Because big parties with crowds, expensive cocktails, and massive fireworks shows aren’t the only way to ring in the new year.
The holiday season is in full swing, and the year (and the decade!) is almost over. If a big party is not your scene, you’re not alone. Some of the most fun and meaningful moments in life are a little more intimate, and shared with people we love. Below, I’ve rounded up a few ideas for ringing in the new year that are a little off the beaten path.
- Dinner Party
Invite your favorite people to share a meal. Plan an elaborate menu, and go all-out fancy. It’s the end of a decade, after all. Not much of a cook? Plan a potluck instead. Challenge everyone to make something they wouldn’t normally cook. Or assign teams and host a cook-off competition. There are lots of possibilities, but the end result of spending the evening with those you love, reflecting on the past and planning for the future is always a win.
- Game Night
Gather the gang for drinks, snacks, and some good-natured smack talk. Game nights provide an easy way to laugh, play, and get out of your comfort zone, together. To avoid a game night fail, make sure you think about these three questions: 1) How many people can comfortably fit in your space 2) How many people can play the games you want to play 3) What kind of group do you want to have?
There are tons of great games you can play together, but here are some ideas, broken down by category. May the best player win!
- Wine Tasting
Invite a local wine expert and a few friends to a special NYE tasting. Or, choose a type of wine and a price-point, and have everyone bring a bottle. Whether you are supplying the wine, or leaving it up to your guests, you’ll need to make sure you have enough wine glasses and a couple of good corkscrews, as well as plenty of food to soak it all up. Here are some great tips and ideas for hosting a great tasting.
If wine isn’t your thing, you could host a tasting event with beer, chocolate, or a different food item you love!
- Pajama Party
If you’d rather have a low-key, casual evening at home, throw a pajama party! Cocktails, appetizers, and jammies were definitely meant to be together! You could make it a girls night in, a sleepover, a movie marathon, a family affair… so many possibilities! To make the evening feel extra special, have a signature cocktail for the evening. Perhaps something with champagne? Plan lots of snacks, gather all the throw blankets and pillows you can find, and get cozy.
Out & About
- Overnight Hotel Stay
Take a mini vacay! It could be a fun getaway for the family, a renewing solo adventure, or the ultimate date night. During the day you can do some shopping, go see a movie, take advantage of the hotel pool, or relax in the spa. Ring in the new year with a meal in the hotel restaurant, or order room service for a special treat.
- Attend a Religious service
Also called a Watchnight Service or Mass, the late-night New Year’s Eve religious service is a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection, renewal and preparing for the year ahead.
Spend the day volunteering your time for a worthwhile cause that is important to you. Perhaps there is a homeless shelter in your city who is looking for help serving dinner. Or a nursing home nearby, full of people who could use a friendly visitor. Make it a family day, or ask a few friends to join you. Spending time serving others can be one of the most rewarding ways to close out the year.
For a casual, fun-filled evening with friends, ring in the new year with singing, drinks, laughter, and fun. If you like the idea of karaoke, but you’re too shy to sing in front of strangers, rent a private karaoke room so only you and your closest friends can laugh at each other.
No matter how you decide to close out the year, choosing to spend your time with people you love will ensure that you have a holiday worth remembering.
Kick off the holiday season with a community tree lighting celebration. Thanksgiving falls late on the calendar this year, so the Christmas festivities will be right on it’s heels. Some of these celebrations start as early as the day after Thanksgiving!
The bigger celebrations feature Santa’s arrival, and most of the communities will have fun activities designed to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. live music, refreshments, crafts, and other fun activities. Santa will make an appearance at most of these as well.
Nov. 29 – Bellevue at Bellevue Place
Nov. 29 – Seattle at Westlake Center
Nov. 30 – Seattle at Pike Place Market
Nov. 30 – Tacoma at the Broadway Center
Nov. 30 – Edmonds at Centennial Plaza
Dec. 1 – Bothell on Main Street
Dec. 1 – Olympia at Sylvester Park
Dec. 6 – Mercer Island at Mercerdale Park
Dec. 6 – Mountlake Terrace at Evergreen Playfield
Dec. 6 – Renton at Coulon Park
Dec. 6 – Sammamish at City Hall
Dec. 6 – University Place (south of Tacoma)
Dec. 7 – Kenmore at City Hall
Dec. 7 – Kent at Kent Town Square Plaza
Dec 7 – Lynnwood at City Hall
Dec. 7 – Mill Creek on Main Street
Dec 7 – Mukilteo at Rosehill Community Center
Dec. 7 – West Seattle at West Seattle Junction
Dec 7 – Woodinville at DeYoung Park & Wilmot Gateway Park
Nothing feels more like fall than pumpkin picking, hay rides and corn mazes. Get your latte in hand and head out to any one of these great, local farms to have some harvest fun and find that perfect jack-o-lantern to light up your porch.
Times, dates & activities may change, please use the provided links to confirm details and hours of operation.
31929 SE 44th St, Fall City
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides, fresh eggs, gift shop, pony rides, picnic area, farm animals
1148 Central Ave N, Kent
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm fun yard, hay rides, produce stand, concessions
Fall City Farms
3636 Neal Road, Fall City
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides, fresh honey, pre-picked produce, farm animals, snacks and refreshments.
Fox Hollow Family Farm
12031 Issaquah Hobart Rd SE, Issaquah
Pumpkins for sale, hay bale maze, bouncy house, face painting, haunted house, pony rides, petting zoo, farm animals, concessions
229 W Snoqualmie River Rd NE, Carnation
Pumpkins, horse-drawn covered wagon rides, hay rides, hay bale maze
10819 Carnation-Duvall Rd NE, Carnation
Pumpkins, produce, picnic area, playground
Mosby Farm Pumpkin Patch
12747-b South East Green Valley Rd, Auburn
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, snacks and refreshment stand, picnic area
The Nursery at Mt Si
42328 SE 108th St, North Bend
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides
32610 NE 32nd St, Carnation
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, animal barnyard, pony rides, steam train, hay jump
20306 NE 50th St, Redmond
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, duck races, animal train
Thomasson Family Farm
38223 236th Ave SE, Enumclaw
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, kids korral, tractor train rides, pumpkin sling shot
Tonnemaker Valley Farm, Woodinville Farm Stand
16215 140th Pl NE, Woodinville
You-pick pumpkin patch, you-pick flowers, produce stand, on-site pepper roasting on Saturdays
Biringer’s Black Crow Pumpkins & Corn Maze
2431 Highway 530 NE, Arlington
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, straw or hay bale maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, farm market, picnic area
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm
10917 Elliott Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, bonfire & picnic area, hay rides, pony rides, playground, concessions
630 Sunnyside Blvd SE, Lake Stevens
Pumpkin patch, train rides, corn maze, haunted corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, farm animals, farm market
13817 Short School Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, face painting, farm animals, snacks & refreshment stand
The Farm at Swans Trail
7301 Rivershore Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, pick your own apples, pig & duck races, petting zoo, putt-putt golf and more
Fairbank Animal Farm & Pumpkin Patch
15308 52nd Ave W, Edmonds
Pumpkins, petting zoo, farm animals, picnic area
Fosters Pumpkin Farm
5818 State Route 530 NE, Arlington
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay bale maze, corn cannon, pre-picked produce, face painting, farm animals, snacks and refreshment stand, picnic area
8705 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, jumping pillow and more
Thomas Family Farm
9010 Marsh Road, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, monster truck rides, haunted house, gem mining, Zombie Safari Paintball Hayride, beer garden, putt-putt golf and more
Double R Farms
5820 44th St E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay rides, farm animals, pumpkin sling shot
25001 Sumner-Buckley Hwy, Buckley
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted woods, farm animals, hay ride, trout fishing, play ground
6502 52nd St E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay ride, pumpkin sling shot, concessions
12920 162nd Ave E, Orting
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, play area
9622 SR 162 E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, farm animals, face painting, pumpkin sling shot, concessions
The first day of school has snuck up on us again! Most local school districts will start just after Labor Day, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to start getting ready. Take advantage of these last weeks of summer to start settling into a new routine before life gets hectic.
Start talking about it. New teacher, new classmates, new schedules can all create some anxieties with kids. Start talking about school a few weeks before the first day. Talk about practical things like what the new schedule will be like, but also make sure to address their feelings and concerns about the upcoming year.
Ease back into the scheduled days. When you and your kids are used to lazy mornings and staying up late, shifting to the early morning school bus rush can be incredibly difficult. To ease the transition, start 7-10 days before school starts, and shift bedtimes and wake-up times gradually. Every day, start their bedtime routine 10-15 minutes earlier and wake them up 10-15 minutes earlier until they’re back on track. And don’t forget to readjust your bedtime schedule, too!
Re-set eating habits. When school starts, your student needs to maintain a high level of energy throughout the day. Implementing a routine for breakfast, lunch and snacks is just as important as their sleeping patterns. Begin this transition 7-10 days before school starts as well.
Inventory wardrobes. Before going school shopping, take some time to go through what you already have, donate things they’ve outgrown, and make a list of what is needed.
Go back to school shopping early. The store aisles are currently packed with school supplies. Take advantage of your summer schedule to shop while the store isn’t as busy and the supplies haven’t been picked through. Don’t forget to buy extras for homework time or the winter re-stock that inevitably happens in January.
Determine how your child will get to and from school and discuss it with your child so they know exactly what to expect. If they will be walking or biking, try to find a neighborhood buddy they can stick with, and be sure to practice the route with them.
Sync your calendars. If you don’t already have one, create a shared family calendar to track everyone’s activities and commitments. Add all the important school dates before the year starts, so important things like parent-teacher night aren’t missed, and everyone is on the same page.
Set rules for after school. After-school time and activities such as TV, video games, play time, and the completion of homework should be well-thought out in advance. Talk about the rules (and consequences) for these before school starts.
Set goals. Research shows that setting and tracking goals leads to success. Before school starts, talk to your child about some things they would like to accomplish this year. Write down their goal(s), post it somewhere visible in the house, and check in periodically with them to see how they are doing.
Implement a weekly family meeting. This will come in handy as the year goes on and schedules become fuller. Put it on the calendar and make it a priority: just a few minutes every week to sit down together, review the schedule for the coming week, and check in with each child about homework, projects, and goals. This is also a good time to clean out and organize backpacks and binders.
Detailed information can be found in the links in bold type:
6/21 The Lego 2 Movie
7/19 Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Frances Anderson Center Field
8/2 A Wrinkle in Time
Thornton Sullivan Park, Camp Patterson Field
7/19 Incredibles 2
7/26 Ralph Breaks the Internet
8/2 The Lego Movie 2
8/9 Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
8/16 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Port of Everett North Guest Docks 6 & 7 (by boat) or Boxcar Park (by land)
8/2 Remember the Titans
8/9 Pirates of the Caribbean
8/16 The Proposal
7/13 A Dog’s Way Home
7/20 Ralph Breaks the Internet
8/3 Incredibles 2
8/10 The Karate Kid
Lake Tye Park
8/2 The Incredibles 2
8/9 Ralph Breaks the Internet
8/16 Mary Poppins Returns
8/23 Black Panther
Willis Tucker Park (Snohomish)
7/25 The Incredibles 2
8/1 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Lake Stevens Community Park (no link provided)
8/8 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
8/15 Mary Poppins Returns
7/9 Hotel Transylvania 3
7/16 A Dog’s Way Home
7/30 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
8/6 The Lego Movie 2
8/20 Wonder Park
8/27 Back to the Future
8/1 Christopher Robin
8/8 Ralph Breaks the Internet
8/15 The Incredibles 2
8/22 Mary Poppins Returns
Carillon Point Plaza
7/6 Mean Girls
7/20 Crazy Rich Asians
8/3 The Incredibles 2
8/17 Solo: A Star Wars Story
7/10 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
7/17 Bohemian Rhapsody
7/24 Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
7/31 Top Gun
8/7 The Incredibles 2
8/13 The Sandlot
8/28 The Princess Bride
Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre
7/19 Wayne’s World
7/20 Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
8/17 The Lego Movie 2
Hing Hay Park
8/3 Crazy Rich Asians
8/10 Iron Monkey
Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre
7/27 The Princess Bride
8/3 Crazy Rich Asians
8/10 Bohemian Rhapsody
8/17 Dirty Dancing
8/24 Black Panther
Peddler Brewing Co Beer Garden
5/30 The Goonies
6/13 Super Troopers
6/20 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
6/27 Mean Girls
7/11 The Hangover
7/18 The Princess Bride
7/25 10 Things I Hate About You
8/1 Back to the Future
8/8 Point Break
8/15 Pitch Perfect
8/22 The Sandlot
8/29 The Big Lebowski
South Lake Union Discovery Center (21+)
6/22 The Matrix: 20th Anniversary
7/20 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 30th Anniversary
8/17 The Life Aquatic
Skyway Outdoor Cinema
8/2 Incredibles 2
8/9 The Princess Bride
8/23 Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Every year, my office comes together to provide summer camp scholarships for local kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the adventures of overnight camp. This year we donated $17,125 to YMCA Camp Orkila and Camp Colman – our highest number ever! I am so proud to be part of an office that cares so deeply for the community!