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Family-Friendly New Year's Eve Ideas

Remember when New Year’s Eve meant cute sparkly dresses, late nights and equally late mornings? I do. But since becoming a mom nine years ago, mine are now decidedly more subdued. For the most part, that’s OK. With New Year’s following so closely after the holidays, I’m less inclined to spend my limited “fun” money on a cover charge, $15 martinis and a sitter. Hence, I've come up with 3 Family-Friendly New Year's Eve ideas.

Family-Friendly New Year's Eve Ideas www.TodaysMama.com

Why? Because there are times when I want to do something fun on New Year's Eve with my kids. To pay tribute to the ending of one year and the start of another in a way that includes my kids as well as some company and conversation with my fellow grownups (remember those?).

Do you feel the same? If so, call your fellow party moms and plan a group outing for both kids and parents. The three family-friendly New Year's Eve ideas below can get you started, or perhaps spark a creative idea of your own.

Zoo Year’s Eve

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Now that Santa’s reindeer are off duty, ring in the New Year with them at your local zoo. Many places offer family-friendly New Year-themed events and activities that let kids get a close up look at some of their favorite wildlife. Call or check the website of your local zoo, aquarium, children’s museum, nature reserve or Audubon Chapter to find an event near you.

First Night

Music and singing and puppet shows, oh my! Since the inception of First Night in Boston in 1975, similar events have launched in both big cities and small towns across the country. The indoor and outdoor venues showcase the music and culture of local artists, and most feature family-friendly entertainment options. While there isn’t a central online source cataloging all the First Night locations nationwide, you can find an event near you by searching “First Night” followed by your city or state.

New Year’s in London

Prefer to celebrate the New Year at home? Host a “New Year’s in London” party! My husband John and I stumbled upon this idea a few years ago when we – and our good friends – found ourselves without a sitter for December 31st. Families arrive at 5pm; there is a designated room for the “kids’ party”, where they can watch movies, play games and create modest mayhem with minimal damage. The parents are left in (relative) peace. When it’s 7pm in my hometown outside of Boston, it is midnight in London. We toast the British New Year, and continue the party until the kids (or the parents) are too cranky to go on. Check out this online Countdown clock to find out when different cities around the world will welcome in 2014, and then break out that sparkly dress.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

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