What to Do with Your Family on New Year’s Eve in Champaign-Urbana
Most of us are plenty ready to say goodbye to 2020, the year of many disappointments, cancellations, and frustrations.
Staying safe this New Year’s Eve takes on a whole new meaning, as most of us aren’t driving anywhere — or pulling any other shenanigans. This has the potential to be a sleepy New Year’s Eve, or it could very well be epic in its own way — it’s really up to you.
We have a whole bunch of ideas for celebrating New Year’s that are budget friendly and safe, as well as how to continue some traditions at home.
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Thank you to our friends from Lodgic Kids Camp for presenting this look at family-friendly NYE celebrations. Lodgic Kids Camp provides quality licensed childcare that’s flexible for modern families. Full-time, part-time, or anytime drop-in childcare is available for children ages 12 months to 12 years.
Open Monday through Saturday, early to late, with extended hours to accommodate nontraditional and flexible work schedules, before and afterschool or over school breaks, appointments, or date nights. More info at the Lodgic website here.
Take the kids to a “noon” celebration, or create your own:
The Urbana Free Library is taking its traditional Noon Year’s Eve celebration virtual. There’s even a FREE craft kit to pick up in advance (limited supply available). If you don’t get one, the library has posted the supplies in this event, so all can participate. This event will be delivered over Zoom. More info and registration HERE.
Children’s Museum of Illinois Virtual Party, 11:30 am, Dec. 31: The Decatur museum has joined together with children’s museums all over Illinois and Indiana to continue its Noon Year’s Eve celebration. Featuring performances and dancing. Also, an activity kit is available for purchase (must pick up in Decatur). No registration is required; more info on broadcast HERE.
Noon Year’s Eve Fun Kit: For $5, the Children’s Museum in Normal is selling a Noon Year’s kit with supplies to create your own party crown, confetti popper, and sound sandwich. No shipping available, unfortunately.
Create Your Own New Year’s Eve Party at Home – with the kids
Here’s a recipe for how to create your own noon day celebration — or anytime celebration — at home for New Year’s Eve.
Blow up a TON of balloons for a balloon “drop”. If you have a high ceiling in your home, that’s a great way to drop the balloons. But you don’t actually have to “drop” the balloons at all – just make it up as you go along. All we know is that having a ton of balloons means a ton of fun for the kiddos – of all ages. My big kids can’t resist balloon volleyball.
Get party supplies. Stop at a local party store (or dollar store) and grab party hats and/or crowns; if it will be after dark during your party, consider purchasing glow-in-the-dark accessories for another element of fun. Optional: make your own hats and crowns.
Make noisemaker crafts using stuff you have around the house. (TOTALLY OPTIONAL, parents). This link has an idea for DIY noisemakers that are fun, festive, and use leftover craft supplies.
Set a time when you’re going to do a countdown. If you’d like to do your own countdown, that works. Or find a video online — there’s tons of videos of actual ball drops, fireworks and other celebrations. Netflix hasn’t announced yet if it will be another release of content for NYE 2020, but we’ve come to depend on it.
Have a dance party. We’re totally in love with these ridiculous disco lights that only cost $16 and will turn your house into party central. Don’t forget to load up on family friendly music from your favorite streaming service – or use YouTube.
Grab some kid “Champagne” at the store. In our house, nothing says important occasion like sparkling grape juice. Plan to have a “Midnight toast” (or a toast at whatever time works for your family). We’ve found sparkling grape juice at Schnuck’s, Meijer and Aldi.
Food, glorious food: Take the kids out to dinner, let them pick their favorite carry out, or get a special treat
If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that it’s important to support local businesses – and we all have to eat. Here are some ideas for planning a something special and food-related for NYE fun.
Let the Kids Plan the Menu: Maybe it will be chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and ants on a log. There’s no question kids love being able to plan the menu for a party. Or if you don’t want to do the whole meal, let the kids plan the appetizers (we use that term broadly!).
Get Some Family-Style Takeout: Don’t want to cook, but want to keep your party family style? Our list of places that offer family-style takeout continues to grow. Some restaurants may be offering NYE specials.
Plan on Dessert! Perhaps it’s not in the budget to get your whole New Year’s Eve meal from a restaurant; consider ordering a fancy dessert (we love the chocolate moose from Lodgic, complete with moose-shaped cookie) or hit up the drive thru at a favorite ice cream shop (we think it’s always weather for custard or ice cream, so Custard Cup is definitely an option).
Get some Cocktails to Go – for the grownups only. One of our favorite pandemic inventions: carryout cocktails. If you want to live it up a little, try something new.
Eat Indoors, but Outdoors: If you’re comfortable exploring some of the unique “outdoor” individual family dining options around town (the heated igloos at Guido’s or the individual cabana style at Billy Barooz come to mind), this could be a fun option for a New Year’s Eve family memory. Limited options may mean that dining out reservations will be snapped up quickly, so plan ahead.
Get out of the house and take a drive
If you’re not tired of Christmas Lights (we never get tired of Christmas Lights!), New Year’s Eve tends to be one of the last days when the major shows are still lit up. Check out our Lights Guide, complete with a map.
What are your family New Year’s Eve traditions?