With this year soon coming to a close, it’s time to start making New Year’s Eve plans. To be honest, in recent years I haven’t given it much thought. The holidays are always so busy and I’ve always felt like I didn’t have the resources to plan and execute another celebration. (I couldn’t keep my eyes open much past 10 pm anyway, so it made sense to keep our New Year celebrations pretty low key!) But, I’m starting to think that I’ve been missing out. There are lots of ways to make New Year’s Eve your own, whether you have young children or are ready for a child-free night on the town with your partner. Read on for a few of my favourite frugal new year’s celebration ideas!
  • Throw your own “time-shift” New Years celebration – Since little ones can’t stay up until midnight, why not throw an early kid-friendly party and invite your friends and their families?  To keep your budget from derailing, request that each family bring a snack to share and set the start time for after dinner. The “midnight” countdown can start just before 9 pm, ensuring that the kids are home in bed at a reasonable hour and you won’t require toothpicks to keep your eyes open!
    • Some fun ideas for your party:
      • Sparkling water or ginger ale and orange juice makes for a fun, fuzzy drink for the kids to toast the New Year.
      • In the days leading up to the party, ask your school-age kids to make hats for all of the guests; it’s a great activity to keep them busy during the winter school break!
      • Pick a theme and encourage your little guests to bring decorations or accessories that go with the theme. (For example, a paper flower lei would be appropriate at a tropical-themed party.) Kids love seeing their artwork on display and will get a thrill out of being complimented for their handiwork.
  • Plan a progressive dinner meal – If you’re friendly with your neighbours, there’s nothing more fun than a progressive dinner. Kids will love the novelty of travelling from house to house and trying new dishes along the way. Be sure to wear your party hats as you’re walking down the street between courses -that’s half the fun!
  • Save on babysitting – If you’ve got a few friends with school-age children, arrange for a babysitter to watch all of the kids together – and make it a sleepover. The kids will have a blast hanging out, while the adults have a meal and celebrate together. If you’re on a tight budget, plan a potluck celebration and have everyone bring a fun, festive drink to share. If you want to splurge, (you can use the money you’ll save from sharing a babysitter!), go for a nice evening out at a restaurant.
  • Make it fancy – Whether you choose to celebrate a quiet New Year at home, or ring in the new year with a gaggle of friends, make it special by toasting with a fun drink in a fancy glass. My daughter was over the moon the first year we let her stay up late and have fizzy juice in a grown-up glass. We took a picture of the three of us in our pyjamas, toasting the New Year. It’s a tradition now… one we plan on sharing with her little brother when he’s old enough.

The New Year is a time for reflection, thankfulness and looking forward to the year ahead. Wishing you much health, happiness and prosperity!