A blog written for Mr & Mrs Smith.
When tiny tots factor in the family equation, just seeing the clock strike 12 on New Year’s Eve might be a celebration of stamina in itself. Exhausted parents of babies might have forgotten what such an hour looks like, unless it’s dragging themselves from the cosiness of their duvet for the first feed of the night. But as mums and dads emerge from the haze that is raising little ones through the unrelenting cycle of sleep deprivation in the first years, they might find they have enough energy to once again celebrate the beginning of a new year…
Go all out – the only way is NYC
New York sure knows how to do a lot of things in style, and New Year’s Eve in Times Square is among the most famous. So for a truly blockbuster night watching the ball drop, get yourself into the midst of Manhattan. But after the madness of NYE NYC style, make sure you have somewhere opulent and cosy to retreat to – especially as New York can be so very chilly this time of year. A stay at The Surrey will not disappoint: this Upper East Side pad will make sure you are pampered from start to finish and will welcome your brood with open arms – they’re equipped with tot-sized robes and handy kitchenettes for their bottles and snacks. If you’re a total Christmas nut, New York manages to extend the festivities as long as possible, so you can enjoy the lights and eek out every last bit of Christmas too. Experience a classic family NYC Christmas, perusing the window displays along Fifth and taking the kids ice skating (you know they won’t let you leave the city without doing it).
A countryside jaunt to Bucks
Parents: remember all those blissfully carefree years ringing in the New Year, champagne in hand, footloose and fancy free? No dread of a killer hangover and no fear that you haven’t had enough sleep to get through the next day with you and your offspring fully intact? Well at Stoke Park, in the Buckinghamshire countryside, they want to help you relive your hey-day by lending a hand and taking care of your kids, with children’s entertainment included during the evening on 31 December and – most importantly – in the morning on 1 January (genius). So you can dance the night away at Stoke Park’s elegant masked ball, ring in the New Year with gusto, and the following morning you gingerly sip your Bloody Mary solo and gently start to feel human again.
Hop to the Med instead
Portugal in December isn’t exactly balmy, but its Mediterranean location means it isn’t cold at this time of year either. It’s less than a three-hour flight from the UK meaning you don’t have to go far for milder climes and to extend your littles happiness beyond the thrill of Christmas. This New Year’s Eve, the Martinhal Sagres is planning an epic party with cocktail and canapés, followed by a gala dinner with live music and fireworks at midnight. Kids are entertained between courses, meaning a fun and relaxing time is had by all. Either side of the big night, this fabulously child-friendly resort has got you covered with brilliant kids’ clubs, design-led rooms and suites, and a top-notch spa that includes a choice of Mum & Child options for some indulgent together-time and exclusive treatments for tweens and teens too.
As US cities go, they don’t get much more family-friendly than Boston. An easy hop across the pond from the UK, Boston puts on a brilliant New Year’s Eve celebration, ‘First Night’, thats popularity since 1976 has inspired numerous similar events across the States. It’s designed firmly with families in mind and as such, it’s an alcohol-free event. Expect music and dancing, ice skating on the Common, an early evening parade down Boylston Street and midnight fireworks over Boston Harbor. And it’s free! During your break in the city, don’t leave without visiting the world-renowned Boston Children’s Museum for hours of fun. The city has its own Legoland Discovery Centre too. Family breaks made easy, right?
Go long-haul for a proper escape
Post-Christmas, sometimes only the warm sun on your skin and a cocktail in your hand on a beach will do to truly relax and rejuvenate. Where better to give yourself a big pat on the back for surviving Christmas than in the Maldives? And if you’re bringing the clan with you, Per Aquum Niyama should be a top choice. Let’s break it down: you’ll be in the Lime spa, being restored to your pre-Christmas best in an over-water treatment room while your toddler is racing hermit crabs on the beach, your child is kayaking and your teen is content playing Xbox in an uber-cool hangout. Seriously, everyone will be so happy you’ll return to the UK ready to start 2017 utterly refreshed.
Arguably unbeatable London Town
London, like New York, doesn’t hold back on its New Year fireworks – it’s a proper knees-up at this ticket-only display. Your kids, whatever their age, are bound to get excited (even if they are blasé teens that won’t admit it). Before the countdown, most of London’s festive attractions are open late too, including ice skating at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House. And there’s always a trip on London Eye (with obligatory champagne for parents) with views that will have everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing. Post-celebration, a stay at Claridge’s is a good bet for kids – despite its oh-so-fancy appearance, it welcomes all ages exceedingly well. Including, happily, a great selection of DVDs and board games to keep young ones busy so you can indulge in a 1 January lie-in (here’s hoping…).
Pretend it’s not happening in Sweden
Hey, you survived Christmas with kids – well done, you. So now it’s time to wave goodbye to random relatives that only seem to emerge at the festive time of year and seek some calm and solitude. Retreat and recover at Treehotel in Sweden and you’ll leave every last trace of chaos behind. No more irritating Christmas music that’s been going around your head since November – it’s time to press the reset button in your very own treehouse den in the forest. Treehotel is the type of place that’s perfect to pretend New Year’s Eve isn’t even happening without neglecting the cosy, wintery loveliness of the season. There’s snowshoe tours, dog-sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, skijoring (where a horse pulls you along on skis) and snowmobile safaris to reconnect as a family and have fun. 2017 can wait for you to catch up when you’re back…
Featured image is Treehotel