New Year’s Feasting with Kids

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Kids can celebrate New Year’s, too! Include your children in the celebrations with these easy and delicious recipes for New Year’s Feasting.

red dish of maple whipped cream with apple slice dipped

New Year’s is the perfect combination of events. New Year’s Eve represents a chance to look back on the past and all that we have to be thankful for. We get to see all the ways in which we and our families have grown.

New Year’s Day is the opportunity to celebrate a fresh start. And since we all make mistakes, I think it’s safe to say, we all like fresh starts. New Year’s Day is the beginning of something new and a time to anticipate how we will grow and change in the coming year.

Reflection and anticipation. Good food for thought and good practices to instill in our children.

How have we grown? Where have we been? Where do we want to be? What do we want to do?

As you consider how you will celebrate the passage of time this New Year’s, think about how to include your children. One way is to prepare a fun feast, or maybe even TWO.

New Year’s Feasting with Kids

We link memories to food. I think it has something to do with all the senses being stimulated, but food and their accompanying aromas and tastes can be linked with our memories, both good and bad.

New Year’s is a great time to make some connections between great food and memorable times with your family. Check out these ideas for New Year’s Feasting with kids:

kids at a party with mock drinks

No alcohol was consumed by children.

New Year’s Mocktail Party with Kids

New Year’s Eve lends itself to the cocktail party format, or should I say Mocktail?

Hors d’oeuvres are great kid food. Kids love to eat with their fingers! And since cocktail foods usually don’t involve flatware, washing up is a snap. The perfect family-friendly feast!

For well over a decade, our family has enjoyed what we call a “snacky dinner” on New Year’s Eve. We do this every December 31st, and while it was not something that either my husband or I did as children, we’ve had great fun establishing a tradition for our family in the process.

If your kids are little, you can choose whatever snack foods you know they enjoy as well as those that the parents like. Don’t forget the parents!

As your children grow, however, invite them to contribute to the evening’s dinner. Now that my kids can all cook, they have great fun choosing appetizers to prepare for our family party.

It was so fun recently to hear my 14-year old son telling his cousin about our New Year’s Eve dinner and how much fun it was to choose which foods he was going to contribute. My kids have gotten really adventurous in their NYE cooking, preparing things like homemade egg rolls, beer-battered shrimp, and stuffed mushrooms.

You can prepare whatever snacks your family likes on New Year’s Eve. Here are some of our favorites:

boys in pajamas with New Year's Cake

A New Year’s Cake

As the evening winds down, we break out the New Year’s Cake. We’re big on number candles around here, so we celebrate the birth-day of the New Year with candles on a cake the kids help bake and decorate. We’ve done this since our kids were really little.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of cake you make. Get as fancy — or not! — as you like. Turns out, as I scroll through New Year’s Cakes of the past, we often lean toward chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Ha!

Try these cake recipes if you’d like to try something new:

plate of citrus supremes with pan of egg casserole

Easy New Year’s Day Breakfast

After sleeping in (as much as possible) on New Year’s Day, take time to lounge around in jammies and watch the Rose Parade. I have such fond memories of this from my childhood!

Sleeping and lounging when there are hungry children about requires some planning for breakfast.

Make something special, yet simple. Some possible options include:

A Simple New Year’s Day Dinner

Start the new year on a low key tone by whipping up a simple dinner. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be special!

Check out these ideas:

  • Consider going with the traditional “lucky” foods listed in this article at Epicurious.
  • Or go with fondue, another fun and festive tradition for many families.
  • Prepare a theme dinner, revolving around another country. For instance, have a Scandinavian Smorgasbord or try your hand at tamales and a Mexican food fiesta.
  • Start your healthy eating intentions on the right foot with grilled fish and lots of veggies.

homemade cranberry soda in cups with straws

New Year’s Day Bubbly

Sparkling apple cider is always a big hit. However, at three bucks a bottle, it’s not cheap, especially if you’re serving many people. Buy carbonated water for $.50/2 liter bottle (or thereabouts) and mix it with your favorite frozen juice concentrate. Just substitute the bubbly water for the water that is called for on the package. Instant sparkly juice.

Try these recipes if you want more specific guidance:

What are your New Year’s meal plans?

I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up. Head to the comments and let’s chat!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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Comments

  1. JessieLeigh says

    These are some wonderful, “memory-making” suggestions! For some unknown reason, we always do a big Chinese New Year celebration around here, though we don’t have any Chinese heritage. The kids really get into the animal masks, having parades, and- yep- the food!

  2. I like to mix ginger ale and orange juice and call it a “mimmosa”. We never drink sodas-so for my kids that would be a special treat. I am ashamed to say I don’t really have any new year’s traditions-thanks for starting me thinking about it. Maybe by next year I can come up with some!

  3. Jennifer says

    I love the cake idea! Great tradition to start with the kiddos. You mention omelets for NY day but I’m horrible with eggs unless they’re scrambled so I do it the easy way-crack the eggs in ziploc bag, add extras, seal bag and mush, mush, mush till well blended. Drop in boiling water for a few minutes till they’re done. The eggs slide right out for the perfect omelet!

  4. One Acre Homestead says

    I’m totally trying the hot peppermint milk…yummy! Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. Eli's Lids says

    That Brie bread looks fantastico!!! I love brie… this is low calorie right… ha ha ha!
    http://elislids.blogspot.com/

  6. We are having Good Cheap Eats sauted chicken tenderloin for NYE dinner, and will have Good Cheap Eats salmon cooked in a foil packet for New Year’s Day. These two dishes are now in regular rotation around here! And next year, I’m going to get my gourmand son to make some GCE/Fish Family inspired appetizers.

  7. There are many southern foods I like, but collards have to have a lot of seasoning to be edible and I’m totally okay just skipping over the nasty black-eyed peas. I tried doing those a couple of years and then decided life’s too short to be wasting meals on foods I don’t like just because someone says it should be a tradition. They can have them! We also switched to doing just snacky foods for NYE. Our tradition foods: Easter is lamb, Thanksgiving is turkey, Christmas is ham, NYE is snacks, and any of the above can have a seafood substitute. Last year we traded out the turkey, this year we traded the ham. Our Costco has Martinelli’s in a 4 pack for $8 so that’s what we use as we both love their sparkling cider.

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