What’s the most fun part of a sleepover? We’ll give you a hint: it’s not sleeping! Staying up late with good friends and family members can be a great way to make fun and lasting memories.

Sometimes, staying up late is part of a special celebration. For example, on New Year’s Eve each year, millions of people stay up late to usher out the old year and welcome in the new one.

Do you like to stay up late on New Year’s Eve? Counting down to midnight is a longstanding tradition that many families share. There’s nothing quite like welcoming the new year at its very start in the company of good friends and family members.

What other ways do you use to celebrate the new year? Many people bring in the new year with bubbly drinks and special foods. They may enjoy these treats at parties at which they wait for the huge, lighted Waterford crystal ball on the roof of One Times Square to drop, signaling the new year and triggering a huge fireworks show.

At the stroke of midnight, you’re also likely to hear the familiar sounds of Auld Lang Syne, an old Scottish song that was popularized as a New Year’s Eve song in 1929 by famous band leader Guy Lombardo. The song’s name translates to “old long since” and means “times gone by.” The lyrics encourage us to remember people of the past with fondness.

Of course, people around the world often have their own unique and special traditions. For example, in Japan, the new year is the most important holiday of the year. It’s a time of renewal when people take off work, clean their houses and spend time together as a family.

In Spain, it’s a tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight. The Spanish believe doing so will bring 12 happy months in the new year. In the Netherlands, the Dutch gather their Christmas trees in the street and burn them in a huge bonfire while launching fireworks.

What does your family usually do to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Do you make resolutions? Go to a fireworks show? Watch a favorite show on television? If you don’t already have a tradition, start one this year!

46 Join the Discussion

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  1. Hey Wonderopolis, today’s Wonder was good especially because tomorrow is New Year’s Day! I had a sleepover once and my mom told us to sleep after 1:00 AM but we couldn’t so we decided to talk quietly but we soon forgot to and my mom came and told us she wondered if someone was talking in her sleep!

    I can’t figure out tomorrow’s Wonder… maybe it would be about how fresh air is good for us!

    • WOW, those sleepovers sound like a great time, Anne! 1 a.m. is a pretty late time to be staying up, but we think we’ll try to stay up this New Year’s Eve! We can’t wait to celebrate! Thanks for WONDERing with us, and we’ll see you tomorrow! :)

  2. We eat lots of food and have special drinks on New Year’s Eve. We all sit in the same room and watch TV. When it is almost time for the ball to drop we watch it drop on TV.

    • That sounds like a great way to ring in the New Year, Avery! We can’t wait to celebrate the New Year with family and friends tonight! Thanks for sharing your comment, Avery! :)

  3. Hi wonderopolis, I haven’t been on in a while. Today’s wonder was really cool my family makes resolutions mine is be a better gymnast and get better at social studies. We have a tradition we do family game night and drink pop the whole entire night.

    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the new year. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE Wonderopolis!

    • Hey there, Wondergirl101! Your family traditions on New Year’s Eve sound awesome– we love your resolutions, too! Have fun with your games tonight, and happy new year to you! :)

  4. We stay up until midnight and drink butterbeer. We turn the T.V. on and watch the countdown. And instead of the new year’s kiss, we give hugs. It’s less awkward that way.
    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about New Years.


    • Welcome back, Emily! We’re so glad you’re celebrating the new year with your family and friends tonight! We Wonder what butterbeer is?! :) Happy new year from Wonderopolis! :)

    • Hey there, Wilber! Happy 2013! We hope you had a SUPER time staying up late with family and friends to ring in the new year! We sure are glad to have great Wonder Friends like you! :)

  5. I think my family is going to stay up until 12:00 tonight, since it is new year’s eve and all… and we usually watch the ball drop on t.v. it is fun to do the countdown, ecspecially when it comes down to ten seconds, and I just got a new watch for christmas, so that will be very fun. Oh, that video was really cool. I liked all the colorful lights and everything. Thank you for today’s wonder! And happy New Year, wonderopolis!! :) ;)

    • Berkleigh, your house sounds like a great place to ring in the new year! Thanks for sharing your plans for tonight with us– we wish you a very happy new year! We’ll talk to you in 2013! :)

    • Hooray, that’s a great guess, Melissa! We are glad you are using context clues to determine what the next Wonder of the Day® will be! Happy New Year! :)

    • What a great question, Haley and Gabbie! The new year has significant meaning for people all over the world. Some people believe that the new year brings good luck, some make resolutions to start a new year on the right foot, and others are celebrating the end of a great year and the beginning of a new one! We Wonder if you can think of all the great things you have accomplished in 2012… do you have any goals for 2013? :)

    • Those are great examples of times you might stay up late! Great work, Kate! We hope you had a fun time ringing in the new year– perhaps you stayed up late on New Year’s Eve? :)

  6. You can stay up late when it’s the new year or when it’s Saturday.
    I love staying up late. But sometimes when I stay up late I wake up at 5:00. Then go back to sleep and wake up at 12:00 or 1:00.

    • You are a night owl, Laila S! We think it’s lots of fun to stay up late once in a while, but we bet it’s nice when you can sleep in the next day! :) Thanks for sharing your comment with us! :)

  7. This New Years Eve I stayed up late to watch the fireworks! There was one that didn’t go off right and so I almost got hit with a firework! My friend got hit in the back with one!

    • Hey there, Molly, happy New Year! We sure are glad that you weren’t injured, and we hope your friend is okay, too! We appreciate your comment and thanks for reminding us to be extra safe around fireworks! :)

  8. Wow! I stayed up all night on New Year’s too. In fact, the time we came home was already 6:00 in the morning. I should have woken up to get ready for school ALREADY! Haha! :)

    • WOW, we bet you had a great New Year’s Eve, Ashley! We hope you were able to rest up before you headed back to school, too! We would be yawning like crazy! Happy 2013! :)

  9. Have you ever been to the ball drop in Times Square? I never have. If you have was it fun? I would LOVE to go one day! Also I LOVE this website and my class uses it almost everyday! :D

    • Hi there, Jaidyn! We think being in New York City for New Year’s Eve would be a lot of fun! We haven’t been there, but we enjoy watching the ball drop on television! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis at school! :)

  10. I know what I will be doing when my best friend comes over! :) UP ALL NIGHT, TREATS, SNACKS, SODA, CANDY! :) Thank you WONDEROPOLIS for all these great details! :)

    • We think you’ll have a great time with your friend at your next sleepover, DK! We hope you’ll check with your parents first! :) Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us! :)

  11. I love to stay up late!!! Sometimes when I go to sleep late on a school night, I wake up hyper, not tired, sort of weird right? When I’m tired I go to bed late. :)

    • Hey Kate, we Wonder if you’re a sleepover queen? It sounds like you’re a night owl… but we hope you get to bed early during the week! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • When is it okay to stay up all night?
  • How do you celebrate the end of the old year and the start of the new one?
  • What are some popular New Year’s Eve traditions?

Wonder Gallery

Up All NightVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to ring in the new year? Let’s stay up all night and have a party!

If we’re going to stay up all night and celebrate the new year the proper way, we’re going to need a few things. Jammies? Check! Snacks? Check! Games and movies? Check! Check!

Looks like we’re all set to go. Oh! We almost forgot. One other thing that will make things so much better: good friends and family members to share the moment with you!

Make sure you set aside some time to think about the past year. What was good about it? What would you change if you could? How will you make the new year even better?

If you have time, grab a notebook and write down a few resolutions for the coming year. You can revisit your list throughout the year to see how you’re doing. Then, this time next year, you can check your list to see how you did!

Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ Rat Sleep Science Update, children learn about how the true purpose of dreaming may be learning!

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is a breath of fresh air!

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