Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Happy family with face masks celebrating new years eve

7 ideas for a fun New Year’s Eve at home

Elevate your 'stay home' game to ring out 2021 and ring in 2022.

This was written for New Year’s Eve 2020, but remains totally relevant for 2021:

Forget what you might normally do to ring in the new year. It’s New Year’s Eve 2020, and we’re doing things differently, so let’s plan a fun family celebration that’s safe, cozy and still very festive.

Maybe you’ve already been working on this (in which case, do tell us what’s on your agenda!) but if not, here are some ideas for New Year’s Eve 2020:

Fun food. I’m planning fondue at my house, but you could make your own pizza, put out an appetizer buffet or introduce everyone to something new, like an array of interesting cheeses, for instance.

Festive drinks. While bubbly is definitely an adult tradition, there are fizzy options for kids, too. Sparkling juices, ginger ale (with add-ins!) and maybe this is the time to introduce kids to the grand traditions of the Shirley Temple or the Roy Rogers.

Music and dance. Have a family karaoke party. (If you aren’t already familiar with this, YouTube is full of karaoke tracks for all of your favorite songs.) Or just put on tunes and dance. Parents can introduce kids to the hits of their era, and vice versa.

Pretend like you’re at the Space Needle. Only without the crowds and the cold and damp. Organizers promise a virtual/digital show that will “take over the sky,” and you can watch it live beginning at 11:35 p.m. on KING 5 and KONG-TV or streamed on KING 5 and Space Needle website.

Crafts. Why not? I know one “tween” girl who loves nothing more than to engage her father in some sort of DIY project. Make party hats, streamers, silly New Year’s jewelry, new art for the walls. Make a bit of a mess!

Games. Get out some of your favorites, or try something new. Do a Zoom game with the people you’d like to be celebrating in person with. Ideas from our game expert:


Reflect, at least a bit. It’s been a year, hasn’t it? We don’t need to dwell on the negative, but the turning of the calendar feels like a natural time to talk about what has passed and what is to come. What did we learn from a year of forced isolation? What lessons do we carry forward from the racial justice movement? How will we strive to improve ourselves and our community in 2021? Pro tip: Attempt these discussions before everyone gets too tired.

Food for thought:

Tips for creating new year’s resolutions with kids

How to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in your family


Word to the wise: I saw a New Year’s movie rec list somewhere (there are tons of them!) that suggested “The Poseidon Adventure.” We watched that one year and it didn’t fly well with an 8-year-old. Your experience may vary.

Have a happy and safe new year. Here’s to 2022!

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.