PRIME TIME WITH KIDS: Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an appetizer party

By Donna Erickson

Try an assortment of appetizers for New Year’s Eve.

Planning a party with friends and family on New Year’s Eve? This year, make it easy by turning your buffet table into an informal appetizer table. Let guests bring their favorite hors d’oeuvres, and you’ll no doubt have a selection of tastes and delights for every age. Somehow it just happens.

That’s what our friends did when we gathered in their home located walking distance from the Santa Cruz, California, harbor to see the city’s annual “Lighted Boat Parade” on Dec. 1.

An annual party tradition, we arrived before dusk to enjoy the sumptuous selection of appetizers everyone brought. We had so much fun meeting, eating and greeting, we almost forgot to wander down to the harbor to see the spectacle of lights.

Making apps doesn’t have to be involved or complicated. Here are two easy ideas you and your kids can make together for your New Year’s celebration.


On a large tray, arrange a variety of ingredients in small bowls and plates for guests to make their own lettuce wrap. For example, if you wish to make my favorite, a Scandinavian-style salmon wrap, set out the following: a bundle of butter lettuce leaves popping out of a wide-mouth container, smoked and grilled salmon pieces, thinly sliced cucumber, scrambled eggs in a bowl (optional), small sprigs of fresh dill and wedges of lemon to squeeze over all of it before you take a bite.


Dates are nutritious, tasty and bite-size. Make them festive by filling them with fresh walnuts to complement the date’s unique flavor. First, cut open one long side of each date. Pop out the pits and gently squeeze the sides to create a space for your filling. Next, crack walnuts with a nutcracker to get two perfect halves. Kids love this activity! Pick out the nuts, then insert one of the halves in the cavity of a date. Set in rows on a platter. For a sweeter dessert version, roll the walnut-filled date in powdered sugar. Use your imagination and preferences for other fillings, such as a thin wedge of Brie cheese with a pecan. Or, how about a tiny spoonful of peanut butter topped with a pretzel nugget?

New Year’s Eve family party tip:

Let the youngest New Year’s Eve revelers enjoy the fun of seeing in the new year without messing too much with their sleep schedule. Set a clock in your house ahead one or two hours, and let them count down the seconds until their arrival of 2019. It’s midnight somewhere, right?

* * * * * *

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

(c) 2018 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Syndicate



PRIME TIME WITH KIDS: Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an appetizer party–