Our New Year Traditions

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Our New Year Traditions

This is it. This is my last blog of 2020.

I can definitely say that I am excited for this year to be over. I am looking forward to a much better year. Hopefully! 🤞

In the mean time let me tell you how we like to end the year, every year. Here are just a few of our traditions.


First of all, if you are not familiar with me or my background, I am Bosnian but I was born in Slovenia. Both countries were part of the former Yugoslavia and we were a melting pot of cultures and religions. Not everyone celebrated Christmas so New Year’s Eve was a way to bring people together but also make sure that all kids had something to look forward to. Presents from Father Frost. It’s a bit more complicated than that and I will save that for another post.

Long story short, we also don’t celebrate Christmas. New Year’s Eve is one of our biggest holidays. It’s the day that we gather with our families and/ or friends and party. We host parties at home or we all get together and go out to a concert. Sometimes it is with just friends and sometimes it is with family. Each year can be different but every year is a celebration.

Before we got married, my husband and I would go out to New Year’s Eve parties and events. But with kids, that can get tricky. So we’ve learned to make it super special at home and created our own traditions.

First we start off by making sure we have enough champagne and cocktails for adults, non alcoholic drinks for the kiddos, meza (charcuterie) board with plenty of smoked meats, tons of snacks, fruits, and more. My husband and I love to have sushi for NYE but sometimes we get pizza or if we have family over, I will prepare a special meal. Others pride themselves on lamb dishes, homemade specialties and more. But as long as there is food, we are good.

Next I make sure we have party hats, glasses, sparklers, confetti and all things new years. The house has to sparkle and be alive.

Starting at 1pm, I blow up 11 balloons or prepare 11 paper bags. Each balloon/ bag contains an activity. The kids take turns and pick a bag or balloon every hour, on the hour. Some activities we do together, others are meant for each person individually.

Bags can contain activities like: play a game of uno, family foosball game, scavenger hunt, minute to win it, movie hour, dance hour, etc.

2021 New Year’s Eve Kids Scavenger Hunt

Music. We have to have a music. Sometimes we just watch the New Year celebrations on television but most of the time we have our own play lists. Either way, we dance, talk, laugh and always have a grand ol’ time.

But one of our favorite traditions is to go over pictures from that year and just remember how much fun we had. This brings out so many belly laughs. Some sad emotions can come out too but it is all part of closing one chapter and starting another. Plus we get to remind ourselves how lucky we really are or what we can do better in the following year.

One of our 2020 outdoor adventures. Right before COVID rocked our world.

At 5pm we call our European family members to wish them a happy new year. We video chat and celebrate together. It is an important part of our celebration because it unites us. I haven’t seen some of my cousins in 20 years so anytime I get to see them, is a special day.

At midnight, we hug, kiss, dance, and of course cheers. Cheers to the new year. We call all of our family and friends here in the US and celebrate with them for a minute or two as well.

But by 1am kids are pooped and ready for bed. Not only because they had a busy day but because Djeda Mraz or Father Frost is coming with present in the morning! Yes, we have Santa as well and even though it is not part of a Bosnian custom, we have kept that part of our childhood and love sharing it with our kids.

I have been here since I was 12 years old, my husband since he was 17 and our kids were born here. We have adapted a lot of American traditions and holidays. Some of which we have never had as kids. Like baking cookies, going to parades, gift giving to family and friends. But this is us and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are Bosnian American and these are our new traditions.

So as you can see, it is an eventful day and one we look forward to all year. For kids and adults alike. However, these traditions are not the same for every Balkan family. My husband and I both grew up in Bosnia but our upbringing was completely different. One thing we DO have in common, is the way we celebrate new year’s eve! So we combined our childhood traditions, mixed them with some new ones and created something that works for us and our family. We have fun and that’s all that matters to us.

May 2021 keep us happy and healthy. May we all come back together and have a wonderful new year. Stay safe my friends. Thank you for 2020 and as always, for all of your support.

X, Dijana

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