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New Year's Eve 2017

If you have kids, know any kids, or have observed any kids--you're probably well aware that making New Year's Eve fun for both grown ups and kids is a bit tricky. There's not a chance you're letting little ones stay up till midnight, and let's face it--there's no way I'M staying up till midnight these days. What exactly doesn FUN on New Year's Eve look like with little kids?! This is what we asked ourselves seven years ago when we had 4 kids under the age of 5. The plan we came up with was so fun, that it quickly became a tradition that we look forward to every New Year's Eve!  We decided to combine three of our favorite things--Our family, travel, and food, and "take a trip" to Paris for the evening. We put together a French menu, decorated the dining room, and dressed up to enjoy a festive evening learning about the culture, playing traditional music and games, and ringing in the New Year at the same time as they would in France (meaning everyone had a nice early bedtime). 

Every year since we've picked a country and done the same thing--and it's gets better and better! I found some old blog posts about a few of them HERE and HERE.

This year we went to Switzerland, which was meaningful for a couple of reasons. Both Seth and I served missions in neighboring Austria--so a lot of the traditions are similar to a country we know and love. Years ago on my mission I spent New Year's Eve with a Swiss family, who introduced me to the magic that is a traditional Raclette dinner.  If you're not familiar with it, it's a cheese that is served hot and melty on and with various delights like crusty bread, potatoes, peppers, cornichons, meats, etc. It's amazing! Once we decided that's where we were headed this year, I realized I didn't know where I could even find authentic raclette. This is where the cheese miracle of 2017 begins.  While I was at our local grocery store, I decided to look in the gourmet cheese section to see if they carried any.  To my surprise I found a small wheel (that looked like it would feed 2 of us) and turned it over to see how much it cost. To my chagrin, that little wheel of cheese was almost $60!! I started looking around to see if there was any other kind of cheese that I could substitute for less money, when I came across a GIANT wheel of raclette, way in the back. I pulled it out, mostly to admire it--and also to see how much that beauty cost. I looked at the price tag...then looked again. I stared at it for a solid minute, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. It finally dawned on me that what should have been labeled as a 9.1 POUND wheel of cheese, was actually mis-labeled as .91 pounds.  This meant that instead of being $173.80 it was $17.38  IT WAS A CHEESE MIRACLE! I wasn't sure they were going to let me check out with it, but they did!  Not only was this proof that God loves me (beause dairy is my love language), but it was an excellent lesson on the importance of correct placement of decimal points. Homeschool win!

Now that the menu was planned, it was onto wardrobe! Chanel is our resident wardrobe specialist, and she magically turned goodwill pants and suspenders into lederhosen for the boys. Seth wore his own trachten jacket kept from his days in Austria, and the girls were outfitted in Dirndls. Once the room was decorated, it was off to Switzerland! After our amazing meal we learned some traditional dances (the Haushammer is so fun--you need to google THIS and learn it!), and then ended the evening with chocolate fondue--followed by chocolate/cheese comas. Happy New Year!!

Over the years the traditions we started have become milestones throughout our year. Memories both to look back on, and to look forward to.  They don't all involve cheese miracles, but they do bind us together as a family, and have become part of the culture of our home. I couldn't be more grateful to begin every new year with these people. If you have any great ideas of where we should "visit" next---I'd love to hear your suggestions! What traditions do you have for New Year's Eve that you love? What are some of your favorite memories of New Year's Eve as a kid?