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New Year's Eve caps the year's busiest month of ongoing excitement and partying. For some, it's one last chance to celebrate before another year begins; for others it's an opportunity to scale down the frenzied pace of the season. Remember, family traditions don't need to be elaborate in order to be memorable.
Much of your family planning for New Year's Eve will depend on the ages of your children. Pulling traditions from your personal or cultural past and adapting them to your family life can be the foundation of your family celebrations for years to come.
For Diana Scott, mother of two from Calgary, New Year's is a chance to put the finishing touches on a fine Scottish tradition.
"It's good luck to have everything in order for the new year by having all the laundry done, the house clean, the bills paid," says Scott. "Start the new year fresh."
Help your family warm up to the idea of a clean beginning by choosing fun fresh starts for each member of the family: a December 31st haircut for your teen, a new pair of pajamas for your toddler, or individual journals to record the upcoming year's events.
Have a blast from the past
New Year's is often a reflective time when we look back on the past year and make plans -- or resolutions -- for the upcoming one. There's no better time to travel back in time and reflect on special memories. Prepare your favourite dishes from your childhood and share what the world was like then with your children -- when you were their ages. Discuss the type of music you listened to and what kinds of television shows you watched.
For the night's entertainment, retreat from the digital age and play board games from your childhood: Monopoly, Yahtzee or Risk. Or split into teams and play charades.
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Make a time capsule
Have everyone gather pictures, report cards, drawings, and memories to add to the capsule. Decide to leave the capsule sealed until a designated time -- perhaps the following New Year's Day. Add a family journal for everyone to record the important personal events of the previous year. Include resolutions if you like, but try to stick to a family theme and keep the goals manageable.
Host a pajama party
Young children - and even older ones - may have had their fill of pitched excitement. Consider pulling sleeping bags, pillows and blankets into the family room for a mid-winter ‘camp-out.' Read a favourite story in front of the fireplace and make a toast with steaming mugs of hot cocoa to welcome the new year.
Attend a community New Year's event
Check out what's happening in and around your community. City sports centres often have swimming and skating parties to ring in the new year. Large-scale community celebrations include Families First or First Night celebrations, which deliver family-style community parties in an alcohol- and drug-free environment.
This year, gather loved ones near, create special memories and -- most importantly -- have a happy New Year.
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