This is the first year that I haven’t had to work nor have I had my kids for New Year’s Eve. Now as a woman in my late 30’s, I feel like I’ve already done the stereotypical New Year’s Eve experience a few times now. I can’t say that I really care to do that anymore because I really like to be warm, don’t like standing on my feet for hours and care not to be in search of a bathroom other than the lovely portapotties that you are given at the outdoor celebrations. I don’t regret my experiences with that, even in NYC, but I’m in a different place now. Not only that, but those experiences can get EXPENSIVE!
New Year’s Eve Alternatives
Throughout the years, since my divorce, there have been a few different things that I have been involved in for NYE that I really enjoyed, that didn’t break my bank. In some cases, I actually made money. So that was even better!
I know that one year, when I didn’t have to work but had my children, we got invited to some friends house for a large sleepover. I thought this was a great idea because it was fun for the kids and the adults. We had adult beverages and made it a potluck. We did sparklers for everybody outside and the hostess had hats and noisemakers for the kids. There were some other adults that showed up to celebrate with us but didn’t spend the night. So ultimately it was a big party, but lower key, in which we could party in our pj’s. The kids loved it and I had a great time too.
One of the industries that I worked in for years was catering. This is one of those industries where you can ultimately work as much or as little as you want, so it can be extremely flexible if you are a single parent with kids. What it meant during the holidays for me, though, was that I needed child care a lot. The busiest time for catering is from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and if this is the line of work you are in, then you want to work as much as possible during this window.
Catering is another alternative to working a holiday job in retail because most companies are usually so busy that they are looking for extra help. The hourly rates are much higher than working in restaurants or retail, sometimes you get tips (especially at the holiday’s) and you usually get to bring home food leftovers. This was a huge BONUS for me because it helped cut down on my grocery costs.
One of the things that I learned about catering and hotel banquets is that a lot of companies host parties for NYE that are all inclusive. I, personally, worked for 3 different companies on 3 different years bartending on NYE. This was great fun, we got some good tips and got to be a part of the celebration.
Since working these events, I began to think about what a great idea they are. Instead of having to find a place to have dinner, another one to celebrate and watch the ball drop, and pay for drinks the entire time at either place, you can celebrate all inclusively indoors. Why yes, this is genius!
Here are just some of the options in the Raleigh area for the all inclusive celebrations:
If you aren’t in the same city, check out your local celebrations to see what your area has to offer.
One of the things that my children and I have done every year, whether I had to work or not, was attend the children’s NYE celebration in downtown Raleigh. This is an entirely free event! They block off an entire street downtown, which is where they drop our acorn at midnight, but they perform the same drop earlier for the kids celebration and then reset it for the adults.
They have gained the participation of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as the NC Museum of History, which are also downtown. These museums have crafts and events all throughout the day for families to participate in, for no cost. There are also vendors outside in between the two buildings that are either performing dances or music as well as arts and craft tables outside to get involved in. My kids have made everything from spaceships to swords and end up keeping these treasured items for months. That is until they meet an untimely end in my trash can because I am tired of them being on the floor.
The street they have blocked off has street food vendors (not free, of course) and many rides, such as a huge ferris wheel, the scrambler and the big enterprise looking ship that spins you around and sucks you to the wall with gravity.
My kids get so excited about this celebration every year that my daughter even cried hysterically one year when I had to go into work before the acorn dropped. As a parent, I swore to never do that again because it meant so much to her and I didn’t realize it. They are only little for a short period of time and know that there will come a time soon that they won’t care to do these things with me because they are too “cool.”
Overall, there are so many creative options to the typical New Year’s Eve. I am excited about all of the possibilities this year that won’t cost us an arm and a leg.
What are some creative ideas that you are entertaining for your New Year’s Eve Celebration this year, that are also cost effective?
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