- Bubble wrap dancing: just how it sounds. Keep all the bubble wrap used over the season and set it out on your dance floor. Turn on some tunes, and get popping!
- Memory box: we use a decorated shoe box and put a mailing label sticker on the end with the year on it. This makes it stackable and easy to find for reference. During the year, add ticket stubs, programs, awards, photos, cards, etc. to the box to commemorate various events. On New Year's Eve, share the box and review the memories together.
- Resolution burning. This is a protest to the tradition of making resolutions. It works best if you happen to have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, or have a bonfire, but you can do this with a candle and a heat-proof container as well. Write out bad memories, resolutions you do not wish to keep, bad habits you would like to abandon, etc. on small slips of paper. Burn them in the fire together, of course doing this before any alcohol flows and keeping safety in mind.
- Have a dry party and/or an early count-down for the kids. Try and make the count-down late enough that they still get to stay up later than usual, but not so late that it causes them or their parents undo grief. Include alternative beverages for toasting. Beverage suggestions: ginger ale with extra soda water, or diluted sparkling apple or grape juice.Why diluted? Sugar before bed, need I say more? Kombucha is our new go-to drink for celebrations. It is healthy, lends itself well to sipping, reminds some of champagne, is non-alcoholic. is healthy, and has a more sophisticated feel to it than pop or juice. Also, you can now buy it by the keg from Live Kombucha in Guelph.
- Make homemade noise makers, hats and/or crackers to add to the countdown celebration. A noisemaker making station can include washed-out cans and plastic containers, dried beans, peas or rice, glitter glue, whistles, wrapping paper and ribbon scraps, glue sticks, scissors, patterned and regular tape, confetti, etc. Crackers can be made with bathroom tissue rolls, leftover tissue paper, ribbon scraps, stickers and small trinkets to add inside. Homemade hats can be made from folded paper or crowns, or by decorating hat bases reclaimed from Halloween. You can always resort to banging utensils against pots and pans as well, which also has a strong historical tradition for "warding off evil spirits".
- Change roles. Adults become the children, or switch parenting roles. This is a throw-back to the custom from the Roman Festival of Saturnalia that lends itself well to festivities this time of year.
- Another tradition is mummering. This can take on many forms, but the most common is dressing up in absurd costumes and visiting your neighbours, regaling them in song, and demanding their participation in some way. This link details much more about the traditions than I have room for in this blog entry.
- If going door-to door is a bit intimidating, you can instead play charades in the comfort and relative social safety of your own home.
Whatever way you do or do not celebrate the New Year, I wish you and your loved ones all the best for the coming year.