New Year's Eve may be an event that causes mixed feelings for some parents. The years when you used to dress up and go to a party without a care in the world may be long past.
If you're inclined to get a babysitter for the little ones, you can still kick up your heels in the old way with your friends. But if you're like I was when my kids were small, you may not want to leave them, and choose instead to ring in the New Year with the little folks you love most.
Actually, there are a few options for parents who want to spend the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year with their children.
The simplest solution would be to stay in the cozy nest with a movie, popcorn and soft pyjamas. The braver ones among you can make the party merrier by arranging for some of their little buddies to sleep over.
Kids who opt to dress up instead of wearing jammies might delight in being able to wear their best dresses or their favorite sports gear.
The menu can be a snap if you order a pizza, always a favorite with the kids. Or make mini-pizzas with English muffins, cheese and a little ham or bacon. If you are adventurous and energetic, let the kids pitch in and make a cake or cupcakes for the occasion.
Chips of all kinds go over well. If you're worried about plying your kids with junk food, adding some cut up vegetables or fruit will ease your guilt.
A plate with cooked vegetables often get thumbs down from children but for some reason the raw stuff that can be picked up and dunked in Ranch dressing, salsa or guacamole disappears quickly.
Apple or orange juice in plastic champagne glasses can feel ritzy and grown up, making the perfect item to toast the New Year. Kids will enjoy party hats and noise-makers, and any excuse to make a racket.
Want some music for your little party-makers? It's a snap, with CDs, or if you have a karaoke machine, they can make their own music -- or noise that will pass for music. Sort of.
Too loud for too long? Plug in a movie or two, and the kids will be not only quiet (somewhat) and happy.
The younger ones may not last till midnight -- and you may not want them to.