2021 New Year's Eve Celebration with Kids... including 2022 FREE printable tags, activities, and photo props

When it comes to celebrating New Year's Eve, I love making the evening feel special and fun... without spending a lot of money. I always make use of dollar store finds, and simple items I can print myself. Below, I am sharing my favourite New Year's Eve family celebration ideas, and some FREE New Year's Eve printables you can use.

I always put together activity bags that my kids can open every hour as we count down to the new year. It's one of my favourite traditions, and it's a great way to keep the whole evening fun. 

Here are examples of what you can put in the bags:

5pm - Year in Review - Year in review questionnaires provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. 

To download the questionnaire I designed: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

***NOTE: Grab the 2022 version here.***

6pm - Candy Rings - 6pm bags could contain candy rings with punny tags that say, "Ring in the new year!" To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.

7pm - Midnight Kisses - 7pm bags could contain hershey kisses with punny "midnight kisses" tags. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.

8pm - Popcorn and Karaoke - The 8pm bag could contain popcorn and in invite to sing some karaoke. Playing a board game or having a dance party would be fun too.

9pm - Cookies and Milk - The 9pm bag could contain "milk and cookies" toast to the new year. How cute are these wine glasses (rimmed with sprinkles) and filled with milk? Add your favourite homemade chocolate chip cookies, and you are good to go. Sparkling lemonade and store bought cookies would be good too!

10pm - Sparklers - The 10pm bag can be filled with sparklers with "Bringing some sparkle to 2021" tags. I designed the tags, cut some slits with an x-acto knife, and inserted sparklers. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.

11pm - Photo Booth with Horns and Hats - The 11pm bag could be filled with items needed to set up a photo booth. It can contain lots of horns and hats for welcoming the new year. 

To download the photo props I designed (for free): click on the picture you are interested in printing (below), right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 8x10 photo.

12am - Breakfast for Tomorrow Party Favours - Every party needs a favour, so the 12am bag could contain "Breakfast for tomorrow" party favours. I like using pop tarts, but small boxes of cereal work well too. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.

Check out how fun it is to fill a table with activity bags and party favours. There are no rules. Fill your bags with whatever you like!

How will you be celebrating New Year's this year? I hope you use some of my ideas and free printable tags and photo props.

Happy New Year!!!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

2021 New Year's Eve Questionnaire

***Update: Grab the 2022 version here.***

New Year's Eve is a time for reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one -- not just for adults, but for kids too. With this in mind, each year I put together a Year in Review Questionnaire for my boys to fill out on New Year's Eve. Here is the 2021 version.

It is a pretty simple questionnaire, and you can download the free printable by: right-clicking on the picture (above), saving it to your computer, and printing it like a regular 8X10 photo. I usually print mine at my local office supply store where colour copies are $0.49 each.

I love seeing what my boys come up with each year. Maybe someday I will make a book for each of my boys using all the questionnaires they have filled out over the years.

Happy New Year!

Gina Bell 
(aka East Coast Mommy)

My Favorite Dollar Store Decorating HACKS for Christmas

Is there anything more satisfying than creating unique holiday decor on a budget? I love finding simple ways to add festive flair to my home, and today I'm share my favourtie dollar store holiday decorating HACKS.

Update something cheap to look high end - The dollar store has many inexpensive decor pieces that can easily be upgraded to look more high end.

For example, I found a cheap dollar store square frame, and I painted it with shiny red spray paint. Then, I added a fun Santa decoration I found at the dollarstore (with hot glue). I finished by using hot glue to attach dollar store greenery and pom poms. Isn't my Santa wreath adorable? You'd never guess it only cost me a couple of dollars to make!

You could also use the frame to make an ornament wreath. Just hang a couple of ornaments from twine, and use hot glue to add a bow and hanger.

Think outside the box - It's always fun to find everyday items at the dollar store and use them in a unique way. 

For example, this year the dollar store had some super-fun Christmas movie themed wrapping paper, so I used it to wrap pictures I already had hanging in my hallway. I love the big impact this simple DIY has! 

I also wrapped my plain white driveway markers with red electrical tape to get a North Pole / candy cane effect. It was a simple way to add a festive flair to the outside of my home.

Use what you have - Sometimes the best way to come up with something great is to use what you already have and add some dollar store items to make it better / different. 

For example, I recently made a Christmas arrangement with branches and boughs from the trees in my yard. Then, I added a dollar store bow and a couple of dollar store stems. I love how it turned out, and it only cost a few dollars!

Make ornaments and decorations from dollar store supplies - The dollar store has countless supplies for making ornaments and decorations. Browse blogs and Pinterest for inspirations, grab some supplies, and get busy.

How cute are these ornaments made from dollar store popsicle sticks and craft paint?

And these "Elf" inspired crafts are made using mostly dollar store supplies. 

You can find all the details for inexpensive "Elf Movie" decor here.

And this adorable Santa ornament is made with a wooden ring from the dollar store. Cute, right?!? You can find the step by step instructions here.

Dollar store decorating doesn't need to look cheap... especially if you pair dollar store items with a little creativity. Do you have a favourite dollar store decorating HACK? I hope I've inspired you to try a couple of mine.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also like the Christmas DIYs here.

Chocolate CHRISTMAS Crackle Cookies

Who doesn't love a good Christmas cookie recipe? Baking (and eating) cookies is one of my favourite parts of the holiday season. This year, my boys and I are loving these chocolate Christmas crackle cookies. They are simple to make, fudgey in the middle, crispy on the edges... and they look great on a Christmas cookie tray.

To make Chocolate Christmas Crackle Cookies:


Gather your ingredients:

  •         ½ vegetable oil
  •         2 cups granulated sugar
  •         4 eggs
  •         2 tsp real vanilla
  •         2 cups flour
  •         1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  •         2 tsp baking powder
  •         1 tsp salt
  •         1 tsp cinnamon
  •         Approx. ½ icing sugar for coating


  1.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2.      In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3.      In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4.      Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  5.      Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (using a cookie scoop), and then completely coat each ball by rolling it in icing sugar.
  6.      Place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet (leaving room for spreading), and bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should be crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. Cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

I think a cookie chacuterie board is wonderful for holiday entertaining, and these cookies make a great addition to a tray of goodies. 

Check out the cookie board I made for my boys this year. I filled a couple of dishes with chocolates, stacked my chocolate Christmas crackle cookies in the middle, and filled the extra spaces with store bought cookies. Cute, right?

Do you have a favourite cookies? I highly recommend giving these chocolate Christmas crackle cookies a try. If you make them, let me know what you think.

Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also enjoy the awesome Christmas cookie recipes here.

5 Easy Ways to "Gift" Local Products this Year

Disclosure: I received compensation from Perennia for including the Antigonish Farmer's Market products in this post; however, be assured that the opinions expressed in this blog are 100% my own.

Is there anything better than supporting locally made products? I love to browse my community farmer's market each week, and I'm never disappointed with the products I purchase. This year, why not consider the wonderful products available in your communtity as gifts for your family and friends? Below, I'm sharing a few EASY ways to "gift" local products this Christmas.

1) Give the gift of a meal - I love the idea of spending time with family and friends while enjoying a meal together, and farmer's markets make it easy to get all the fresh ingredients you need. My local market, the Antigonish Farmer's Market, even has complete meal kits you can purchase. Check out the fantastic dinner kit they are selling here.

Each Holiday Meal Box contains:

– Pork or Beef roast from Forever Green Farm & Gardens or Westerwind Farm
– Bee Sting Honey Mustard or Bee Sting BBQ Sauce from Cornect Family Farm 
– Bag of carrots from Lochaber Growers
– Bag of potatoes from Forever Green Farm & Gardens
– Large onion from Casey’s Vegetables 
– 6-pack of biscuits from Nanny’s Country Kitchen
– Pecan tarts from Swick’s Bakery

2) Give the gift of time together - People are very busy this time of year, so a quick "meet up" for appetizers and drinks is a wonderful idea. Treat your friends and family to great conversation and locally sourced drinks and appetizers. Check out the fantastic appetizer box available to order from the Antigonish Farmer's Market here.

Each Holiday Appetizer Box contains:

– $20 Liquor Gift Certificate from Steinhart Distillery or Candid Brewing or Coldstream clear Distillery
– 2 Pepperoni Sticks from Forever Green Farm & Gardens
– Dunmaglass cheese from Knoydart Farm
– Peppercorn cheese from  Knoydart Farm
– Bread Chips from Martins Fine Bakery
– Hummus from Martins Fine Bakery

3) Give the gift of self care - I love thoughtful gifts, and there are many wonderful "self care" options available locally. The Antigonish Farmer's Market has a wonderful holiday box here.

The Holiday Gift Box contains:

– Bath bombs from TresBien Naturals Bath & Body
– Picture from Melinda by the Sea
– Earrings from Simply Lovely
– 2-pack of cleansing cloths & cloth bookmarks from Liss & Landi

I also love the idea of pairing quality handmade items with inexpensive trinkets. I packaged the content of my holiday gift box with a dollar store throw and "mindfulness" notepad, and I think it looks great!

4) Use fun gift tags - Small gifts can be made extra special by adding a punny gift tag. I found these adorable honey-based sauces at my farmer's market, and I made a cute tag for them. It says, "Merry Christmas to my SWEET & SAUCY friend". Cute, right?

I also made tags that say, "Spreading Christmas Cheer one jar at a time." These tags would work with any jar of goodies made locally.

To download the tags I designed: click on the tags below, right-click, save them to your computer, and print them like regular 4x6 photos.

5) Share your talents - I love the idea of sharing special talents with family and friends during the holidays. It's a wonderful way to make a gift extra special. 

For example, if you are crafty, you could make a special beer mug and pair it with a few cans of local ale. And if you are good in the kitchen, you could also add your favourite homemade granola or trail mix.

You could also update a dollar store cutting board with a ribbon (and maybe a monogram) to pair with local ingredients for a charcuterie board.

*** BONUS ***

If you don't know exactly what to give, gift certificates are always great... especially if you give them in a creative way. Check out the fun idea below!

Cut a paper towel roll to fit inside a jar, place it in the jar, fill the outside with Christmas candy, and stick a gift certificate in the centre. The Antigonish farmers market has several great options here.

Then, add some twine and cute dollar store ornament, and you are good to go!

I think these are all fantastic ways to "gift" local products this Christmas. Which of my ideas is your favourite?

I hope I've inspired you to shop locally this year. I know I'm loving all the wonderful Nova Scotia products the Antigonish Farmer's Market has to offer.

Gina Bel(aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't miss any of the fun....