Happy Holidays with Teens|
There is no doubt that children
“make” the holidays. There is nothing like the smile on a child’s face as
they see all the Christmas lights lit up as you drive around your town - or
the look of awe on their face on Christmas morning when they wake up to
presents under the tree. But as our children move into the teen years, the
Christmas season loses some of its awe and wonder...if we let it!
It is true that we cannot turn back the clock and we cannot stop our kids
from outgrowing some of our holiday traditions. Let’s face it, it would look
pretty funny seeing your 16-year-old sitting on Santa’s lap in the local
mall. But with some planning, we can still make the Holiday Season special.
Every year, from the time my children were toddlers, in November, I get out
all my Advent materials, old Christmas calendars, and “idea” books for the
Christmas season. I take a day and pour through them and pick out the
activities that will suit my family for the coming holiday season. While you
can keep some old traditions, you will find you need to give some up and add
new ones that your teens will find enjoyable. Below are some ideas to help
you get started.
Deck the Halls
While your teens may not be as excited about getting the house decorated for
the holidays as they used to, this family tradition can still be a time to
make memories and share a common bond.
~ Turn on the Christmas Music and decorate the house and tree together. Even
though they might not seem interested, insist that they be there for this
one. This will set the mood for the whole holiday season. Do your best to
find a time that everyone can be there to help with the “Hanging of the
~ If you have a tradition of using
an Advent Wreath and/or an Advent Calendar, I suggest you keep using it.
Even though they may seem a bit old, especially for the calendar, you’d be
surprised how teens will still enjoy it. In our family, I have a homemade
Advent Calendar with pouches on each date to hold a special question
regarding Christmas. The first one down to the breakfast table in the
morning gets to read
the message in the calendar for the day. You’d be surprised how my teens
still compete to be the first one at the table!
~ Have your own Decoration Contest. Have each teen
decorate their room for the holidays and then take a vote
to see whose is the most creative.
~ Have your Teens change the answering machine message to a holiday message
of their choice.
Teens may be too busy or not very interested in attending holiday events
with the family. Here are some things that will likely strike their fancy -
and remember to include their friends.
~ Christmas Shopping Trip to the Mall. What teenager doesn’t like the mall?
Take a car-load of teens to the mall for a Christmas Shopping Extravaganza.
Be prepared for some silliness and for letting them go off on their own for
a while. Meet together in the food court for dinner before heading home.
~ Church Christmas Parties. Again, encourage your teen to bring friends to
~ Local Christmas Pageants/Programs. Support community Christmas programs.
You will find many things of interest, but remember, your time with
teenagers is limited. Choose the events that will be most enjoyable to
Coming up with exciting gifts for teenagers that don’t break the bank can be
a real problem.
~ Set a budget and stick with it. Explain to your teens just
what you will be spending and ask for lists that stay within the pre-set
budget. They might only want one item that uses the whole amount of money
set aside for them, but they will like it much more than a lot of little
things that they don’t want.
~ Brain-storm with them for ideas for presents for their friends. This
expense can eat up a lot of their own funds, so encourage them to be
creative and bargain shoppers.
~ Open one present each on Christmas Eve.
As we move into the Holiday Season, let us remember the TRUE reason for
Christmas, and let’s make sure our teens remember it also. It is not the
gifts, or the lights, or tree. It’s not even family getting together or
sharing our abundance with those less fortunate. While these have become an
important part of our holiday tradition in America, we need to make sure we
remember WHY we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s
precious gift to us.
According to John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave us His son,
that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life.” Jesus is the real Reason for the Season; let’s make sure we and our
families honor Him this holiday season.
~ Set up a manger scene in the front yard.
~ Start a collection of manger scenes that can be given to
your teenagers when they become adults and move out on their own.
~ Attend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church services together.
~ Listen to Christmas Carols and Christmas Hymns together in the house and
in the car.
~ Make sure to read the Christmas Story in the Book of Luke.
Excerpt from HAPPY HOLDIAYS WITH TEENS, by Patricia Chadwick, available in
both ebook and print formats at
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