It is a huge understatement to say that 2020 has been difficult, so everyone deserves to celebrate! Your family has made it through 2020, and 2021 will soon be here. Don’t think about the past; look to the future! How is your family going to welcome the New Year? Skating at your local rink? Tobogganing? Enjoying a nice fire and watching your family’s favorite movies? These are all great options to celebrate New Year’s, but let’s add a little visualization to the mix!
Perhaps your family’s resolution is to take another family trip (when safe to do so) and cross it off your bucket list. Maybe it’s a trip to Walt Disney World or Mexico or Europe. On New Year’s Eve, get everyone involved by creating a theme party to represent your ultimate family vacation goal at home.
First, to create an atmosphere of being on vacation, search online to find photos of the desired locale, print them off, and place them around the room where you will be celebrating New Year’s Eve, like the living room or kitchen. With the family, discuss the activities and attractions you’d like to do while on vacation that maybe could be recreated in the comforts of home. Serve food in the theme of the locale, add some music, dancing, a few fun activities, and bam! You have yourself an easy- peasy party!
Here are some ideas on types of vacations and what you can do to create a fun, themed party:
Walt Disney World. Recreate Disney magic by placing printed photos of the rides and attractions you’re dying to experience around your living room and visit the Virtual Disney World channel on YouTube. It has tons of footage of various attractions from around the world - all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride!
Create a magical ambiance by playing some park tunes (“It’s a Small World After All”) or have a dance party! There are many Disney songs to choose from like, “I Wan’na Be Like You” (The Monkey Song) from The Jungle Book, test the family’s Disney Park knowledge with a trivia quiz, make custom homemade Mickey or Minnie ears, binge your favorite Disney movies.
Half the fun of taking a trip to Disney is the food! Recreate the iconic Mickey Mouse logo using Oreo cookies for ears and attach them to oranges, Rice Krispies Treat balls, cupcakes, or place on top of a cake. Other Disney park-themed food to serve? What about tiger tails, Dole pineapple whip, corn dogs, mickey-shaped pizza, grilled cheese and tomato soup, etc.
Mexico. If your family has already vacationed in Mexico, find those vacation photos and have a little slide show to reminisce about the awesome time your family had and to get excited about your next trip. If you have never been to Mexico, think about which area you would like to visit and research what activities are offered: Swimming with turtles or tropical fish, snorkelling, enjoying the sun and sand on a relaxing beach, exploring the various ancient Mayan ruins, etc.
Make fun and colorful Luchador paper masks or Cinco de Mayo sombreros, make Mexican tissue paper flowers to add some indoor color for the winter, hang a piñata, make egg carton maracas, have the kids paint pictures of what they think they will see under the sea or ocean. Add mariachi music and a Mexican Hat Dance and you are transported to Mexico!
If you have younger kids, prepare a nacho bar where everyone can add their own preferred toppings, serve quesadillas or tacos, and blend non-alcoholic cocktails. Of course, authentic Mexican food is more diverse than tacos and salsa. If you have older kids, there are many Mexican dishes to choose from to serve: Carnitas Huevos Rancheros, homemade Churros, Chicken Tamales, Mole Poblano, grilled corn with chipotle-lime butter, to name a few.
Europe. With the kids, get crafty, draw, or paint some famous monuments in Europe your family would like to visit like the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, the Parthenon. Have a fun quiz with the family asking trivia questions about top European destinations or together, research different things to see and do in Europe and which ones appeal most to each family member.
If dreaming of jetting off to France, bring the bistro to you and serve French Onion Soup, quiche, or Beef Bourguignon. If finger foods are more your style, serve croissants, a variety of French cheeses like Brie, Roquefort, Camembert with crackers (for the kids), and sweet French pastries or Crème Brûlée. If going Italian, make your own pizzas or set up a pasta station with a palette of sauce, pasta, and toppings. Add a side of simple Caesar salad and have gelato for dessert!
Camping. Maybe it’s a great family camping trip you all want to take in 2021. Pitch the tent, pull out those sleeping bags and pillows, turn on the fireplace (if you have one), drink some hot chocolate, and get those indoor s’mores going. If the tent doesn’t fit in your living room, I am sure your kids will be eager to make a fort out of sofa cushions, blankets, and sheets (you can also use cardboard and if safe to do so, add some twinkling lights).
Once everyone is cozy under the fort, play games, sing your favorite camp songs, read your favorite bedtime stories of 2020, share scary or funny stories, look at the “stars” (for younger kids, use a flashlight covered with a piece of tinfoil with holes poked in it to create mini constellations. Can they find the Big Dipper?), watch for animals (hide some of your little one’s stuffed animals around the living room and let your little one go searching for “wild animals”). For older kids, weather- permitting, do an outdoor scavenger hunt.
Sick of s’mores? Serve classic camp food like hot dogs, ants on a log, tinfoil dinners.
Dream big, get creative, and transport yourself this New Year’s Eve! 2021 can only get better.
Happy safe and healthy 2021, everyone!
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