10 New Year's Traditions to Make Lifelong Family Memories

These traditions will make NYE feel special every year.

Published October 17, 2021
family celebrating New Years Eve

On December 31st, gather up your gang and get ready to welcome in a new year. Make your family's New Year's celebration extra special with fun and interesting activities and traditions. Year after year, your family will look forward to the New Year's traditions that you have woven into your holiday.

Unique and Fun New Year's Traditions

Create traditions unique to your family to ring in the new year. Engaging in these exciting traditions will elevate the holiday to a family favorite.

Create Intention Boards

A new year signifies new goals and new intentions. Discuss with your family what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year and in the future. Discuss the difference between realistic goals and unrealistic goals. Think about your dreams and your direction as your gang heads into another amazing year of growth.

Go one step beyond discussion and create New Year's intention boards. Cut out pictures of things you want to do or goals you hope to accomplish. Add inspirational quotes to your board to motivate you to achieve your goals. Hang the board in a common area of your home and encourage each other to reach for the stars.

Make a Feast Designed Around Luck

So many people celebrate holidays with food. Cooking and eating together is a way to bond, share, and show some love to the ones you hold dear. Many countries throughout the world choose to ring a new year in with food. People in Spain eat 12 grapes on New Year's Eve. Those living in southern parts of the United States dine on black-eyed peas this time of year, and the Irish fill their bellies with a sweet treat called bannocks. Create a menu every New Year's Eve that encompasses foods from around the globe.

Take a Look at the Year in Rewind

Before New Year's Eve, ask your family to gather their favorite memories and pictures from the last year. The kids can create PowerPoint presentations, slideshows, or print out images. On New Year's Eve, have everyone take turns revealing their top memories as well as their favorite photos. An annual jaunt down memory lane is the perfect way to close the year out.

Hold a New Year's Eve Photo Shoot

family portrait on new years eve

If you're spending the holiday at home with your family, that doesn't mean you can't commemorate the day with special photographs. Let your kids' imaginations run wild with outfits, choose gear for your gang, or give family members inspiration for a thematic photo shoot. Once everyone is looking like a movie star, snap some photos. Create a photo book of the New Year's celebrations you have, adding images to the book every year.

Classic Traditions With a Twist

Sometimes you simply can't beat a classic! There are plenty of common ways to welcome January 1st as a family. Put a fresh twist on some staple New Year's traditions and make the old new again.

Burn the Old, Welcome in the New

family gathering around fire pit on New Years Eve

Bring on the start of another year with flames. While starting a fire isn't exactly considered a family-friendly activity, it can be worked into a New Year's celebration with supervision. Light a small fire either in an outdoor fire pit or in your fireplace. Everyone can then write down something they want to let go of in the coming year. Toss the papers into the fire, signifying the whole "out with the old and in with the new" mantra associated with this holiday. End the activity with a dazzling display by lighting sparklers.

Spend Time Creating Family Toasts

It's a common tradition to ring in a new year with a toast. People raise their glasses and say a few kind words to those they love. On New Year's Eve, give your family members a pen and a piece of paper and spend some time creating a speech to deliver later on in the evening. When the speeches are complete, gather as a family and read your toast speeches to one another. Have a glass of Champagne on hand for the adults, and something fun and non-alcoholic for the kids.

Infusing Cultural Traditions Into Your New Year's Celebration

Different parts of the world celebrate New Year's with unique customs. There are countless ways to ring in the New Year, and it's worth noting the traditions of people in various parts of the globe to see if you'd like to add any of their celebrations to your own family culture.

Throw a Party Dressed in White

Those familiar with Brazilian culture know that wearing white on New Year's is a must. The people in this part of the world dress in their finest white garments to signify peace and prosperity. To work this simple tradition into your family life, create a New Year's Eve celebration based on the color itself. Have everyone dress head to toe in whites and silvers. Create a dessert menu with white cake pops, cupcakes, pretty drinks, and white chocolate-covered fruits. Hang white, cream, and silver balloons and streamers, and don't forget to take photos.

Create a Tradition Based on Filipino Beliefs

In the Philippine culture, it is commonplace to serve 12 round fruits to loved ones. The fruits symbolize coins, which signify wealth and prosperity. Not only can you serve round fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, blueberries, and mangos to your brood, but you can play on the theme of round. Play a game of charades, where all the clues to be acted out are round in nature. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house, looking for round items. Serve a round cake for dessert. Bring everyone's sleeping bag to the living room and set up camp in a circular design as you wait for the clock to strike midnight.

Ring the Bell

In Japan, Buddhist temples ring a bell 107 times throughout New Year's Eve and then one more time at midnight. The tradition is known as Joya-no-Kane, and it is performed to rid people of the 108 desires and cleanse people of the year's past sins. Gather enough bells for your family members and literally ring in the start of a new year.

Bake Some Bread

boy baking bread with grandmother

Some of the best family traditions happen in the kitchen. People in Armenia have a New Year's tradition of baking bread. On this holiday, they add one extra ingredient to their favorite bread recipe: luck. Consider pairing your freshly baked bread with a warm soup or stew, and curling up with a classic movie. Now THAT is a perfect way to wrap up 365 days.

The Importance of Family Tradition

Family traditions are what bind us to our kin, creating stronger connections and bonds over the years. You can build traditions into just about any facet of your life, including holiday seasons. Create some new traditions to partake in as you welcome the start of a new year.

10 New Year's Traditions to Make Lifelong Family Memories