Traditionally, New Year’s Eve entertainment in the United States centers on young adults or couples going out for a glitzy night on the town. But this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans will ring in 2021 at home.
And many, having recently formed multigenerational households, are planning family-focused celebrations.
While it was the stresses of 2020 that prompted multiple generations to bunch up under one roof, the members of such households are enjoying each other’s support and company.
Take the Sutton-Marsden family in Fallsburg, New York, in the Catskill Mountains in the southeastern part of the state.
The now three-generation household will spend New Year’s Eve working on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and dining on steak or salmon that Kim Sutton, the family’s matriarch, will prepare. If the weather cooperates, they’ll trek out — just to the backyard — to light a campfire and go sledding, two favorite winter pastimes.
Things have been going well for the members of the large household. Stephanie Marsden (Kim Sutton’s daughter) says she hasn’t looked back since she; her husband, Brandon; and their two boys loaded up a recreational vehicle and left Jupiter, Florida, for her childhood home.
“It was a whirlwind,” Stephanie said. “We had a baby, sold our house, moved to New York.”
Her parents, Kim and Chris Sutton, welcomed them. Kim says her grandsons — Theo, 2, and Benji, 4 months — give them a new outlook on life. “I love having everybody at the house,” she says. “My husband and I seem younger.”
Different from a date night
When it comes to planning New Year’s celebrations for multiple generations at home, they won’t be alone.
A majority of young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression, according to the Pew Research Center.
In many cases, they also live with their grandparents.
Chicagoans Kristi Kirschner and her husband, Ray Curry, were empty nesters before the pandemic hit. But in October, Kirschner’s mother, Verna, who was living in a retirement home in Missouri, moved in. Then around Thanksgiving, the couple’s son, Will Curry, a fourth-year student at Oberlin College in Ohio, joined the household.
Things are working out well, though there’s been some tweaking.
“It was a strange adjustment to take classes over Zoom, especially because of the time changes,” Will Curry says.
The multigenerational Kirschner-Curry household will celebrate the New Year at home. In fact, a Morning Consult poll of 2,200 American adults shows 44% will spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day cooking at home. Other popular at-home activities will include streaming movies and ordering food, according to the poll.
Kirschner will bake her traditional pretzels. “It’s just something we all love, it’s something we would have fun making, either with just butter and salt, or with cinnamon sugar,” Kirschner says.
In addition to making pretzels this New Year’s Eve, the family will order takeout food, watch holiday movies and play games online with relatives in Chicago, Washington, St. Louis and Sankt Augustin, in Germany.
“We’re low-key people,” Ray Curry said.
[Editor’s note: The Kirschner-Curry family is related to a ShareAmerica staffer.]