by Karen Christmas DIY Family Fun Holidays New Year's New Year's Winter Activities

New Years Day + Family

The holidays end too soon, but by New Year’s Day, we’ve eaten too much, traveled too much, and run out of steam. We’re still eating Christmas leftovers here! I mean, how do you feel about eating food that was prepared last year? We almost want to go back to school and work except–it’s still the holidays! The party must go on!

Here’s a couple quick ideas that might help, might not.

Cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate for early arrivals

Recently a few family members popped in early for Christmas dinner. No one sits down without an offer of  tea, coffee or hot chocolate. With temps in the negative degrees this year, it takes at least one mug to unthaw your mittens. Not being a fan of microwave hot water, I like to heat water on the stove but I never have enough orders at any one time for a whole pot of either coffee or tea. My sauce pan heats a single cup of hot water as fast as the microwave any day. The trick is to heat only one cup. If I fill the mug I intend to use with water, dump it in the pan and turn it to high, it takes two minutes. The hot coffee water goes into the French press. The flavor coming out is worth the trouble of using it. We make La-Di-Da tea for the winter holidays. More about that in a future blog! And hot chocolate satisfied all the children (hint: make half a cup, then add a half cup of milk. Ta da! Perfect temperature for children.)

When you make one cup at a time, it’s fun to give out mismatched mugs that are special.

Eating arrangements

We don’t like to separate the kids from the adults when we eat. We all have lots to contribute and lots to learn. This Christmas I stumbled on a seating idea that worked great. My huge living room easily seats 30+ people. Our guest list included 35. Twenty-two adults and teens, 2 babies, 3 toddlers and 8 children. We set the tables end to end and then added a duplicate miniature set of tables using tray stands for the kids. The toddlers sat at a kiddie sized picnic table. We left all the food buffet-serving style in the kitchen/dining room, and  let the parents sit where they chose. Some sat back to back with their children, others sat across the table to have a good view. It was super convenient for parents to cut veggies or meat, give permission for seconds and scoop up a child to hear a good story from grandpa.

No place mats or table cloths! We’re talking kids here! Those all spell disaster.


Food prep time wasn’t a problem. We got everything done ahead of time. Then we ate. Clean up proved to be the difficult time. Sleepy, grumpy kids needed something to do. I’ve never watched the talent shows on TV, but I’m sure I’ve got the idea. We played, “Green Oak’s Got Talent” but you could use the name of your family or city to get the attention of your crew. The children didn’t really have much talent except for comedy …. of errors! But they loved trying out.

Spur of the moment works great for the under-ten crowd.
Add a few props for skits. Instant fun.

Happy New Years!

May the first day of this new year be a blessing and all the days following it as well!



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