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happy new year! a grand celebration!

Monday, December 26, 2022

How’s everyone doing this morning?

Are you feeling like Santa in the cartoon above or are you full of energy, ready to hit an after Christmas sale or two? Either way, we hope your holiday was magical and memorable!

Laurie and family spent Christmas Eve morning (as is their tradition) enjoying their Christmas Tree cinnamon rolls! Laura and her hubby are excited because today (Monday, December 26) is the day they’re meeting up with their Middles and Little L to celebrate Christmas together!. Lots of family time and snuggles await! Look for us to share more highlights and photos from Christmas 2022 early in the new year!

Do you have plans yet for New Year’s? For each of us, when our kids were growing up, our New Year’s celebrations usually involved gatherings at home with family or close friends. Highlights of our celebrations always included a countdown to the BIG moment and when our kids were little, that would often take place earlier in the day/evening. Today, in our final post of 2022, we share our ideas for creating a festive New Year’s setting and then we revisit fun ways to set the stage for a New Year’s countdown, including favorite activities you can do with all ages to pass the time til midnight arrives!

Will you be hosting a New Year’s celebration this year? Or, will you be having a quiet evening with loved ones? Either way, each of the ideas we are sharing below are sure to add some flair to your holiday gatherings and will provide fun for kids of all ages! If you have Littles joining in the celebration, we suggest having them help as you set the stage together!

🥳 Hide the New Year Baby! Your Littles will love this one! Take a baby doll and attach a sticker that has the new year written on it (i.e. 2023). Then, throughout the celebration, take turns hiding the baby and let others hunt for the “New Year”!

🥳 Make Crackers/Poppers to Break Open at Midnight!! To make the poppers, take a toilet paper tube and wrap tissue paper around it. Tie one end with ribbon. Fill the tube with little prizes - money, stickers, temporary tattoos, candies and fun bandaids are all options to be enjoyed! Tie the other end of the tube with more ribbon. When you are ready to open the poppers, grasp the two ends in your hands, count down from 10 and pull apart! Listen to the squeals as you watch all the prizes go flying!

🥳 Prep Toasting Glasses for the Littles! Let your Littles decorate a plastic glass with markers or stickers. Your Littles will have their own special glass for sparkling juice!

🥳 Have Glow Necklaces and Bracelets or Sparklers Ready to Go! As midnight nears, you can all head outside… both options are such fun additions for ringing in the New Year!

🥳 Bake in the New Year with Breadstick Dough! How fun would it be to add this to your New Year’s Eve menu? The Littles will love making it and eating it!

🥳 Make Your Own Party Hats! A tried and true favorite! Make our own by folding newspaper! Here’s a how-to video for you!

🥳 Shake! Shake! Shake! Make Simple Noisemakers! To make the noisemakers, fold a paper plate in half. Staple the open side together, leaving a small hole. Fill the plate with popcorn or rice or dry beans. Finish stapling. Decorate with markers, glitter, stickers and ribbon! Then make some noise at midnight!

🥳 Confetti Time! Give everyone a different color of paper. Rip the paper into small pieces and place them all into a bowl. Mix well! Right before midnight, everyone grabs 2 handfuls in preparation of the countdown!! (It is best to have everyone PROMISE beforehand that they will do their part after and pick up every little piece on the floor… we speak from experience!)

Here’s one more DIY decoration we found online that would be simple enough for Littles to help with! So fun!

Woohoo! We hope some of these ideas will help you get ready to

ring in the new year with a bang!

We’ve got one more way that you can make your New Year’s celebration extra special! You and your family can celebrate the ending of one year and the fresh start of a new one by setting up hourly countdown bags. Each hour, leading up to midnight, the Littles are invited to open up the corresponding countdown bag. Inside each bag will be all the details and supplies needed to complete that hour’s fun task. The Littles will be excited and sure to love it. While this activity will definitely take some prep on the front end, it is a fun way to keep the kiddos busy all day and evening long!

Getting Started

You will need to decide, ahead of time, how many hours you want to cover. We did this with another family with two kids the same age as ours and we were spending the whole day and overnight with them. We decided to begin at 2:00 pm and go until midnight. The other mom and I made up bags with items in them to support activities for the kids to do. We added a cute clock on the outside of each bag with the time that the bag should be opened and we wrote a note inside, too! Then we set the bags up on a staircase so that they would “count down” to midnight. At the designated hour the kids would take the bag, open it up, read the activity and then complete the task.

Hourly Activities - The Options are Endless!

Below are some of the activity ideas we put in the Countdown Bags.. As you will see, you can also use some of the ideas we shared in the last section of this post (Setting the Stage) as hourly activities, too! We’d recommend alternating active and non-active (or quieter) activities! We found that to work quite well!

🎉Go Outside and Play in the Snow! Adding new mittens or warm socks or a snowman making kit to the bag would make this activity extra fun! Of course, you’d need to live in a winter climate for this to work!

🎉Warm Up with Hot Chocolate & Cookies! We put hot chocolate packets and marshmallows in the bag!

🎉Shred Confetti for the Countdown! The bag contained colorful sheets of paper for the kids to shred!

🎉Write a List of New Year’s Resolutions! We put a little notebook and some pens in the bag. You can also have the kids write their memories of the past year instead!

🎉Take a Quiet Time Break and Read! Books are added to the bag. Building in this time to relax will pay off as the celebration continues!

🎉Play a Game! Put a game or two into the bag - Uno was always a family favorite!

🎉Make a Playlist for the New Year’s Party! Again, depending on the age of your Littles, have them write their list in a notebook you’ve included in the bag.

🎉Set the Table for Dinner! We put New Year’s napkins in the bag. You could also add some other decorations (confetti, place holders) to make the table festive!

🎉Blow Up Balloons for a New Year’s Balloon Drop! Of course, this bag will contain balloons to blow up! Here’s a link to make an easy balloon drop!

🎉Make Crackers/Poppers for New Year’s Fun!! Include the materials for this project in the bag. The Directions for this project are found later in this post!

Just in case you need more ideas to include in your Countdown Bags, here are some additional options!

Do a Craft Together! (add a craft project to the bag)

Make Cookies! (cookie ingredients go in the bag))

Set Up an Obstacle Course and Run It 5 Times! (put medals in the bag)

Plan the New Year’s Party! Will we watch TV? Dance? Sing? Tell jokes? (a decorated piece

of paper to write down ideas should be included in the bag)

Let’s Color! (add New Year’s coloring sheets and markers/crayons to the bag)

Take a Twilight (or Nighttime) Walk Together! Have you ever done this? One of Laura’s

favorite memories from when her girls were growing up! (put a flashlight in the bag - you

can use it during your walk, or not!)

Create a New Year’s Bucket List! Fill in a 2023 calendar with fun things you want to do in

the new year! (be sure to add a 2023 calendar to the bag!)

More Countdowns to Check Out!

We are adding these two versions of a New Year’s Countdown to our library of resources! Both seem to be fun alternatives with a bit of a different twist to our Countdown Bags!

Keep in mind that a New Year’s Countdown is a great thing to plan with family or friends!! It can involve some degree of prep (creating bags, balloons or chains as described above) or you can simply set a timer to go off each hour and then someone grabs an activity from a bowl or basket for the group to do together! Any way you look at it, these activities and adventures - geared toward Grands, Middles & Littles, or any combination of the three - will provide hours of New Year’s memories!

During these past six weeks, we’ve had such fun sharing our experiences, resources and memories with you all as we explore the holiday season and all it offers! This is our final “Sneak Peek” post and we, too, are looking forward to what’s ahead in 2023!

While we’ve said it before, it bears repeating… THANK YOU for taking the time to read our blog and for your many words of encouragement! Each has meant the world to us and your ongoing feedback has helped us in countless ways! We look forward to sharing more content regularly in the new year!

As a reminder, we are planning to take some time away next week before getting into a regular routine in January with posts that are short and sweet twice each week!

We will be back on Monday, January 9 - that day we’ll take a look back at our own family holidays when we share our post, Life Lately… A Holiday Recap from the Grands! Later in the week and then throughout the month of January our content will include a variety of topics including Household Happies (Cotton Balls and Q-tips), A Winter Wonderland (of Crafts, Books and Music), Sneezy the Snowman, Singing in the Car and A Hot Chocolate Bar! If you’d like to subscribe so you don’t miss a single post, tap the link and scroll to the bottom of the page to do so. Thanks to everyone who has already taken this step!

Until then, you can always follow along with us during our time away as we will continue to post new content on Instagram, right here @Our_Grand_Lives!

See you back here in 2023!

We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week:

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