The year was 1978 (or so, but that sounds about right). My parents were headed out to a party on New Year’s Eve. It was one of the very few times I remember my parents going out together as adults. My dad was dressed in a suit, probably his three-piece gray, pin-striped suit with wide lapels. And my mother wore a long black and silver halter-style gown. They were a smart-looking couple that night and I remember it so well.
Perhaps it was because I was taken in by my mother’s sparkly dress or her fancy updo (which may or may not have involved a hairpiece) or perhaps it was because it was a night spent with my brother, sister, and my grandma. It was the four of us, along with Dick Clark, ready to rock in the New Year. And my grandma put me up to a challenge.
“I’ll bet you a whole dime that you can’t stay up until midnight,” she teased.
I’m pretty sure that even back then, a dime wasn’t much. But it was the challenge. Little did she know I was born a night owl and have managed to stay that way my entire life. To her surprise, and possibly delight, I easily stayed up until midnight and I collected that dime. That was one of my best New Year’s Eve as a kid.
And then there was the year my mom made plans for the family. She always has the best of intentions but the year that will live in infamy is the year she wanted us all to sit and watch the Rex Humbard New Year’s Eve special. On the off chance that you don’t know who Rex Humbard is, he was a television evangelist who was popular from the 1950s to the 1980s, right around the time when we were celebrating New Year’s Eve as a family.
Now, if you think that’s torture enough for a child, you’d be right. But if you want to take it a step further, imagine that you’re watching the special waiting for some kind of countdown to begin and then you look at the clock, see that it’s about 12:15, and realize this was a pre-recorded special. That was the worst.
No matter how we spent New Year’s Eve when I was growing up, it was almost always as a family and it certainly created a lot of memories (and blog fodder). It’s part of why I’ve carried the tradition along with my son, Evan. It’s not that I don’t want to go to fancy parties but it’s so much easier to stay off the roads and just enjoy some good food and drink at home. And yes, I let Evan stay up until midnight. I don’t have to bet him anything but if I did, I’m sure he’d be looking for more than a dime.
Now that he’s almost 8, he participates in whatever festivities we have going on. He gets his own fluted glass of sparkling grape juice. He snacks along with us and we countdown to midnight as a family, along with Ryan Seacrest.
If you’re one of those parents that believes in getting the kids to bed so that you can enjoy your own adult festivities at home. I admire you. I wish I had talked to you years ago. Because you probably figured out that most small children have no clue what time it actually is, let alone what it means. They simply know it’s supposed to be a night of fun.
If your New Year’s Eve countdown for the kids is closer to 7 p.m. than midnight, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Netflix, a third of parents (34%) admitted they either had or planned to start the party early and fool their kids into thinking its midnight long before the ball drops.
So cruel. Or genius (???).
Netflix, having recently launched the original TV series ALL HAIL KING JULIEN (with the first five episodes available for Netflix members to watch instantly), consulted with their new network star to find out the best way to help parents deal with dilemma.
I was totally bummed when I heard that some of my favorite little party people arent allowed to stay up until midnight for the biggest party of the year, said . But then I realized I’m king, I make the rules! So move over, Ryan Seacrest, I’ve got my very own on-demand countdown party on Netflix. That means the New Years Eve party is always on – just how it should be! What better way to ring in Julien-uary?
– King Julien, King of the Lemurs
And seriously, even I think King Julien is funny. And his kid-sized special is perfect at just over 3 minutes. You decide when it’s “midnight” and when to start the countdown. Everyone rings in the new year together and then you tuck your precious littles into bed. And crack open the good champagne.
To find the special, visit Netflix.com/KingJulien. From there, you can view the first five episodes of ALL HAIL KING JULIEN but if you’re looking for the Countdown, click on “Trailers & More” next to “Episodes” and click on King Julien New Year’s Eve Countdown.
Are you prepared to make this your kid’s best or worst New Year’s Eve?
This post was written as part of my role on the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own.