It’s still New Year’s Eve, even if there is no ball drop in Times Square or Moon Pie Drop in Mobile Alabama (really). This year, try a crowd-free, socially distanced way to ring in the New Year. From launching lighted lanterns to just enjoying Mother Nature, consider these New Year’s Eve ideas for family fun without the fanfare, dinner reservations, and crowds.
Though the city lights can be lovely, my rural-living family has always preferred the Northern Lights and outdoor family fun. New Year’s Eve is no exception. We have made many memorable nights singing “Auld Lang Syne” by the light of a campfire with rosy cheeks and chilly noses under the shiny stars.
When it comes to outdoorsy fun, we’re no strangers to making it work during winter. Since it’s always cold in the winter where we live in the northern plains of the US, we have come up with some New Year’s Eve ideas to keep the fun flowing — even when there isn’t an international pandemic! None of our ideas require reservations with Mother Nature or much in the way of gear or preparation.
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Try one of these fun socially distant New Year’s Eve ideas to ring in 2021!
Socially Distant New Year’s Eve Ideas
This can be as simple as lighting logs in a backyard firepit or it can be the focal point of your evening. We have purchased “funky flames” to make our fires colorful (if chemically induced). The colors amaze and delight the little ones. Plus, it makes a campfire feel like an extra special treat for New Year’s Eve.
TravelingMom Tip: Don’t add the funky flames until AFTER you consume any food items that need to be roasted, just to be safe!
Here’s another New Year’s Eve idea: Rev up your s’mores game for New Year’s Eve with these tips on how to make s’mores even better.
Gaze at the Stars
Get out of the city and the light pollution zone and take a peek at Mother Nature’s expansive art gallery. With your eyes to the sky you can learn some constellations together or just admire the great unknown.
We always hope for a crisp, cool evening in the northern hemisphere and the potential for a display like no other–the elusive Aurora Borealis.
No matter what the weather, you can enjoy the night sky from most outdoor environments. Even if it means you are on top of your apartment building on the rooftop, enjoying the city lights under a cloudy sky.
Just get outside and look up!
Make Your Own Fireworks
It’s not uncommon to encounter fireworks while adventuring out and about in nature. We’ve been on desolate lakes, night hikes, and even just playing with the dog in the backyard when we’ve heard the boom and grand cacophony of fireworks.
Both amateurs and professionals celebrate last night of the year with pyrotechnic delights. If you’re within a few miles of a show, you’re likely to see and hear it in the distance. We’ve witnessed the colorful glow in the clouds from a display in town, though we were several miles away. It’s sort of a treat when you’re surprised with an impromptu show!
Most public New Year’s Eve fireworks events are canceled thanks to Covid-19, but you can still have your own, even it’s just the kids waving around some sparklers.
Take to the Water
If you’re in a warm climate, get out in a kayak, canoe, or heck, a yacht if you’re so lucky! Enjoy the evening with family, maybe some good food or fishing fun. Get out there and just reflect upon your year and perhaps your reflection in the water itself!
We happen to live in an area that is normally frigid this time of year, so we are often on solid water, ice skating or ice fishing to welcome the new year.
Launch a Paper Lantern
One of our favorite traditions is to launch paper lanterns. (We ordered a package of 25 from Amazon.) We write down our hopes for the new year, things that we would like to accomplish, and sometimes things that have been weighing heavily on our souls. Then we let it all go as a way to start the new year optimistically. And don’t we all need that this year!
No matter what you write on the lantern, it’s fun for kids and parents alike to set them sailing into the open skies. (Make sure that you’re not in a Life Flight zone or near an airport.) It’s NOT a cool way to start the new year being chastised by the FAA!
Enjoying State and National Parks can be just the ticket to socially distanced family fun. It can also be the epitome of peace on Earth during the wintertime — especially in colder climates, where most people will choose to stay inside by the fireplace!
Brave the weather, set up a canvas tent or rent a cabin and enjoy campfires and perhaps wolves howling in the distance. This is a perfect getaway to try out those freshly waxed cross-country skis or snowshoes. Or, if you’re in warmer climes, take a hike to the beach and enjoy the last night of the year first day of 2021 on the sand.
No matter what outdoor activity you choose this New Year’s Eve, get out for a little mini-getaway that starts 2021 off on the right foot. Whether that foot is clad in ski boots, cozy socks, or sandals is up to you!
Happy New Year’s to your and yours from all of us at TravelingMom! How will you spend your holiday?