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New Year’s Eve is approaching, and your kids are old enough now that you want to do something festive with them to celebrate…but also don’t want to stay up until midnight (and definitely don’t want your kids up that late)! What to do?!

This is the position my husband and I found ourselves in about four years ago. Our oldest (then four) had started to understand time, the calendar and was really into holidays. We wanted him to experience the fun of celebrating a new year…at an age appropriate level that did not sacrifice sleep and therefore our family’s sanity.

I overheard an acquaintance mention that her family celebrated “Noon Year’s Eve.” I wasn’t quite sure what that entailed for her, but we took that idea and made it our own.

As the name suggests, we celebrate at 12:00 noon instead of 12:00 midnight. We debated whether we should celebrate on December 31st or January 1st. We settled on January 1st since, depending on how the holidays fall, we might be working on December 31st some years.

No New Year’s celebration is complete without some noise makers (and I’m not just referring to my young children! HA!) and sparkly accessories, so I Amazoned myself some horns. Our first year was planned last-minute so we didn’t have any other accessories, but we’ve upped our game and have New Year’s crowns and glasses now. (Pro tip: when you’re out on January 2, grab some at half off to stow away for next year! Those things don’t go bad!)

A festive beverage is also fun, so we like to get sparkling grape or apple juice. I always love watching one of my kids who is having carbonation for the first time try to figure out what is happening on their tongue!

My kids love a good fireworks show, so we record the TV broadcasts of the local Dallas celebration and start watching around 11:15 (ish). (Heavy on the “ish.” Noon Year’s Eve is all about having fun in a non-pressure way that works for your schedule!) Kids watch sporadically in their festive gear, and it’s mainly background noise until the countdown gets to about 2 minutes. Then we pass out the noise makers (to the kids who are old enough to be patient for that long) and watch as the excitement builds. We try to time it so that “midnight” happens at noon. In the past, time has been a bit squishy on this. (See above about schedule flexibility!) We’ve celebrated at 11:43 and 12:17, etc., but I have a feeling that now that my two oldest boys have watches with timers on them, we will be using the pause or fast forward functions to ensure we are celebrating right at 12:00 noon.

When the countdown clock gets to 0:20, we all start counting down. At 12:00, we blow our horns, dance, cheer, watch the fireworks, and “clink” our sparkly drinks! We have fun finger foods to “graze” on throughout the day and, of course, black eyed peas for good luck! Check out other fun traditional foods and their supposed meaning for the New Year.

My kids will be 8, 6, 5, and 3 by January, and they have all independently mentioned some aspect of this celebration over the past few weeks. Whether it’s the “spicy” drink (sparkling juice), the glittery hats, the finger foods, or a little more screen time than usual, I love that they all have a different part of it they are looking forward to! I also love that we have this tradition that is so easy yet so fun and feels like “us!” It’s also a tradition that others can easily and seamlessly join in if we have people over that year.

Whether you are going big on New Year’s Eve (with or without your kids) or are inspired by this to create your own type of Noon Year’s Eve celebration, please know that we are grateful to have you as part of the Lionheart family and are wishing you the happiest New Year. We are excited for the opportunity to walk alongside you and your family in 2024!

-Micah Quillin, Marketing Manager

Kids celebrating New Year's Eve