New Years in the Bay Area :: Celebrate Through the Day!


New Year’s Eve is – believe it or not – right around the corner!  December always zips by in a flash, especially when you have kids excited for the winter holidays.  But between parties and school recitals and family visits and holiday travel, many parents find themselves too wiped out to plan anything over-the-top for the last day of the year.

You know what?  That’s OK!  A great thing about kids is that they don’t need a whole lot of production to have fun – especially on a day/night that might involve getting friends together, staying up past bedtime, and eating special treats.  No need to stress.

This year, my kids are both under four… so they had better not be staying up until midnight.  (In fact, it’d be surprising if I make it that long!)  Luckily, there are lots of special ways to celebrate the New Year that don’t involve a live countdown at midnight.

The San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum and the Bay Area Discovery Museum (both amazing places) are hosting “Noon Years Eve” celebrations, complete with non-alcoholic toasts, ball drops, and fantastic and crowded celebratory atmospheres that any kid would enjoy.  Many other venues in the SF Bay Area offer similar celebrations. If your kids love science and exploration, the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley is a perfect place to squeeze in some learning before the giant balloon drop at 2:00pm.  Older kids can channel their inner Von Trapp at the Sound of Music sing along at the Castro Theater in SF.  There are countless fun ways to celebrate, make memories, and start family traditions for New Years.  Plus, a bit perk of these daytime celebrations is that little kids have a blast and can still be home in time to catch their afternoon nap.  Then they can wake up refreshed, just in time to greet the babysitter as you and your partner head out for a NYE dinner, secure in the knowledge that everyone’s had their celebration.

As always, you can celebrate the changing year and get a window into your kids’ brains by talking about resolutions. Then, go a step further by creating an annual time capsule or scrapbook.  Everyone can write down their age/height, biggest accomplishment and most striking memories from the past year, their goals for the coming year, a funny memory, and their favorite things to do.  You can even include a picture from the day.  Next year, and for many years to follow, you’ll be able to look back at this detailed snapshot in time to see how everyone has grown from year to year.

On New Year’s Day, start the year off right by getting moving outside.  We are so lucky to live in a beautiful, temperate area – a New Year’s hike is a great tradition for families with kids of all ages.  

The years fly by so quickly when you’re raising a family.  It’s fun to pause and do a little something to note and celebrate the passing of time – especially since we live in such a fun and family-friendly area!  We’d love to know your ideas and tips for ringing in the new year with kids and making memories that will last a lifetime.  Whatever you do, have fun and be safe!

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Lorrie lives in Cupertino with her husband, two small children, crazy dog, and obese cat. Originally from the Chicago area, Lorrie headed west in 2010, and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring the Bay Area, and finds that even after six years, there is always something new to discover. Lorrie is a licensed and practicing attorney in both Illinois and California. She is proud to represent employees in all manner of work-related disputes, and partners closely as Of Counsel with Caffarelli & Assoc. Ltd., a Chicago-based firm. When she is not working or chasing her kids around, Lorrie likes to tinker with home improvement projects, walk around on sidewalks and trails, zone out on the internet, and “Netflix and chill.” She also likes to run, and aspires to one day make it to a yoga class.


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