A Great Family-Oriented New Year's Eve Party
N. Brown, Ph.D. and R. Moffitt, MFCC
ForumsRaising our Kids
Are you looking for a different way to celebrate this New Year's with your children? Why not have a "Millenium Party" that not only will be memorable, but educational as well. Here are some ideas to get you and your family started on planning your own special way to celebrate the new millenium.
Start by selecting a special and appropriate theme that you can center the entire party around. The themes that we suggest below will not only be of interest to your family, but can be very educational. The theme could be fun and purely entertaining, or educational or refective.
One theme that you could use is the century past. But it could be a specific aspect or decade of the last century such as space flight, computing, medical and scientific breakthroughs, cars of the 20th century, baseball or some other sport, the wild wild west, feminism, body image or fashion trends, movie stars, scary films, Mickey Mouse, the 20s, 30s, 50s, or civil rights. The theme could also be a look to the future including smart houses and space flight. Or on a more serious note, the theme could be a reality check about global warming, nuclear disaster, extinction of certain animals, deforestation.
Of course, the invitations will match the theme, but we suggest that the invitation not only include the instructions about where, when, what to bring, and what to wear, but include a keepsake about how each member of the family plans to spend the millennium. This keepsake can be added to the time capsule, millennium scrapbook, or scrapbook kept by each participant. One possible invitation is as follows:
The party will be 3 - 4 hours long, depending on the age of the kids. To get ready for the party turn the clocks forward so 6 PM becomes 9 PM and then the party will end at "midnight" for the kids. (The clock-forward idea can be used for parties with younger children.)
The party starts with a millennium dinner - could be a chuckwagon BBQ, replicated rations (dinner items cooked in foil pouches or served wrapped in colored cellophane packets), or some other themed food, or just tasty food that is called 1930's hobo stew or 1990s sushi, etc.. It could also be set in a 50's diner or 30's soup kitchen and the kids could be the service staff - menus could be made up and colored prior to the party and kids could serve parents.
After dinner, several activities (including making a keepsake for each person) and then, at midnight, traditional welcoming in the new year, and in this case, millennium, sparkling cider, confetti, noise makers, etc...
Standard decorations for whatever theme you pick - best if kids can participate in making them. Some suggestions are suns, stars, and moons cut out of shiny paper; paper cranes made out of rainbow origami paper, your timeline for the activity below, movie posters, movie start posters, newspaper headlines mounted on different color paper, etc..Back to the Table of Contents
We are real fans of party favors and suggest they include things that people will keep or use. You can give party favors in bags, or make sure everyone gets at least one prize during the party. Some suggestions are: Year 2000 pins, Y2K bugs they can put in their offices, a commemorative champagne glass or mug, hair accessories, single-use cameras they can take home and have developed, T-shirts, fast food restaurant gift certificates, etc... There should be a party bag for each person (labeled with their name) that is big enough to hold their time capsule, all party favors, and prizes.
Depending on your theme - everyone could wear one type of costume - like space travelers, feminists, etc..., or you could ask different families or people to represent one particular decade of the last century, for example:
To help adults remember and kids understand what all the fuss is about, create a large timeline that you can put on the wall. It should start in 1900 and continue through at least the year 2025. Find or draw pictures that represent major events in those decades and put them along the timeline, to mark "how our lives are/have been/will be." Then have guests put event stickers with their names on them (that you have prepared before the party), on the timeline corresponding to any or all of the following:
When done, ask people what they remember about the world the year they were born, or what they expect it to be like when they retire, etc... You could give prizes to the oldest, youngest, or most likely to succeed, rule the world, have six kids, be an exotic dancer, etc...
Name That Tune
1. Gather up great music from the century and have people try to identify it in relation to the decades you identified in the timeline. Have grandparents remember what their favorite songs were.
2. A derivation of this would be to have someone read a line of a song out loud and have teams try to identify a line of a song that comes before or after the line that was read. Note: This is great fun and frequently leads to people humming and singing songs to remember the words.
Charades1. Play charades with ideas from each decade. 2. Or give everyone a slip of paper with a famous person from a particular era and take turns asking "yes/no" questions while trying to guess who they are!
Identify The Decade
Give everyone a set of numbers that correspond to numbers you give each guest in a costume. Have a timeline on the wall and ask guests to stick the umber of each costume in the decade it belongs. Then costumed guests can tell everyone where they fit. The person who gets the most costumes in the correct decade wins a prize.Time Capsules or Millennium Scrapbooks
These can be as fancy or basic as you choose. Disney, LearningSmith, and others have time capsules you can buy, and then complete at the party. They traditionally include prepared cards or pages where you fill in things like what is cool, slang words, popular activities, clothes, games, fashion, vacations, etc... You could make a scrapbook using acid-free paper and special pens, document family trees or histories, etc.. or provide three-ring binders and pages and then let people decorate and include what they want.
You might have everyone bring newspapers and magazines to cut things out of, or you could download images from the net and provide copies for people to use. You could also have a design a time capsule contest and have people bring time capsules they previously created and just tell the other guests what is in them.
Some ideas about what you might want to include are:
The timeline could be drawn on a roll of butcher paper (available at art or teacher supply stores), and images that represent each era (from the costume list) can be found at the library. Copy and glue pictures near each date (prior to the party).Back to the Table of Contents
Grand Finale for the Time Capsules.
Once completed, they should be stored in moisture resistant container and presented to the children when they are: A) adults; B) getting married; C) having their own children; or D) leave it to them as an inheritance.Back to the Table of Contents
N. Brown, Ph.D. is a Developmental Psychologist and R. Moffitt, MFCC is a therapist. They have two daughters and live in a rural community in Northern California. Always looking for family-centered celebrations, they have developed this New Year's Party plan and wanted to share it with other families.
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