Busy Mom’s Complete Guide to Quarantined New Year’s Magic

Like many families in our area (and across the country), we were exposed to COVID at Christmas. So now, we are waiting out quarantine, and our New Year’s plans are wrecked. Goodbye super fun New Year’s Eve party with friends. Goodbye family-filled New Year’s day celebrations. Goodbye Hadestown at the Saenger. “Twenty twenty TOO” indeed. But I refuse to wallow in ennui. Instead, I am embracing my 2022 goal of cultivating joy and came up with a plan to make New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at home with our family truly magical. Bonus – with the exception of one curbside pickup, everything can be done by delivery and with things you probably have around the house.

I hope this helps your New Year’s to be truly magical.

Note – I threw in a WHOLE BUNCH of links. None of these are affiliate links. This is just a bunch of stuff I personally actually plan on using for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I don’t get anything for you clicking these links. Links are for your convenience so you can take advantage of my research. I built my New Year’s plan and then thought other people might benefit. Enjoy.

In this house, holidays start with an extra special breakfast.

Since we are living that gluten free life, I found some great gluten free donuts in the freezer section of the grocery store. Pop these in the air fryer and they turn out great. To step up the festive flair, we will then cover them in metallic and glitter sprinkles. Check out this page for reference and a free printable. We will also make these Firework Fruit Kabobs, which adds something healthy that doubles as a family activity.

celebrating New Year's Eve at home with kids

Happy Noon Year!

Our kids are too little to stay up until midnight, so instead, we do a countdown to noon. We will spend the morning having a Noon Year party, including some combination of the following activities:

  • Make gluten free party mix (combine 3 cups any combination of Chex cereal, 1 cup nuts, 1 cup pretzels, and a handful of crackers. Melt 1 stick of butter and season with 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp hot sauce, 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 tsp cajun seasoning, plus whatever other seasonings speak to your heart like maybe ground mustard and mushroom powder. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mixture and mix gently. Bake for an hour at 250 stirring every 15 minutes. Spread over paper towels to cool and dry.)
  • Decorate party hats
  • Play New Year’s Eve Bingo
  • Play with poppers, sparklers, and noisemakers (I got these through a combination of grandparents dropping off and a curbside no-contact pickup at Party City)

We will countdown to Noon Year with a countdown video and a sparkling apple cider toast Happy Noon Year!

how to celebrate New Year's Eve while quarantined

What time is it? It’s time for lunch. What time is it? It’s time for lunch.

It is a party, so for lunch, we are having party foods! I was able to score some easy gluten-free appetizers from Target via Shipt, including gluten free meatballs (which will be ready and waiting in the crockpot), gluten free eggrolls (air fryer), and gluten free salami-wrapped cheese sticks. Pair this with the party mix we made earlier that morning, a make ahead spinach artichoke dip (combine 1 pint sour cream and 1 ranch packet with 10 oz of well-drained steamed spinach and 8 oz of drained, chopped water chestnuts; chill) with tortilla chips and carrots, some microwave-steamed corn, and cheese cubes, and my littles should have a good time.

Then God willing, my children will take naps, or at least rest time, and I will regroup for the next round.

Celebrating New Year's Eve at homeAfter nap, the party continues!

Weather pending, the afternoon will be filled with playtime and activities. Our kids love to ride their bikes and scooters, draw with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, and swing on the swings. They also love art projects and to bake together, so I will have these activities prepped and ready to roll:

Pizza Party!

It’s been a long day. What is both super easy and screams party time? It’s a pizza party! Pair frozen pizza plus salad and the kids’ dinner is done. (And Shipt was able to deliver great gluten free options from Target and Rouses.)

Transitioning to a grown up New Year’s Eve

Once the kids go to bed, a more sophisticated adult dinner is in order. I plan to take a few minutes to put on a nice dress, touch up my hair and makeup, and feel like a real girl. We may be stuck at home, but we can still have a great New Year’s date.

Thanks to Drzly, I can have a bottle of champagne delivered from Ambassador Wine & Spirits. For our festive cocktail hour, I will use this champagne to make French 75’s and pair this with an appetizer of garlic-herbed goat cheese and gluten free crackers. For our main course, we will have a truffled pasta (Costco has shaved truffles!) with grilled chicken (sous vide makes this a breeze). Roasted Brussel sprouts on the side are an easy addition to dress up the meal (trim and halve Brussel sprouts, toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 375 for 20 minutes; add a splash of white wine vinegar, stir, and roast another 10 minutes).

In terms of programming, the following board games are great for two players to pass an evening and you can find these in town with curb-side pickup (at least at the time of writing)

Party’s Not Done Over – Welcome to New Year’s Day!

In our family, New Year’s Day is jam-packed with family parties. Our girls love to run around playing with their cousins. There are traditional foods that we eat, and starting the new year off surrounded by the people we love is a gift – a gift I will now try to recreate at home.

Starting the Year Off with Style

In a throwback to one of the bigger food trends of 2020, the Pioneer Women has put a twist on the feta bake to make a breakfast casserole. Pair this with watermelon, and our littles should have happy bellies.

To make the day still feel special, I will have a lineup of potential arts and crafts projects. Also, may I mention that Peloton has 5 Minute Family Fit Breaks that we have really been enjoying during this quarantine. It is a great way to take a little break and add some movement, plus our health insurance gave us the Peloton membership for free.

A traditional New Year’s Day lunch

I will need to balance our morning activities with preparing a traditional New Year’s lunch. Baked ham, black-eyed peas, and in lieu of the traditional cabbage rolls, this amazing cabbage soup. (Our crew doesn’t like cabbage, but they still love this soup.)

Kicking back with cuddles and a movie

movie day on New Year's DayDuring lockdown, my husband started an afternoon movie routine with the girls so I could get some work done. The afternoon movie has continued to be a go-to for special family time. Pop the best popcorn ever (and here is a super easy recipe for ghee), break out some treats (like those Rice Krispie treats we will have made), and cuddle up for a movie. We are super excited to check out Encanto, which recently dropped on Disney+ (Lin Manuel Miranda did the music!)

A dinner to start the new year.

New Year's Day DinnerWe will round out this epic home celebration with one of my favorite meals – gluten free mac and cheese (this Serious Eats recipe works really well with Banza gluten free pasta; recommend adding mushroom powder and mustard powder), sous vide steak, and roasted green beans (toss green beans in olive oil and salt, roast at 375 for 30 minutes).

Cultivate joy.

It’s going to be a great year. Let’s go cultivate some joy.

Jess Allain is a mom of two, an attorney, a triathlete, and a yoga teacher. She is a member of the Junior League of Lafayette and serves on the board of The Family Tree. When she isn't swimming, biking, running, reading, practicing yoga, litigating, or cooking something up in the kitchen, you will find her playing with her two beautiful girls. Adventure is out there!