10 At-Home New Year's Eve Ideas

By Kathryn Trudeau

It’s almost 2021… finally! Woohoo! Even though this New Year’s Eve bash will undoubtedly look different than past celebrations, there’s no reason that this party can’t be one of your best ones yet. Besides, who isn’t ready to say goodbye to 2020?!

With a little planning, you can create a family-friendly, festive NYE bash right in the comfort of your own home.


1. First, Plan Your Snacks

What’s a New Year’s Eve party without tasty food? Growing up, my favorite part of New Year’s Eve parties was the appetizers. My mother made a spread of yummy hors d'oeuvres, which is perfect for snacking while playing games or watching movies. 

Here is a list of kid-approved appetizers for your quarantine-style NYE party:

  • Nacho dip with tortilla chips (In a slow cooker, stick one log of Velveeta, one jar of salsa, and one pound of browned ground beef; cook on low for 6 hours; enjoy!) 
  • Deli meat rolls ups with slices of cheese
  • Brunch buffet (waffle dippers, mini bacon and egg sandwiches, bite-size quiches, etc.)
  • Sliced berries and cheese sticks
  • Apple slices and dip (mix Greek yogurt, honey, and peanut butter for a sweet and healthy dip)
  • Quesadilla platter 

Once you’ve got your snacks laid out, fill your evening with any of the following party activities.


2. Scrapbook Time

2020 sure had its fair share of interesting and unusual moments. Take time to create a 2020 scrapbook. Even if your kids are on the younger side, they’ll appreciate looking back on 2020 years from now. 

Don’t forget to focus on all of your family’s high moments too. What were your special memories in 2020? Maybe it was more time at home as a family? Maybe it was learning to bake bread together? Even if you highlight the funnier moments (like the great toilet paper shortage), don’t forget to focus on all of the good moments too.


3. Board Games

Family game night is a great way to pass the time waiting until midnight, but it’s also great for bonding with your kids. Grab your favorite games and enjoy the evening! 


4. Jammies and Movies

As the evening continues, why not get everyone dressed in jammies for a movie night? From the oldest kids to the littlest baby, there’s something so cozy about snuggling in close for a movie night with the whole family. Pop some fresh popcorn on the stove, grab a few blankets, and get cozy! 


5. Resolutions

What’s a NYE party without resolutions? Set aside 20 minutes for everyone to work on their resolutions together. You can write everyone’s resolutions on one piece of paper, or if your children are old enough, they can write their own resolutions. Place the resolutions in a special spot, so that next year, you can read your resolutions out loud to see how well you did.

For smaller children, here are some resolution ideas:

  • Read XX number of books this year
  • I’m going to try out for the swim team, soccer team, musical, etc.
  • I’m going to help out around the house more
  • I’m going to learn something new (such as a new hobby)
  • I’m going to get better at picking up my toys or bedroom


6. Toast the New Year

Create a family-friendly bubbly drink to toast to the New Year! Each person can take his or her turn to make their own toast. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cranberry-flavored seltzer water topped with orange juice
  • Sparkling grape juice
  • Sparkling cranberry juice
  • Punch (lemon-lime soda, any berry-flavored juice, topped with sherbert)

7. Make a Memory Jar 

While the scrapbook idea focuses on moments from 2020, your memory jar anticipates the memories you will make in 2021. Find a big mason jar or a similar container. You and your children can take turns decorating the jar with permanent markers, hot glue pom-poms, vinyl stickers, or ribbons. 

Keep a stash of colorful cardstock next to the jar. Throughout the next 12 months, write down new and happy memories as you make them. Then, next year, as you ring in 2022, you can sit together and re-read through your best memories of 2021.


8. Create Countdown Bags

Create fun-filled goodie bags for each hour leading up to midnight. You can take simple brown paper lunch bags or small gift bags. Designate each bag for a specific hour. For example, if you start at 6 p.m., label six bags: 6 p.m, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and so on until you get to midnight. Inside each bag can be the instructions for the activity for that hour. 

Activity ideas include:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Board games (if the game doesn’t fit in the bag, just write a note or riddle explaining that it’s game time)
  • Decorate New Year’s Eve cookies (star shaped cookies with sprinkles work well for this)
  • Karaoke time 
  • Making the memory jar
  • Working on the scrapbook
  • Making resolutions
  • New Year’s Eve version of Truth or Dare 

9. Have a Dance Party

Get dressed up, blast your kids’ favorite dance music, and dance! Your little ones might enjoy focusing on a theme. Maybe they dress up in superhero or princess costumes while they dance? Maybe they reenact their favorite musical numbers from their favorite movies? Whatever music they choose, a dance party is a good way to get out the wiggles -- and ensure they sleep good later!


10. Watch the Ball Drop

For years, watching the ball drop in New York City at midnight has been a tradition for many families across the entire country -- and this year is no exception. You can livestream the ball drop from major TV networks. Even if you don’t watch the pre-show, watching the final countdown is a fun way to ring in the new year. 

If you have noisemakers, now is the time to get them out and let your kids celebrate 2021!


For Younger Children

If you have very young children who won’t stay up until midnight, you can do a mock countdown at 8 p.m. -- or whatever time you want them to get ready for bed. 

How are you celebrating 2021?


Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at  www.katietrudeau.com