Just because you’re not in Times Square doesn’t mean you can’t have your own ball. Fill a flashy piñata-style globe with candy, trinkets, and confetti—then at midnight have the kids pull the strings to get doused in goodies!
What To Do: Fringe about twenty 24-inch strips of holographic bird tape (find it in the garden section). Starting from the bottom, tape each fringed strip to a 16-inch paper lantern, overlapping as you go. Cut a cardstock circle about 1 inch wider than the bottom opening of the lantern. Poke a hole in it, then push a length of ribbon through, tie a knot, and tape it securely to the other side of the cardstock. Place the circle inside the piñata so that it covers the bottom opening, then lightly tape a few more lengths of ribbon to the circle (at least one per kid). Fill it from the top, then hang it up. When the time comes, each kid pulls a string—and one will unleash a surprise!
These noisemakers are super easy to craft and just as loud as the store-bought kind—in the best possible way!
What To Do: Each kid will need two jumbo wooden craft sticks and two 1-inch pieces of toothpick. Help them cut a piece of paper to slightly smaller than the craft sticks, then sandwich it between the sticks with a toothpick piece under the paper on one side, and over it on the other. Secure with washi tape. To make noise, blow into the space between the sticks!
Ditch the formal dinner for one that they can dip: “Fondue is fun and interactive—plus it feels like such a fancy, special meal that they’re guaranteed to look forward to it,” notes Cyd Converse, editor of The Sweetest Occasion blog. Serve our bacon-infused version using the recipe below with goodies like tortellini, veggies, and tater tots and they’ll be full in no time!
The perfect toppers for their New Year’s duds: sparkling crowns and fascinators!
Make A Crown: Cut an 18x3½-inch strip of felt, then cut a zigzag along the top. Hot-glue on rhinestones (an adult’s job); let dry. Glue each side of a hair elastic to the outside middle edges of the crown to bring it together; glue a small piece of felt on top of the elastic for extra security.
Make A Fascinator: Trim a 4-inch-wide cork coaster into a 2½-inch-wide almond shape. Paint it; let dry. Hot-glue on pom-poms, tulle, rhinestones, and feathers. Let dry, then glue to a headband.
Can your kids say croquembouche three times fast? (That’s okay, neither can we!) This chic French dessert—often served at celebratory events in Europe—is traditionally made by piling cream-filled pastry balls into a tower and holding them together with honey. Our easy and impressive version is made by decking out store-bought treats with chocolate and fun sprinkles and then serving them around a Styrofoam cone.
Start by thawing about 60 frozen cream puffs. (We used two 13.2-oz. boxes of Patissa Natural Vanilla Cream Puffs.) Melt 8 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Dip top of each cream puff and set chocolate-side up on a tray. Decorate with silver and gold sprinkles and chill until set, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wrap a Styrofoam cone (ours was 3⅞ x 11⅞ inches) tightly with parchment paper; tape to secure. Place on a serving plate. Working with one puff at a time, stick a toothpick through the puff and attach to bottom of cone. Continue this way, working in concentric circles, until the cone is covered. Sprinkle with more decorations, if desired. Chill until set, about 15 minutes. To eat, simply pull a cream puff off a toothpick—the toothpick will stay attached to the cone.
Around the world, people believe that certain foods bring good luck for the coming year. Our twist? Drink your luck! Put out (plastic) champagne coupes with seltzer or sparkling cider and let the kids dress up their bubbly with juice mixers and special garnishes. “Set little place cards next to each one explaining the custom,” says Michelle Bachman of Little Miss Party, a party-planning firm in New York City. Here are a few of our favorite combos inspired by these traditions:
+ Pomegranate Juice
+ Colored-Sugar Rim
The Grape Gatsby
+ Sparkling Cider
+ Grape Juice
+ Frozen Berries
Orange You Lucky
+ Lemon-Lime Soda
+ Tangerine Juice
+ Maraschino Cherries
A homemade banner can pack a big decorative punch. Have fun with streamers and don't be afraid to twist, wind, braid, and curl the crepe paper. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this affordable and versatile party material.
Download these one-of-a-kind Bingo boards, full of New Year's images like balloons, confetti, streamers, and noise-makers. Then, see who can get bingo before the final countdown begins.
Get fancy this year and dress up your holiday outfit with this silly bow tie accessory. Recycle some paper or pages from a magazine and accordion fold them together. Then, bundle and cinch them in the center and tie a bow around your neck with sequin string.
Skip the helium and hang balloons from the ceiling with ribbons!
Capture the year's memories and bottle them up in a time capsule at the end of every year. Insert a family photo in a jar, and fill it with your favorite mementos of the year.
Save yourself from having to clean-up the New Year's confetti mess. Instead, make these mini bubbles bottles and have all your guests fill the air with a completely mess-free celebration.
End your bash with a bang with these treat-filled party poppers. Fill a recycled toilet paper tube with lots of goodies, and then wrap the tube in red tissue paper. Add a cracker snap (you can find these at local packaging specialties stores), and then wrap again with patterned cardstock.
Flavored with sweet cranberries and toasted pecans, this twist on classic cheese balls is a hit with guests of all ages.
Originally published in the December/January 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.
We gave creamy truffles a new flavor.
Bring a little Times Square into your home by crafting this sparkly mirror ball and building your own ball drop. Just cover a large Styrofoam ball with small craft mirrors and jewels, and hang from your ceiling. Turn on some bright light and party under the glittery glow.
DIY your own party hats this year with this glittery gold craft. Just wrap some gold paper into a cone shape, and add some bling with rhinestones and sequins. Leave a small hole in the top of your cone, and let black and white paper strips pop out of the spout. Finally, attach a ribbon to fit around your kid's chin, and add a "Happy New Year" sign on the front.
Spread some holiday cheer with these celebratory pom-poms. Cut a circle from left over wrapping paper, and then cut strips towards the center, leaving a 1" circle intact in the middle. Pinch together at the top, and attach to some string, ribbon, or paper strips to hang.
Kids will love these sweet and savory appetizers. Cut 8 peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp in half lengthwise and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place shrimp halves and 16 pieces of fresh pineapple in a grill pan coated with vegetable cooking spray on medium-high heat. Grill until shrimp turn opaque, 2 to 3 minutes, turning once. Stack shrimp on top of pineapple and insert a pick.
Crack open a special message or treat every hour of your countdown. Start by wrapping embroidery thread around a balloon and then dredge your covered balloons into a bowl of fabric stiffener. Once they're dry, pop and remove the balloon, and then cut each circle in half. Fill the cups with treats or special New Year's resolutions, and then tie the cups together with red ribbon to seal.
Mix up some midnight hot chocolate with these clever chocolate-coated spoons.
Make it! Stamp words like Sweet and Delish on the ends of bamboo spoons. Heat up chocolate melts and dip spoons in to coat. Swirl spoon around until it's thickly coated with chocolate. Let dry on wax paper. Decorate with sugar.
Pump up your holiday party with delicious drink recipes that are fun for kids -- and adults.
APPLE PIE PUNCH
For Kids: Mix together 4 ounces apple juice, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon Grenadine syrup. Top with crushed ice and garnish with an apple slice.
For Adults: Sub 1 ounce of apple juice with light rum.
For Kids: In a shaker, mix together 4 ounces cranberry juice, 1 ounce orange juice, and one teaspoon honey. Pour over ice and top with chilled club soda.
For Adults: Sub champagne for club soda.
For Kids: Shake together 3 ounces low-fat milk, 2 ounces French Vanilla half and half, a drop each of peppermint extract and vanilla extract, and two drops of green food coloring with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with crushed candy cane.
For Adults: Sub in 1/2 ounce vodka and 1 1/2 ounces Bailey's Irish Cream for half and half.