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New Year’s Eve countdowns – with the kids!

Counting down the seconds until the start of a brand new year is a beloved tradition in many families and friend groups. This tradition is often thought of as an adult’s only event – while it can be fun to have a child-free evening after the holiday season rush, you can also make plans to include all ages. I have wonderful memories of being allowed to stay up late with my parents and their friends, getting dressed up, having “fancy” Shirley Temple cocktails, and making a ruckus when the clock struck the midnight hour!

For the youngest in your family, staying up right until midnight might not be a functional plan.  Why not celebrate “Noon Year’s Eve?” The idea is basically the same, but instead of counting down to midnight, countdown to noon either on December 31 or January 1. Some local attractions host Noon Year’s Eve events for families to attend for a ready-made celebration.

Another option for younger family members is to find a video countdown available on YouTube®, Netflix®, or Disney+®. These video countdowns can be played at any time, day or night, for all the fun of a New Year’s countdown (with a more reasonable bedtime). 

With some planning, you can even allow the kids to stay up for the official first moments of the year. If you choose to let them stay up with you, you can prepare for it by letting the kids sleep in or have a nap mid-day before the big party. They might not be able to stay awake for the big moment, or need a nap or earlier bedtime the next day. If your kids have never stayed up for New Year’s before, they might be a little grumpy the next day – try to keep the first day of the year casual without too many strict plans.

No matter how you are marking the beginning of the New Year with your kids, you can still incorporate many of the elements of a typical adult gathering! Get the kids involved with decorating with streamers and balloons. Get brave with party poppers and noise makers, or let the kids bang on the pots and pans at the end of the countdown. You can find many tutorials online to make your own origami noise makers, or repurpose noisy items you have in the house already. Decide as a family if you’d like to ring in the New Year in pajamas, costumes, or fancy dress clothes! Most kids love a good dress-up theme, and it is the perfect opportunity to have fun with outfits and take lots of fun pictures. 

Make the party extra special with a fun mocktail, order in dinner or cook something special together!



Many holiday gatherings are centered around food and drink. Make sure everyone is included with our favorite, simple mocktail recipes, perfect for all ages!

Roy Rogers

Cola, grenadine, ice, maraschino cherry

Fill a tall glass with ice, add a dash of grenadine, top with cola, and stir well. Add a maraschino cherry (or several) for garnish.

Shirley Temple

Ginger ale, grenadine, fresh lime, ice, maraschino cherry

Fill a tall glass with ice, add a dash of grenadine, top with ginger ale, and add a spritz of fresh lime juice. Stir well and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Sunrise Mocktail

Citrus flavored soda water*, orange juice, grenadine, fresh fruit (optional)

Add equal parts orange juice and soda water to a champagne flute. Gently pour in a dash of grenadine to create a layered effect. Garnish with fresh fruit for a more festive look. 

*You can use any mild-flavored fizzy drink. Try sparkling water, ginger ale, carbonated lemonade, or non-alcoholic sparkling wine. You can also get creative by using different juice flavors. Try pineapple, mango, or a tropical mix!

Christmas Pudding Mocktail from

Cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, dried mixed fruit, fresh orange, fresh lemon, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg.

This mocktail punch can be made up to two days ahead of time and can be scaled up!

Mix 2 cups cranberry juice and 2 cups pomegranate juice in a large jug or bowl. Add in 1 cup of dried mixed fruit, 4 teaspoons of orange zest, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 8 slices orange, 4 slices lemon, 4 whole cloves, and 1 teaspoon each pumpkin pie spice mix and nutmeg. Cover and allow to infuse for at least 8 hours. Use a fine strainer, such as cheesecloth, to strain into a clean jug. 

This punch can be served over ice or heated in a mug. For a festive look, garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or slices of orange.

Apple Mimosa from

Apple cider, sparkling apple juice*, caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar (optional)

For a festive look, rim the glasses using the caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar before mixing the drink. First, pour some caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar onto separate dishes. Dip the edges of the glass into the sauce to coat, then repeat the process with the cinnamon sugar.

Fill the glass approximately halfway with apple cider and then top with sparkling apple juice. 

*You can substitute the sparkling apple juice with non-alcoholic sparkling wine if you prefer.

Spiced Pumpkin Eggnog from

Eggnog, coconut milk, pumpkin purée, pumpkin butter, ice, pumpkin pie spice

Add ice, 2 ounces eggnog, 3 ounces coconut milk, 

1 ½ tablespoon pumpkin purée, 1 tablespoon pumpkin butter (or pumpkin preserves) into a cocktail shaker. Secure the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Remove the lid and strain into a glass with a single ice cube. Garnish with pumpkin pie spice.

Bulldog Buster from

Cranberry juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, ground ginger, ice

Mix 2 parts cranberry juice, with 1 part each pineapple and orange juice. Add a dash of ground ginger and stir well. Pour into a glass with ice cubes and serve.


Trista is a stay-at-home mom and loves to share her discoveries about how to make life in Calgary work for families of all kinds.

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