We started a New Year’s Eve tradition with our kids many years ago that has made it one of my favorite nights of the year! It has been about 8 or 9 years now since we started this and every year it is different from the year before and every year it is full of laughter and family fun!

We open a bag every hour to countdown the arrival of the New Year. Each bag has a game or activity for us to enjoy together. Past years have included activities like Twister, decorate your own edible New Year’s Hat, Family Rockband Fun, many games, and crafts, and plenty of giggles. With a family like ours, the activities have to be feasible for all ages. When we first started this, our youngest was just itty bitty, and our oldest was just becoming a teenager. This year, our oldest is 21 and our youngest is 8, so the activities can be a little more challenging and involved.

Here is a recap of this year’s celebration to give you some ideas for your own Family New Year’s Countdown. The Artwork is courtesy of my husband, created at the Joslyn Art Museum Artworks Exhibit during our recent family outing.


Bag #1 was full of necklaces, hats, glasses and light-up balloons to wear during the fireworks and party. The balloons were a real hit, very cool! We snapped a few photos in our hotel room after we blew them up.

Bag #1

After heading out into downtown Omaha to enjoy the fireworks show, we went back to the hotel to open the next bag. Our first activity of the night was to review 2014, set a few goals for 2015 and read the notes in the Gratitude Jar. This year there were a few notes from visitors and this added a little something extra to the fun, remembering good times with people we love. Some of the notes were funny and they made us laugh and others were touching and they brought us to tears. All of the notes were a wonderful reminder of just how Good our God is and how truly blessed we are!

Bag #2

At 9 o’clock it was time for bag #3 and our Photo Booth Fun! This was a great activity! We had fun being silly and taking turns snapping photos. Thanks to a few bloggers and Snapfish, we had lots of props to choose from! If you’d like to have your own Photo Booth Fun, there are quite a few themes to choose from. We did New Year’s as well as a few standard silly accessories. For links to the sites we downloaded our props from, see the bottom of this post.

Bag #3

At 10 o’clock, it was time for a little art activity. One of the activities that kept both my husband and me busy as kids was Spirograph. We ordered a new set and purchased some notecards, blank white paper, a set of colored pens and some coordinating rhinestones. This turned out to be a family favorite! Note to families with more than two children: it is helpful if you have more than one set 😉

Bag #4

Our final bag to be opened comes at 10:45pm, just in time to prepare for the New York City Ball Drop at midnight Eastern Time. In earlier years when the kids were all very little, we celebrated at 10pm, but now they are able to make it until 11pm. The final bag of the night is always filled with horns and noisemakers, sparkling grape juice and toasting flutes. We all gather around, glasses raised, counting down the final seconds before the ball drop and ring in the New Year together as a family.

Bag #5

I hope you found some inspiration for your own family celebrations. Children are blessings and making this time with them a priority is just one little way we can show them how very special they are to us. The more time we invest in our children, the more valuable they will feel and children who know their worth are less likely to look for love and fulfillment in negative places. Spending time at home with your family is always rewarding!


Thank you to these sites for the Photo Booth Printables: Capturing Joy with Kristin Duke, Accent the Party,  and my personal favorite….Art Backwash 

Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge