New Year's Eve is that one special night reserved for ponderous reflection and ambitious resolutions. If you're lucky, you get to do it surrounded by friends and family; if you're brave there'll be children present, too. And while it may make you go that extra mile, a family-friendly New Year's Eve party will be much appreciated by friends with children and one to remember for years to come. Here's how to pull it off.
Get your family-friendly party off to a great start by mailing out a blow horn as the invitation, attaching a piece of paper to the horn with the party details. Make sure to ask everyone to dress up in party gear.
The last supper
When dealing with children, rule number one is keep them well fed. Since this will be their last meal for 2010, make it fun. Plan a simple but popular meal such as a sausage sizzle or homemade pizza (the older children can prepare dinner for the younger ones). And as a special treat, bake a cake and sing happy birthday to the incoming year (this is a great way for young children to celebrate the new year if they can't stay awake for the real thing).
New Year's resolutions
Teach children about goal setting by holding an open discussion around resolutions. The adults can lead by discussing what it is they hope to achieve in the new year and the children can follow suit. For a touch of adventure, make a list recording one resolution each and bury it in the garden not to be exhumed until New Year's Eve 2011.
Create a cosy den in your home with pillows, mattresses and blankets. Hire some age-appropriate films and as the evening wears on encourage the children to relax and enjoy the entertainment (popcorn and ice-cream will help set the mood). This is especially handy for when the adults become loud.
Bubbles and mocktails
Any parent knows that the "monkey see, monkey do" cliché is well proven, so when whipping up trays of bubbles and cocktails for the adults, prepare something similar for the children. Bubbly grape juice and mocktails will instil a sense of occasion and make little ones feel special.
If little ones are attending they may not stay up for midnight celebrations no matter how hard they try. Have a bedroom available for the children to sleep in. If you don't have enough extra bed space, try top and tailing or for a real sense of adventure, pitch a tent on the back lawn and ask parents to bring sleeping bags.
Happy new year!