Uh oh...

It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!

Read More about this safari issue.
Statewide Bentonville Cabot Greenbrier Jonesboro Searcy
Statewide Culture 0

Wholesome Family Traditions for New Year’s


The end of the year is upon us, and what better way to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new than with some delightful family traditions? Move over glittery ball drops and fireworks extravaganzas (although there are a few great ones mentioned below); it’s time to add a personal touch to your New Year’s celebrations. Here are some fun and lighthearted family traditions to make the transition from December 31st to January 1st a memorable affair!

New Year’s Eve

DIY Time Capsule

As the clock winds down on the old year, gather your clan and create a DIY time capsule. Each family member can contribute something symbolic of the year that’s about to end – a doodle, a small trinket, or a note with their favorite memories. Seal it tight and stash it away to be opened next New Year’s Eve. It’s like a time-traveling treasure chest that you can add to year after year.

Mocktail Mixology Madness

Toast to the approaching year with a family-friendly mocktail mixing session. Set up a colorful array of juices, sodas, and garnishes, and let everyone play bartender. Create silly concoctions, name them after family members, and cheers to the creativity flowing as freely as the drinks! Don’t forget to pick up a few bottles of Arkansas-made Pink House Alchemy mixers from your favorite local kitchen store.

Pajama Parade

Who says you need to glam up for New Year’s Eve? Embrace the cozy vibes by hosting a Pajama Parade. Strut your stuff in your silliest, snuggliest sleepwear, and have a catwalk competition. Bonus points for matching onesies and funky slippers!

Dress Up with Nowhere to Go

On the flip side, you can dress up to stay home. Put on your fanciest clothes and sparkly shoes and dance around your living room all night. Decorate in gold and silver, and break out your fancy plates and wine glasses for a glitzy night all the way around.

Snack-y Spread

Lay out the last of the Christmas cookies and candy, along with all of your favorite finger foods to graze on all night long. If you’re entertaining guests, invite each family to bring their favorite snack so you don’t have to do all the cooking. If you need some inspiration, give these recipes a try:

Mini Cheddar Bacon Quiches
Arkansas Campfire Dip
Honey Ham Tortilla Rolls
Spinach Dip
Arkansas Charcuterie Board

Resolution Roasts

Bid farewell to the tired tradition of making resolutions you might not keep. Instead, have a Resolution Roast. Write down your resolutions on slips of paper, toss them in a fire-safe bowl, or build the perfect campfire in your backyard. As the resolutions turn to ash, you’ll feel the weight lift, and it’s all in good fun! And don’t forget the marshmallows.

Look at Lights

Gather the kids and take one last enchanting stroll through your neighborhood to gaze at the dazzling lights before they bid farewell for the season. There’s something magical about how each twinkling bulb transforms ordinary streets into a spectacle of radiant colors and festive cheer. Grab some hot cocoa, bundle up in cozy scarves and mittens, and set out on for a final look at some of Arkansas’s must-see Christmas light displays before they go dark.

Local Celebrations

Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of your community by attending a local New Year’s celebration! Whether it’s a lively street party, a festive parade, or a dazzling fireworks display, local events offer a fantastic opportunity to ring in the new year surrounded by the energy and enthusiasm of your neighbors. It’s a chance to create lasting memories, connect with your community, and end the old year and start the new year on a high note. Here are a few of our family-friendly favorites:

Beats & Eats NYE Ball Drop | Searcy
Zing in the New Year | Bentonville
Noon Year’s Eve | Cabot
Museum of Discovery Noon Year’s Eve | Little Rock
Hijinx – The Funtivity Spot | Jonesboro
Piccolo’s Winter Circus | Greenbrier

New Year’s Day

First Day Hikes

Step into the great outdoors and breathe in the crisp, revitalizing air as you embark on a nature-filled adventure. Whether it’s a scenic trail in a nearby park, a mountain path, or a tranquil beach walk, the first day of the year sets the tone for a journey filled with exploration and renewal. Many of the Arkansas State Parks host First Day Hikes, and participants get a cool sticker.

Breakfast Bonanza

Start the year off right with a Breakfast Bonanza. Let each family member choose their favorite breakfast dish, whether it’s pancakes, waffles, or a breakfast burrito. Cook up a storm together and enjoy a leisurely morning feast. And don’t forget Arkansas’s favorite chocolate gravy!

Random Acts of Kindness

Start the year on a compassionate note by dedicating the day to random acts of kindness. Whether it’s helping a neighbor, sending uplifting messages, or contributing to a local charity, spreading kindness can set a positive tone for the entire year.

Black Eyed Peas

Embrace a Southern tradition and invite good luck into the new year by incorporating black-eyed peas into your New Year’s Day festivities. According to folklore, consuming these peas on New Year’s Day will bring prosperity and good fortune throughout the year. Consider cooking up a pot of hearty black-eyed pea soup, a classic Hoppin’ John dish, or simply adding them to your favorite recipes.

Gratitude Graffiti

Encourage an attitude of gratitude by creating a Gratitude Graffiti wall. Provide markers and sticky notes, and have everyone write down things they’re thankful for. Stick the notes on a designated wall or board throughout the day, creating a visual reminder of the blessings that fill your lives. It’s a great way to extend the spirit of the holiday season, cultivating a year-round spirit of gratitude in kids.

These family traditions will surely add a sprinkle of joy and a dash of whimsy to your New Year’s celebrations. After all, what better way to ring in the new year than with the people who make your heart merry? Happy New Year!

Meet the

Learn more about .

A little about .

Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

Read more stories by Julie Kohl


Visit Julie Kohl’s Website

Like this story? Read more from Julie Kohl


Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Submit a photo

We select one featured photo per week, but we show many more in our gallery. Be sure to fill out all the fields in order to have yours selected.

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png, Max. file size: 5 MB.

Regions Topics

What are you looking for?

Explore Arkansas

Central Arkansas

Little Rock, Conway, Searcy, Benton, Heber Springs

Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Fort Smith

South Arkansas

Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Arkadelphia

Explore by Topic