With many of us spending the New Year’s holiday at home this year, this question may pop up like a firework for you: what in the world should we do?
While our New Year’s Eve will be a quiet one here at Stoney Creek Farm, we plan to spend New Year’s Day with family eating a home-cooked meal of grilled ham steak, purple hull peas (like black-eyed peas, but sweeter!), Yukon Gold potatoes, turnip greens, jalapeno cornbread, and blackberry cobbler.
Our cousin, Keith, raises the hog that we have butchered each year, but the majority of our New Year’s Day meal is from our own garden that we preserved. We are so grateful for our sustainable life and being able to eat the fruits of our labor in celebration of the new year.
As for the rest of the day, we’ll ponder the things that 2021 will bring—new goals, travel plans, and farm projects.
But most of all, we’ll spend the day reflecting on the blessings we received in 2020 and thanking God for keeping our family safe and well.
Looking for ideas for your own New Year’s plans?
Keep reading for 5 creative and family-friendly ways to celebrate your New Year’s holiday at home this year!
1. Break out the games.
A game night may not be a glamorous New Year’s Eve, but it won’t be without it’s fun and friendly competition—break out the board games and plan an evening in with your family or a couple of friends. If you’re with a particularly competitive group of people, up the ante by making the game night a tournament to crown the ultimate board game champ by midnight.
Munch on a charcuterie spread with a great glass of wine to complement the cheese and meat options. Need guidance choosing the right wine for your spread? This wine-cheese pairing app has you covered.
Are your friends or family spread out over the country? It’s time for a Zoom game night. Another option is Houseparty, which is an app for your phone that has built-in games that you can play with your friends and family, no matter where they are located!
2. Take time to reflect.
Spending time reflecting with your family helps your kids (and adults, too!) look back and process the year you’ve just lived. And while we’re all eager to put 2020 behind us, it’s important to name both the joys and disappointments of the year before jumping ahead to 2021.
Add a game-style twist to this by writing reflection questions on notecards and placing them in a bowl. Have a family member draw a question from the bowl, answer it, then everyone else follows by answering this question. Go around the circle allowing everyone to draw from the bowl until you’ve gone through all the questions.
Some kid-friendly questions include:
- What unexpected surprise did you have?
- What new skill did you learn?
- What is the best advice that you received?
- Did you try any new activity this year?
- What disappointed you this year?
- What was your favorite family memory?
- What was the funniest moment of the year?
Personalize these questions based on your particular family’s interests and memories from the year!
3. Make a dream board.
After reflecting, it’s time to look ahead.
Making a dream board is a way to get the creative juices flowing for the entire family. Bonus points: it allows you to sustainably repurpose all those old magazines that are collecting dust in the cabinet.
With just some cork board or poster board, markers, and old magazines to clip pics from, you’ve got an inexpensive activity to make the time pass as you count down to midnight—or, in the case of families with small children, as you count down until bedtime.
If doing this activity with children, help them to dream about the new year ahead—what do they hope to do or accomplish in 2021? What photos can they find to represent this? You can then go around and share your dream board with the whole family.
Find some inspiration for your dream board with these instructions.
4. Create a “mock” midnight countdown.
This one is for families with young children who can’t stay up until midnight—just because it’s not midnight where you are doesn’t mean it’s not about to be midnight at another place in the world!
Pick an earlier hour in the evening to have a “mock” midnight countdown with your young kids, complete with the full midnight regale—confetti poppers, party hats, kazoos… the full works. Then it’s time to wind down with a calm activity before heading to bed.
Here is a website that gives you the converted times of 2021 New Year’s around the world.
5. Plan for a traditional southern New Year’s Day dinner.
The fun of ringing in the new year doesn’t have to stop after the clock chimes midnight. Let the festivities continue as you plan for a traditional southern New Year’s Day dinner featuring the “good luck” foods of greens, pork, cornbread, and black-eyed peas.
According to folklore, this tradition dates back to the Civil War era, though it’s not entirely certain when this New Year’s dinner found its footing in southern culture. Collard greens represent good fortune (we could all use a bit more of that in 2021, right?), pork symbolizes prosperity, cornbread represents gold, and black-eyed peas symbolizes wealth. But no matter the symbolization, this southern meal is just plain tasty.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and sustainable New Year!