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New Year's Fun

December 30, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
As a child, New Year's was always sort of a mix between a distorted blur and a non event. Sort of like fourth grade, it seemed there was a lot to do and a bunch of requirements with flimsy reasons behind them but ironclad deadlines and consequences.

Rules changed in weird ways for New Year's too. Think about it. For the rest of the year, in my family we were supposed to be in bed, being quiet at a reasonable hour and we were not supposed to eat sugary snacks after we'd had our dinner and possible dessert. We'd just been through "he sees you when you're sleeping" hazing too. Now, suddenly, we were supposed to stay up until past midnight, eat some kind of sugary donut pretzel thing (it's a Polish tradition) AND bang pots and pans on the front porch too.

If we tried this behavior any other night of the year, we'd have found ourselves in the Brig, Levenworth, dessert-free penitence-ridden punishment territory until we were 37. Or at least until New Year's.

When it wasn't like that for me as a child, it was just a big blur of remembering to write the correct year on my fourth grade homework and trying to sleep with a bunch of pot bangers making a racket out my bedroom window.

Now that I have my own child, I'm trying to avoid the confusing blur for her. Maybe these are things you'd like to try with your kids so it's fun and memorable for your kids too.

First, let's be clear, Eve has no real concept of a year, so whether it's new or old doesn't matter to her. As long as she knows there will be Christmas and her birthday and Halloween and summer time again, the number is superfluous. Here's a fun way to show your kids that kind of a year. Get some black and white construction paper and cut six white strips and six black strips approximately 1.5 inches wide and 6 inches long. You're going to make a paper chain that has one link for each month of the year. Alternating black links with white links makes it easy and lovely and black and white are elegant New Year's colors.

Before you assemble your chain you need to make it meaningful. Start with the color of your choice. Using a metallic marker (silver looks lovely) write January on one side. On the other side, write at least one thing you'll look forward to in that month. Ours is sled riding and a snow ball battle. Now find a place to hang your chain. Eve and I made one last year and all year long we remembered making it together on New Year's and each month we got excited to tear off a link and look forward to something new! Also, no pots were banged in the process.

Another fun thing for New Year's is a clock pizza! That's right, whether you're counting down to noon Year's or New Year's, this is a fun food to serve for your family or your party. Just use your pizza toppings. (we used green and red peppers) to make clock hands and numbers going around your pie. Save the twelve for midnight!

To make it fun for kids or a party, have a number hunt! Just cut small squares of construction paper and use glitter glue to put a number (1-12) on each piece. Wait until the glitter glue dries and then hide them in funny places in your home. See who finds the most numbers. It's fun if you make more than one set (use regular numbers, roman numerals, write out the words, even use binary numbers if you want). It's just a fun way to keep the party moving and guessing throughout the day or evening.

If I don't stop writing it will be 2013 and you'll still be reading! What will you be doing for New Year's? I hope you make it memorable!


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