How to Plan a New Years Eve Party for Families

 

Our plans for a New Years Eve party for our family go’s something like this: My husband and I struggle to keep our eyes open as we sit on our cozy sofa awaiting the fall of the iconic NYC Ball to slowly spiral down in Time Square. As the clock hands move near midnight and the New Year approaching our eyes snap open to the sounds of cheers and toot’s of blowing horns.  Another year has passed and our attempt to have a New Years Eve party for our small family has been less than exciting.

This year I am hoping that it might be different because my last homeschooler, the last child, is 14 years old and although he is the ultimate introvert, he is interested in having family friends over for the evening.  The need for a New Years Eve Party plan has arisen.

I am confronted with the challenge with creating a New Year’s Eve Party that is fun for teens and pleasant enough for the moms and dads. If your New Year’s Eve party is for your family than you can scale down but it is all applicable and will help you have a lot of fun. 

  1. The Family Meeting
  2. Your Budget
  3. The Guest List
  4. Your Party Theme
  5. The Arrival Time
  6. Send Invitations or Tweets?
  7. How to Decorate
  8. The Snacks and Drinks
  9. Party Games

The Family Meeting

In the beginning stages of  planning the party you are going to sit down and listen to what he, in our case, has in mind for his New Years Party.   This is where you mindfully listen without interrupting. In our case my son had no idea what he might want to do so I was able to make suggestions that he liked.  It was that easy.

The fundamentals of your party:

What is your budget?

Who are you going to invite?  Your guest list and invitations.

What will be your theme? Black and gold, Gamer Night, colorful, whatever you can imagine.

What games and activities will you have?  

When will the party start and end?

How are you going to decorate?

What will you serve for snacks and drinks?

 

The Budget

You need to decide on how much you want to spend on your New Year’s Eve party.  Knowing your budget will be the guide for everything on your list.

The Guest List

Using your budget will help you decide on how many friends to invite. The bigger the invite list the more food and paper supplies might be needed. It will also help to ensure that you don’t forget someone that you would not want to leave out.

Your Party Theme

You can go the traditional route with black and gold but why not change it up a little. For an example of a party theme I will use “Gaming into the New Year”. Using that example the balloons could be pearl red and white and when you laid the party favors on a coordinating table cloth, they would be eye catching. Use games from the year that were popular and lay the game boards down as the base for your center piece. You get the idea.

The Arrival Time

This largely depends on what type of party you and your family decided to have. Even if it is you, your spouse and your kids. A good time is 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm.

Send Invitations or Tweets

Right away I thought “phone calls” but I remembered that today we send Facebook Invites, Instagram, Twitter and the list goes on.  If there is time a nice mailed invitation makes your party special. Evite and Greenvelope are online invite options that I am familiar with.

How to Decorate

This is my favorite part of having parties.  I am going to continue to use the “Gaming into the New Year” theme as our example.

I always do what I call “a walk through” of the space to get ideas of what my guests are going to see and how much space do we need.  Let’s start with the entrance.

Think about how you can convey the theme you have decided on. You definitely want to have New Year’s “fun” look. Using party favors to decorate with is also a nice addition for the overall look.

Balloons in bunches or arches at your entrance. For our theme I see red and gold colored balloons.

Cardboard cutouts for the “Gaming into the New Year” theme I was thinking of Rich Uncle Pennybags inviting the guests in.

Lights wrapped around pillars and strung in the windows.

What will your guests see and smell when walk into your home?  The smell of cookies and peppermint? A table set for snacks and treats? Balloons floating on the ceiling?

It is important that your home is inviting and comfortable.  You can add colorful pillows. Clear flat surface space so guests can put their snacks and drinks down. You might need to move furniture around or take furniture pieces out and bring other pieces of furniture in to create the space you want.  Throw sitting pillows on the floor to make it comfortable for children to sit if they want to.

The Snacks and Drinks

Everyone’s favorite at my house. Snacks and drinks can be as simple or complicated as you choose.  From chips and salsa to hummus and vegetables whatever puts a smile on your face.


If you want to make some fun sugary treats check out The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook.  My son watches Youtube cooking shows and that’s how he found Rosanna Pansino. In her cookbook she has cleaver ideas for Italian cream Sodas, cheese cake and the simple sugar cookie.

Nerdy Nummies making The Best Gingerbread Cookies Recipe Ever!


Once you have your New Years Eve snacks and drinks displayed you want to place your food at the end of the room to create space for the families to play games and hang out.  This also directs your guest to mingle first before grabbing goodies to eat.

Party Games

These family friendly games make it easier for your friends to get to know each other. There is no need for people to try and make conversation. Just a need for laughter.

Charades This link is a charade generator and gives great ideas for your game!

Pictionary

Giants,Wizards, Elves is like Rock, Paper, Scissors but sounds like tons of laughing and fun!

Musical Chairs with a twist.

I hope this helps you in having a fun evening with enough to keep those eyes open long enough to watch watch the ball drop in Time Square. 

Tell everyone what your family does for New Years Eve in the comment section below.

 

Beginners Guide to Homeschool Lesson Planning with Google Calendar

There are many advantages to lesson planning and keeping your sanity is one of them.  When I finally came to my senses it was back in the middle ages (late 1990’s) of easy to use online lesson planning printables.  There were some that I truly liked such as the free planners at DonnaYoung.org.  She also created an Excel spreadsheet that was simple to use.  The only downfall to online printables and spreadsheets is having to write everything into the planner or a lot of copy and paste.  However, It was still more efficient than the other options.

I don’t recall where the idea of using Google Calendar came about but I thought it was a brilliant idea. It was one of those “Why didn’t I think of that.” moments.  At the time I was already using a pre-planned curriculum and while our homeschool would have run much smoother if a lesson planner had been used I didn’t try it until this year.  Sometimes I wonder why I waited.   I can color code, repeat days without using “copy and paste”, share and easily add unexpected activities and lessons. It will make your homeschool life easier. You can watch the short video or read how I plan my lessons with Google Calendar below.

“If I had my way, I would remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead.” ― Roald Dahl Click To Tweet

  1. Login to your Google account.  If you don’t have a Google account you can visit here to create one.

    Login on to Google
    Login on to Google.
  2. Once you have logged in open Google Calendar 

Google Calendar in month view.
Google Calendar

Creating the Calendar

3. On the left side, you will see ADD A FRIENDS CALENDAR.  Click on the plus sign and click the drop-down and go to New Calendar.

Create a New Calendar
Add a Friends Calendar.

4. You are on the Settings page where you will create your new calendar.  This is where you add a name and description for your calendar.  I have named mine Homeschool and in the description, I like to have the school year and maybe the students’  name. If the state you live in requires more information you may want to add it to the description or add a link to a Google Doc that has the necessary details that your state law requires. Save your new calendar by clicking Create Calendar.

Creating a new calendar

 Tip #1

You can share the calendar with your students!  To do that click on the calendar you just created that is visible on the sidebar.  Click on the arrow and a menu appears.  There are several options but for now, you are going to Share with Specific People. Click and on the right, you are taken to the section to Add People.   Follow the prompts and remember to SEND.

Tip #1 Share your Homeschool Calendar
Tip #1 Share your Homeschool Calendar

5. Let’s add your main lesson/topic/unit study to the calendar.  For this, I prefer to be in MONTH view which you can find at the top right between the search icon and the gear.  Select the date you are going to start and click in that box.  You can also click on the RED circle located in the right corner.   A pop-up will appear.  Go straight to MORE OPTIONS. That will take you to the page where you will be able to add all the details.

Adding Your Main Lesson
Adding Your Main Lesson

6. For this example, the main lesson is named LITERATURE/LANGUAGE ARTS.  Because this study will last 4-6 weeks the date range will reflect that.  Select ALL DAY.  Make sure you have your HOMESCHOOL calendar selected not your personal calendar.  You can see that in the sidebar on your right.  Then SAVE.

Adding the main lesson/unit study/theme
Adding the main lesson/unit study/theme

What you are seeing here is how the calendar looks with the main lesson/unit study/theme/ for the weeks that it is being studied.  Time to add the assignments for your study.

Homeschool Lesson Planning
This is the MONTH view showing your Main Lesson/Unit Study/Theme

Creating the Assignments

7.  To create the assignments in your lesson plan have the calendar in WEEK view. To switch to WEEK view go to the drop-down menu at the top right between the search icon and the gear.  Choose the date and the time you will start the assignment.  Click on that location and the details box will pop up again. You are going to select MORE OPTIONS.

One method to create lessons.
Creating the assignments

8. This is where you enter the name of your lesson.  To make it easy to read for our homeschool portfolio I name the event; Lesson Plan and then the topicIt looks like this Lesson Plan: A Wrinkle in Time.  

9. In this example, we are going to have the class show daily, Monday through Friday, on the Lesson Plan Calendar and just for 1 week.  Select the date of the week and the time the class will start and what time the class will end i.e. 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm.  The dates should be the same.  Below the date and time selection, you have the option to click off ALL DAY or choose what days the class is going to be on.  click on the down arrow and click on  EVERY WEEKDAY.

10. After the dates and times are filled out then you can add the assignments for the week in the description.   You can read how I detail this in my blog post about lesson planning here.

The completed lesson plan in Google Calendar

This is how it will look after you have added the class to your Lesson Plan.

Tip #2

Color code each class for easy reading or color code each student.

Color code
Tip #2 Color code your classes and or your students.

After you set up your lesson plan in Google Calendar you will see how simple this is.  Watch the video at the beginning of the post then read through the guide.  Share how you use Google Calendar for lesson planning for your homeschool below.  I’m sure there are some creative approaches out there!