How to Make New Year’s Eve Family Night

Who is ready for 2021? Last year at this time, no one knew how 2020 would play out. The year has been full of challenges. Now, 2021 is almost here. The obstacles are still present, but hope and vision for a better year are on the horizon.

Like most of the year, staying home with your family is your plan for New Year’s Eve.  Use the evening for quality time, host a family fun night. Make ringing in 2021 a celebration for your whole family to enjoy.

Ways to Enjoy New Year’s Eve With Your Family

Your New Year’s Eve celebration does not need to be elaborate. With a little planning, you can easily turn your evening into a long-lasting memory.

Party Food

Food for your New Year’s Eve should be your family’s favorites. The holiday only comes once a year. So, time to have some fun. Do you need some food ideas? Check out the following list to help you plan for your New Year’s Eve family night.

    • Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza at parties? Order your favorite pizza. Or make homemade pizzas together to fit everyone’s exact tastes.
    • Finger Food: Make finger sandwiches. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours are an excellent treat for New Year’s Eve.
    • Sweets: Serve special treats for your New Year’s Eve family night. Bake cookies, brownies, or other family favorites.
    • Celebration Cake: Buy or make a 2021 cake. The cake does not need to be fancy. A simple cake with white frosting and 2021 written in bright-colored frosting is perfect.
    • Ice Cream: Buy your favorite gallon of ice cream or two. Create a sundae bar with different topping choices, including whipped cream, syrups, nuts, candy sprinkles, marshmallows, and cherries. Allow everyone to create their own sundae masterpiece.

Drinks

Serve different family-friendly drinks for the evening activities. Of course, water should always be on the menu. But consider sparkling cider or punch for a midnight toast. Homemade hot cocoa is another delicious idea to add to the celebration.

Activities

Plan various family fun activities leading up to midnight.

  • Games: Play board or card games. Sitting together and talking is great for quality family time.
  • Video Games: Multi-player games are perfect for a New Year’s Eve family fun night.
  • Do Crafts: Make paper crowns or silly hats out of construction paper for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Create themed decorations to display.
  • Movies: Binge-watch your favorite movie or series until midnight.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues throughout your home to lead to a final treasure. Plain white envelopes work well for this activity. Place a note with enough information to lead your searchers from one clue to the next. The final treasure can be a special treat, coupons for future activities, or, depending on your children’s age, cash.

Make Unforgettable Memories

The best part about spending New Year’s Eve at home is making memories.

  • Photo Booth: Create a photo area. Use a blanket, sheet, shower curtain, or large piece of material for a backdrop. Place different props out, including hats, crowns, beads, scarves, and cardboard cut-outs. The accessories can be homemade, or go to your local dollar store to find items. Make a point to take pictures every hour leading up to midnight. The sillier the photo, the better; remember to print your photos to place into a 2021 scrapbook.
  • Time Capsule: Create a time capsule. Ask your family or friends questions. For example, what do you want to do when you grow up? The question is simple. But when opening the time capsule the following year or two, you may find the answer amusing or inspiring. Place photos, stories, or other memorabilia into your time capsule. Yes, a shoebox works as a time capsule.
  • Make Memory Cards: Index cards work well for this type of activity. Ask each of your family members to write out favorite moments in 2020. You may need to help younger children. Encourage drawing. Each card is a perfect addition to a scrapbook or photo album.

Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy the evening with your family. You only get to ring in 2021 once in your lifetime.

How to Make a Christingle

Is this the first time hearing the word Christingle? Are you asking yourself, “what exactly is a Christingle?” Well, before you start searching, continue reading about the long-standing history of Christingle.

Christingle is a symbolic way to celebrate the Christian faith. Dating back to the mid-1700s, Christingle was part of a German worship service. Representing Jesus bringing light to the world,  John de Watteville, a minister, gave each child a lighted candle with a red ribbon.

In the late 1960s, Christingles became popular in England. Generally, Christingle services are held the week before or part of Christmas Eve services. Due to the pandemic, Christmas 2020 is going to be different. But you and your family can try new things. Making a Christingle is a wonderful new tradition to begin.

How to Make a Christingle

Are you wondering how to make a Christingle? The activity is simple; however, each piece has a specific meaning.

List of Needed Items

I used the candy that I had on hand.
  • Orange: The base of the Christingle is an orange or tangerine representing the whole world.
  • White Candle: Standing tall and straight, the white candle represents God giving light to the world.
  • Red Ribbon: Tying the ribbon around the orange represents the blood of Jesus and dying on the cross.
  • Four Skewers or Toothpicks: The four toothpicks represent North, South, East, and West. They also represent the four changing seasons. If you use skewers, you can fit more pieces of fruit and candy on to your stick.
  • Pieces of Dried Fruits: In addition to dried fruit, you can use nuts, miniature marshmallows, and sweets. The items represent the fruits of the Earth.

In addition to the list above, you will need tin foil. The tinfoil is a precautionary measure to prevent the dripping candle wax from getting into the orange’s interior.

Next, you start the task of creating your own Christingle. Younger children will need help with the first step. Slicing the top of your orange makes a hole large enough to fit your white candle’s base. Before pushing the candle down into the orange, cover the opening with foil.

When your base is complete, set aside. Now begin to place the dried fruits or other sweets onto the skewers. Repeat this step four times.

Place the candy, dried fruits, marshmallows, or nuts on to the skewers.

Now, push the four skewers into the orange. Place the skewers on each side to create a balanced appearance. Finally, wrap your piece of red ribbon around the orange and tie it into a bow. Congratulations on finishing your first Christingle.

I sat my Christingle on top of a Mason jar while I worked on it.

Staying close to home for the holidays is the time to do family crafts. Have fun making Christingles. Light the candles to take a photo in front of your tree on Christmas Eve. (Always practice safety procedures when using candles).

Make extras to give away. Just remember, do not cut the hole into the orange until you are ready to give your Christingle to the intended person.

Reference:

The History of Christingles.  https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christingles.shtml

Sugar Cookies: A Christmas Tradition

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate the Christmas season? Baking during the holidays is a long-standing tradition. Sugar cookies are a tasty treat to decorate, share, and eat. Helping to reduce the stress of the holiday mad-dash of baking, sugar cookies can be frozen to decorate later.

Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate the Christmas season.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate the Christmas season? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun. Enjoy the creative process going into each cookie.

Finally, time to eat the cookies! Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night. Share a batch with a neighbor.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie for family night?

Christmas Pretzel Treats

Is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season keeping you busy? Do you need a quick and easy snack for a holiday gathering or family movie night? Chocolate covered pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas. The pretzel treats are an easy make-ahead snack.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate (For added Christmas fun, purchase red or green colored dipping cholate)
  • Pretzels of any style will work.
  • Christmas sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency. Smooth, well-heated chocolate is easy to apply to pretzels.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.
  6. You can store the pretzels in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Self-Care Ideas for November

Daily demands, the pandemic, election coverage, and the upcoming holiday season can be overwhelming. Practicing self-care is critical to your overall health and well-being. Check out the following self-care ideas for November.

  1. Go for a walk (Nature walks are perfect this time of year).
  2. Take a long, warm bath or shower.
  3. Vote-make your voice be heard.
  4. Rent, stream, or purchase a movie from the 1950s, 1960s, etc.
  5. Take your dog for a long walk. (Don’t have a dog? Volunteer to be a dog walker at your local rescue or animal shelter).
  6. Create a new playlist.
  7. Practice saying, “no.” You do not have to take on extra responsibilities.
  8. Buy yourself something. You do not need to spend a lot. Go to your local dollar store. Buy yourself a candle, figurine, or a box of crackers. The choice is yours.
  9. Meditate or pray. Play inspirational music in the background.
  10. Go hiking.
  11. Make homemade hot cocoa to enjoy on a cold night.
  12. Order take out from a new restaurant.
  13. Spend an afternoon reading or indulge by re-reading your favorite.
  14. Get a new hair cute. Or learn a new style. (YouTube has lots of how-to videos).
  15. Call an older relative to just chat.
  16. Write a letter to a classmate from grade school, junior high, or high school. Reminisce about a favorite time.
  17. Go for a long drive. Play the music loud and sing along.
  18. Have a fall picnic. (Yes, having one in your living room with your dog counts).
  19. Spend an afternoon painting, drawing, or doing crafts.
  20. Start decorating for the Christmas season early.
  21. Give yourself a day to do nothing.
  22. Watch uplifting videos or watch Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel.
  23. Bake
  24. Give yourself an in-home spa treatment.
  25. Make a gratitude list.
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! Eat dessert.
  27. Eat leftovers, stay in your pajamas (or comfy pants), and enjoy your day.
  28. Declutter or organize a space.
  29. Try a new recipe.
  30. Write lists, plans, and other details for the upcoming Christmas season.

Halloween Fear Challenge–Food Edition

Are you staying home for Halloween? Are you looking for fun ways to celebrate with your family? How about hosting a Halloween fear challenge night? Trying new foods is always a fun family activity, right?

Grocery List Ideas

Ask yourself, what food items would be a challenge for your family? Do you need some assistance? Check out the following ideas.

  • Edible Insects: There is a wide selection of edible insects available at your local specialty shop or online.
    Original Worm Snack. Believe it or not, these come in different flavors.

    Like the Larvets, these Crick-eets are available in different flavors; Bacon & Cheese, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion.
  • Bugs in a Sucker: A sucker is a perfect chance to eat a little sweet before getting down to the bug.

    There are suckers available with scorpions, crickets, ants, worms, and more. They come in a wide variety of flavors.
  • Chocolate Covered Bugs: Other bugs come covered in chocolate. For many, eating chocolate-covered larvae is easier.
  • Pickled Eggs: Pickled eggs are an acquired taste. Many find the soft squishy pickled eggs a challenge to eat.
  • Rattlesnake: For many, Eating a snake is definitely a challenge. But a rattlesnake can add an extra element of fear.
  • Gummy Bugs: If you have younger children who may want to join the fun but will not try other real insects, purchase gummy bugs. Eating a gummy worm or other insects may be a challenge to younger children.
  • Fruit or Vegetable: The produce section is another place to look for food challenge options. If your family has never tried a turnip, radish, leek, pomegranate, avocado, or dragon fruit, add these to your food fear challenge night. The fruits and vegetables are a fun addition.

Your Halloween Food Challenge Night

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to set up for your Halloween food challenge night.

  • Use Halloween themed plates or trays to spread out your food selection.
  • Provide plenty of water to wash down the food choices.
  • Do not force anyone to try a choice.
  • Film the experience to use on YouTube or Instagram.
  • Take pictures. Use the photos to make a scrapbook later.
  • Have fun. Who knows, maybe you can cross items to try off your bucket list.

What food do you consider a fear challenge?

 

Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

Going Back to Hogwarts

Harry Potter fans worldwide celebrate September 1st as the day to return to Hogwarts. Since social distancing and restrictions are still in effect for many areas, finding small ways to celebrate is essential. Are you wondering how to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Check out the following ideas for inspiration.

Celebrating Going Back to Hogwarts

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen,

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

J.K. Rowling

Return to Hogwarts in your own way by participating in different family-friendly activities.

  • Watch the Movies: Make some popcorn, order pizza, and pick your favorite Harry Potter movie to watch. Choosing a favorite may be difficult; you can always binge-watch the entire series over the next couple of days.
  • Re-Read the Series: Curl up under your favorite blanket and spend time re-reading the series. Or read the series together as a family.
  • Listen to the Audio Versions: Do you have other work to do? Turn on the audio version of the series.
  • Make Wizarding World Themed Food: In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin stated, “Eat, you’ll feel better.” Of course, this was after an encounter with a Dementor. But the sentiment still holds up for returning to Hogwarts. Make chocolate frogs, coins, or a complete meal based on the food from the Hogwarts’ feast. Don’t forget the cake.
  • Have a Craft Day: Pull out your crafting supply stash and make Wizarding World themed crafts.
    Melt pony beads on old pizza pans to create large Harry Potter inspired sun catchers.

    There are numerous easy crafts to make, including owls, plaster frogs, coins, ornaments, and more. Of course, you will need your own wand.

  • Participate in Online Events: With all the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, many sites, including the Wizarding World, are hosting online events.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Find a new or re-listen to Harry Potter-themed podcasts.
  • Play Games: From video games to board games, play Wizarding World and Harry Potter themed games.

Do you want to know the best way to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Have fun. Enjoy time with your family. Or curl up with your dog and dive back into the Wizarding World by reading the very first Harry Potter book.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Chocolate Frogs, Coins, and More

In J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, large feasts, parties, sneaking down to the kitchens, or devouring Molly’s home cooking, food is a common theme. Who wouldn’t want to eat their way through a Hogwart’s start of term feast or the extravagant Halloween festivities?

Are you wondering how to celebrate Harry Potter with special treats? Consider the following ideas.

Chocolate Frogs and Chocolate Coins

Materials Needed:

  • Frog and coin molds
    Silicone Frog Mold

  • Dipping chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. When ready, carefully spoon the chocolate into the molds.
  4. Allow hardening.
  5. Serve.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean 

Pick up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. Try and guess each flavor without looking at the guide.

Added Fun

When having a fun-filled Harry Potter food night, try something new. Many novelty stores or specialty shops sell edible insects. Make memories by trying something completely new. Who is the brave one in your family?

 

 

Christmas in July: Make Sugar Cookies

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate Christmas in July? Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate Christmas in July.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate Christmas in July? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun.

Finally, time to eat the cookies. Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie?