Ringing in the New Year with Kids (Recipe: Pomegranate Sparklers)

The standard New Year’s Eve depiction features fancy parties, champagne toasts, and fretting about who is going to pucker up with you. But for those of us with small children, ringing in the new year often comes long before midnight. However, despite early bedtimes, you can still make the turning of the calendar a special event at home.

On Monday, Aimée shared many ideas for entertaining on New Year’s with ease. Those parties can easily be adapted for a family event, but for a more kid-focused bash, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a special evening interwoven with learning and discovery.

From ocean to ocean, each country celebrates the coming new year in a different way. Incorporating traditions from other cultures will amp up the fun and spark curiosity – and who knows, perhaps you’ll decide to continue a few of those traditions next year!

Here in the United States, we’re some of the last people on the globe to bring in the new year. I know my own child will not be able to stay up until midnight (even if I wanted him to!), so we are planning to ring in the new year early, grabbing another time zone and calling it our own. This works well for incorporating specific cultures, but if you want to be all-encompassing, why not celebrate midnight multiple times? Try a new food for each time zone, or bring them all together for one global meal.

Many Asian cultures enjoy long noodles on New Year’s Day, with the length of the noodle meant to signify a long life. Try a dinner of long noodles with stir-fry vegetables and encourage your children to get the noodle all in one slurp.

Grapes are commonly eaten for the new year in Spanish cultures, with 12 grapes eaten at the stroke of midnight. Each grape signifies a month of the coming year, and the flavor is said to signify what the associated month will be. For many kids, 12 grapes is a lot to eat at once, so portion the grapes as necessary.

Cabbage is an important New Year food in parts of Ireland, Germany, and the United States, as the green leaves symbolize money and wealth in the coming year. If your kids aren’t excited about cabbage, try Brussels sprouts, which are in the same family and easily adapted for more-picky palates.

Of course, we can’t neglect that big ball drop many of us have come to know well. Create your own ball drop at home, and after the final countdown, toast the coming year with nonalcoholic drinks made with pomegranate, a significant food in Turkey and other countries along the Mediterranean.

Pomegranate Sparklers

A simple, festive drink appropriate for celebrants of all ages.
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Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 28kcal
Author: Megan Myers


  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • 1 lemon halved


  • Divide pomegranate juice among six glasses.
  • Fill glasses with sparkling water.
  • Juice half the lemon and divide equally among glasses.
  • Slice the remaining lemon into rounds, and add to the to glasses.


Optionally, prepare drink in a pitcher and serve as needed.


Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 9.6mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.1mg


And don’t forget – once our own New Year has begun, the celebration can happen all over again with the Chinese New Year on January 23, and Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) celebrated September 16-18.

What tradition does your family do to celebrate New Year’s?

About Megan

Megan Myers is a copyeditor and spatula-wielding mom seeking out the simpler life in Texas. Her blog, Stetted, focuses on her family’s journey from junk food addiction to a diet of local, organic, and whole foods, while exploring the many options farmers provide.

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  1. Steve @ HPD says

    I don’t know how one celebrates the past year and welcomes in the new without making family the centerpiece of the event. And if you don’t make it up until midnight, that’s fine with me! Cheers!

  2. This year we’ll be in Flagstaff for New Year’s — which is going to be interesting since we’ll have our 20 month old with us. We may have a disaster of an evening! 🙂

    But, I love the idea of picking a different culture’s time, and celebrating the New Year then. Maybe we’ll celebrate the New Year Paris-style next year!

  3. This looks like a perfect celebration drink for our kid-friendly NYE party.

    A side note about the Spanish grapes (at least in Spain). They don’t eat 12 grapes at midnight. They eat one grape per stroke of the clock counting down from 12 seconds before midnight (instead of from 10 like us). So, at the stroke of midnight your mouth is already stuffed with grapes, with juice running everywhere when you try to give your NYE kisses. They do represent the 12 coming months and is said to bring luck in the year to come. It seems to work for us.

    Many families also try to find the biggest grapes they can for the adults and the smallest for the kiddos. Some even used peeled grapes for the celebrations, and cans of 12 peeled grapes can be found everywhere in Spain in the weeks leading up to NYE.

    Of course, now that we are in Texas, we also must add lucky black eyed peas to the celebration as well.

    Hope you have a very Happy New Year.

  4. I generally hate when I see kiddie cocktails… But these look so amazing I think everyone will enjoy them
    Thank you so much for such an inspiring idea for the weekend.

  5. Oh how I wish my kids would drink “bubbly” drinks. They claim to not like the “fizzy”. I’ve tried so many concoctions – more for me, I guess!

  6. I’m sad to report that our pitcher of Pomegranate Sparklers was barely touched at Thanksgiving. Pomegranate juice is actually quite bland by itself, and is not very sweet. This drink recipe is missing something…perhaps a pomegranate/cranberry mix, with some added sugar?

  7. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I love it! Simple,sparkling and I love pomegranate so much! 😀 This will be a perfect drink for tomorrow night, I’m sure it will be a great success! 🙂

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