Welcome the New Year With Family Frivolity

Dear Parents,
Many of you are scurrying around preparing for your celebration of New Year’s Eve. You’re probably not taking time to read a newspaper presently, but if you happen to be, here are a few new thoughts for how to include your family in the celebration, if not this year, perhaps next.
New Year’s is typically a time when parents head out for an extended evening of celebration with friends, leaving children settled in with an expensive baby­sitter. Children usually think New Year’s Eve doesn’t have much to do with them. However, many parents are tiring of this typical adult option, and are choosing a different route that involves their children.
As their family grows in numbers and as children get a little older, many parents decide to include their children in the New Year’s celebratory evening, and that takes on a much different look as far as activities are concerned. Bring out the Martinelli’s rather than the champagne and bring on the noisemakers.
Some families enjoy getting started earlier in the day on the 31st, perhaps going to the Rose Bowl to view the finishing touches being applied to floats. Getting closer up to see the La Cañada Flintridge float being built by locals in its “under the freeway” location, is always fun for children. Many tweens and teens in small communities are able to participate in the fun of float building.
On your last day of the old year, bring a Frisbee and a ball along in the car for the possibility of an outdoor break at a new park — a little family exercise along the way. Or, if there is an appropriate children’s movie playing nearby, go for an early showing.
Continue the afternoon outing with a stop at Vroman’s, and allow each family member to select a new calendar — get ready for 2017. If you didn’t get a chance to see Christmas lights, go now to enjoy them on the way home, and combine with a stop at In-N-Out Burger.
As the nippy eve of a fresh new year begins, hurry home to start new traditions for your family’s New Year’s celebration. Let the children (try) to stay up until midnight and then blow horns together to welcome the new year, ending the evening with a Martinelli’s toast.
In the meantime, as you wait for the New Year to arrive, spend the evening choosing from these or other possible activities:
1. As soon as it’s dark (before heading home) stop at Descanso Gardens to enjoy the Enchanted Light show — plan to eat tacos by the lake and grab a cup of hot chocolate along the way when it starts to get chilly.
2. At home, build a fire in the fireplace and read new Christmas books.
3. Make popcorn and pepper it with peanut M&M’s — whip up some hot chocolate and top it with whipped cream and red sprinkles or crushed candy cane bits.
4. Create a family home video and put it on YouTube.
5. Bring out favorite family board games — let each child choose one, and play them all — you have until midnight.
6. Start a jigsaw puzzle the whole family can enjoy working on.
7. Look at family photos — talk about favorite family memories from the past year and goals for the new year to come.
8. Have a family “thank-you note writing session,” acknowledging holiday gifts received.
9. End the evening with a favorite winter dessert (brownie sundaes with hot fudge sauce? ).
Whatever your family New Year’s Eve looks like this year, may it be a time of reconnection, refreshment and recollection of good holiday times together. Finish 2016 with fun and frivolity, and high hopes as 2017 shows its fresh shiny face.

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