Fun Family New Year’s Traditions:: Easy Memory Makers

family new year's traditions
© photo by Yuganov Konstantin for Canva

Every year, my little family and I stay home for New Year’s Eve. Sometimes we invite a couple of friends. Sometimes we look at it as our holiday. One thing that will always be a constant in my home is a variety of nightly New Year’s Eve traditions.

Where it started:
I was in college when a friend invited me to his house in Grand Island. He prepped the thirteen of us who ventured to his childhood home on how much his family loves New Year’s Eve and all these crazy traditions they want us to partake in. I look back on that night and still smile. Seriously, it was such a blast. When Andrew and I first started celebrating New Year’s Eve together, I felt like I needed to bring that same liveliness to our home that the start of 2010 brought for me. We have so much fun! I want to share this with other families who may also enjoy the same things we do.

Here is our to-do list for ringing in the New Year

1. Toast to a wonderful new year!

We all get a champagne glass, but the little one gets grape juice and the adults have bubbles. 

2. Knead up good luck and wishes.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, you will have to make bread dough. During the day, allow it to expand in the fridge. Knead and bake it while you are performing the other traditions to ring in the new year. The added bonus is that you get to start the new year with freshly made bread in the morning. Here is a great recipe you can follow.

Helpful tip: preheat your oven ten minutes before your celebration time.

3. Eat 12 grapes for each month one by one in sync with each other.

The sweet ones mean good months and the sour ones signify challenging ones. We buy a fresh bunch that day, wash them, and put them in the middle of the table for us all to pull grapes off the vine.

4. Wish big love to each other for the year.

This one is probably our favorite. Get a huge pair of red underwear and make a circle in the living room. Each person puts the underwear on over their pants, flips them inside-out then passes them to the next person. Doing so supposedly brings love and prosperity. Here is an idea of what type of underwear we use.

5. Run around the house for good travel.

We pack bags during the daytime and keep them by the front door. The little ones get a bookbag and the adults pull a carry-on. Be aware you may have to scoop a path around the house because, well, snow happens.

6. Throw lentils for good fortune.

We grab handfuls of dry lentils, turn around at our front door, and throw them behind our backs and into our yard.

7. Set New Year’s Resolutions.

Have everyone write 3 resolutions on an index card. If you are adventurous, burn the card to seal your fate. Or you can be like me and put them on a mirror to remind you each day what you are working towards.

A New Year’s Traditions Tip

These traditions work best when you do them in that order. The fun of running all around the house at different stations together creates memories for a lifetime. I guarantee it. My fiancé and I are planning to let our Kindergartner stay up late with us and then sleep in on New Year’s Day. It makes the holiday that much more special. But you can celebrate the New Year at whatever hour you choose. 

Have you ever celebrated the new year with traditions like these?

Growing up, I never even heard of most of them. Now they are staples that we want to share with others. If you do try any of them out, I would love to hear all about the fun you had!

This post was originally written in 2019 and updated in 2023.