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New Year's with the kids

For a family man, the opportunities for taking your best lady out for a New Year's Eve on the town are few and far between. However, you can still have quite a lot of fun with the kids by getting a little creative. Here are some ideas to try.

For New Year's Eve
1. Stay home (it's safer) and let the kids stay up a little -- even a lot -- later. This is the one night perfectly suited for staying up late.

2. Celebrate a New York New Year's though you may not be on the East Coast. You can ring in 2005 by 9 pm.

3. Cook a special dinner together. Give it a theme. Make a "new" dish with foods your kids never tried before.

4. Make your own noisemakers (fold a paper plate, staple it a few times, fill with beans, and close it up with more staples). Also, make party hats, a New Year's ball, and pretend fireworks and pop popcorn and shoot streamers.

5. Make a time capsule together and bury it in the backyard (that night or the next day).

6. Throw a pajama party. Eat on a blanket in the living room in front of a movie marathon or play board games. Or, dress up. Make it a special occasion with formal clothes. If you have a baby, dress him/her up as "Baby New Year." Make Dad "Old Man Last Year."

7. Invite another family over and make it a slumber party. Or let the adults of your kids' friends go out while you watch the children. You get to go out next year.

8. Toast with sparkling cider.

9. Talk about what you loved about the year that was. Plan things you'd like to do in the New Year. Write it all down for a family scrapbook.

10. Take pictures and/or videotape the evening. Make this a tradition for future trips down memory lane.

For New Year's Day
1. Watch the Rose Parade. You can tape it or watch one of the frequent repeats.

2. Make your own floats with shoeboxes and rose petals (buy flowers or pick them from your garden).

3. Eat breakfast in bed.

4. Go out and plant a tree for the New Year.

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