorite restaurant? Yeah, we did too! We also noticed that some places taste better than others. My husband did a bit of research, trial, and error and came up with a recipe that lets you make fountain-quality cola soda at home!
It’s a little bit of work but SO worth it for special occasions, like New Year’s Eve. Here’s how you fix it:
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- Grated zest from 1 lime
- Grated zest from 2 medium size oranges
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 section of a star anise pod (crushed)
- 2 teaspoons of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Your favorite cola soda
In 2 quarts saucepan combine citrus fruit zests, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, ginger, vanilla extract plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. While that is simmering, combine sugars into a large bowl. Line a colander using a Bounty sheet (or 2 if they are Select-A-Size) and strain liquid mixture through a colander into the bowl of sugar – you’ll be amazed at how well Bounty catches all of the zest without sliding past into the bowl. Mix together until all of the sugar has dissolved.
To make the fountain soda, simply mix about 2 tablespoons of the homemade syrup with about 8 ounces of your favorite cola. Feel free to adjust this to your own taste preferences.
The other thing you’ll need for your New Year’s Eve party at home is entertainment! Here are a few ideas you can try with your kids while you wait for the ball to drop.
Ball Drop Pinata
The kids are so excited for this activity this year! They are even more excited since they helped me to make it. I purchased a package of circular balloons and we made a pinata to resemble the Times Square ball! It’s so easy to make this yourself. Here’s how you do it:
- Circular Balloon
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Gold and/or Silver Glitter
Make sure you leave a few days to make this project since you’ll need drying time. Blow up the balloon until it reaches a nice, circular shape. Mix together equal parts of flour and water. It should be wet enough that you can get strips of Bounty wet and wipe off the excess. If it doesn’t seem to be wet enough, just add more water until you reach the right consistency. I used the Select-A-Size towels for this craft. At first, I was tearing the Bounty sheets into smaller pieces but then I realized how well it could absorb the mixture that I could actually put the full sheet on without any problems and save a lot more time.
Dip the Bounty sheets into the water/flour mixture and wipe off any excess then spread over the balloon. I had my children helping with this so I can tell you, it doesn’t need to be perfect! Just get it as smooth as possible.
Cover the balloon except for a small hole opening near the top, making sure you have at least 2 full layers of Bounty on it. You will also want to attach a string. Put it between layers and make sure it is well covered so it will stay in place. Then let it dry completely.
I used Bounty for this craft because the quilted nature of the towels is great when it’s time to put on the glitter! Spread glue all over the paper towels that have dried on the ballon, then cover it with glitter. Let dry again. Recheck the balloon at this point to make sure you have covered everything in glitter. At first, I was going to do all of ours with silver glitter but we started to run out, so I also mixed in some gold glitter and it turned out really well! Once fully dry, then you can pop the balloon, fill the ball with candy, and hang in a safe location until ball drop time!
If you can drop it from somewhere high, you may be able to have it burst open without needing the children to hit it with sticks, but hitting it with sticks is always an option when it’s time to break it open!
I know, I know, you’ll have glitter in your home for a month, but it’s so worth it! It also doubles as great New Year’s Eve decor!
Card Games/Board Games
If your kids are like mine, they probably got a new game or two for Christmas. New Year’s Eve is a great time to break out those board games and play together as a family!
My kids love a good dance off! This is a great way to burn off some of their energy early on in the night!
Indoor Snowball Fight
My kids love snow but I hate the cold! This is a fun twist on the snowball fight where I don’t have to go outside! It’s simple. We just take Bounty paper towels and bunch them into balls. Get them wet and squeeze out the excess water. Everyone gets a few “snowballs” and we have a blast running through the house throwing them at each other. And you can always reuse the Bounty sheets for clean up after the NYE celebration. That’s what I call good, clean fun!
Share Your Favorite and Worst Memories From the Year
Sometimes life gets busy and we forget to just talk and listen to each other. New Year’s Eve is a great time to sit down as a family and go one by one around the room as everyone talks about their best and worst memories from the year.
Share Resolutions or Goals for 2019
It’s always great to have resolutions or goals. It’s also a good thing to share these things with your children. Let them know that even though you are adult, there are still things in life you are working towards and then listen to some of their goals too. You might be surprised at what they have to say!
I hope this post has given you a few ideas for fun things you can do with your children this upcoming New Year’s Eve. What better way to ring in the new year than with the ones we love most?!