Now that you’re a grown-up with kids, knocking back fancy cocktails at the hottest nightclub in town and dancing up a storm until sunrise is no longer an option, but that doesn’t mean New Year’s has to be boring. With this SheKnows guide to fun, kid-friendly ways to celebrate the New Year, you can create some awesome family memories and perhaps start your own annual New Year family tradition.
Pick out a couple of good family movies like the latest release from Disney, Santa Paws 2, make a couple of big bowls of popcorn and ice-cream spiders, turn the lights down and the volume up.
Throw a Disney-themed party
Invite a few families over for a Disney-themed night. Dress yourself and the kids as Sleeping Beauty, Mickey Mouse or one of the cute pups from Santa Paws. Invent your own signature Disney-themed mocktails; the kids will love the Disney-inspired menu with Pluto pups and Mickey Mouse cheese jaffles. If you have a pool area, decorate it with lots of glowsticks and play music from High School Musical or Camp Rock.
Back-to-back board game championship
Drag out all those old games which have sat in the spare room, bring in supplies of popcorn and drinks and settle in for a night of family board games. The winner of each game gets to pick the next game played. Uno, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Billionaire and Quelf are fun ways to spend an evening. The person who wins the most games is crowned the family champion.
Turn your home into a theatre restaurant
Make your family’s all-time favourite meal. After dinner have a cabaret show where each member of the family has to put on an act or make a slideshow of family memories throughout the year and borrow a data projector to beam it up on the wall of the lounge room.
Organised family New Year’s Eve celebrations
Head to Mooloolaba for a kid-friendly, alcohol-free night on the Esplanade. Celebrations kick off at 4 p.m. with screenings of Happy Feet 2 and The Lorax, a special performance by Alvin and the Chipmunks and fireworks (two displays, one at 8:30 p.m. for families with small children who want to leave early and also at midnight). Aussie rock bands, You Am I and The Stonefields will perform. The information centre will provide wristbands for kids in case they get lost.
Party at Taronga Zoo. Bring a picnic and enjoy the best vantage point in Sydney to see the Sydney Harbour fireworks in a family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy animal encounters with keepers, zoo access until dark and live entertainment. Kids under four enter free. Limited tickets are available, however, if you can’t get tickets to Taronga Zoo, there are lots of other great spots around Sydney where you can watch the fireworks for free.
Wet ‘n’ Wild on the Gold Coast has a New Year’s Eve tradition. Details are still to be confirmed but rides are open until 8:30 p.m., with a movie screening in the dive-in pool. The theme park is a generally good vantage point to see the fireworks display at Coomera.
There are also organised family firework displays for all major centres around Australia.