8 Fun Holiday Activities Your Teen Will Love

Holiday activities for teenagers

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Finding age-appropriate Christmas activities for a teenager can be a challenge. Too old to sit on Santa's lap and too sophisticated for the elf on a shelf, teenagers have outgrown many of their childhood traditions. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort to get your teen involved in meaningful Christmas traditions. Seek age-appropriate activities that will help your teen get into the Christmas spirit with the whole family. 

christmas activities for teens
The Spruce

Get in the Kitchen

From cookies to candy to traditional holiday dishes, there are plenty of opportunities to spend seasonal time with your teen in the kitchen. If your teen is younger or not skilled in the kitchen, set up an activity such as baking and decorating Christmas cookies, building a gingerbread house, or making fudge. For teens who already know their way around the kitchen, teach them how to make a beloved holiday dish that your family serves every year. If you're feeling confident in their abilities, you could also allow them to take charge of a holiday meal, such as Christmas breakfast, from menu-planning to execution.

Christmas cookie supplies
The Spruce / Margot Cavin 

Find or Make Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweaters have become a staple of the season. If your teen loves to shop, take them on the hunt to find the ugliest sweater possible at local thrift stores. For those who fancy themselves to be artists, purchase plain sweaters and then spend an hour or two together adorning it with fabric paint, ribbons, felt, and other crafty embellishments. Once you're done making the sweaters, go out for a meal together and show them off to the world.

Set up Their Own Tree

Everyone in the family can get in on decorating the main Christmas tree, but your teen might enjoy having their own tree in their bedroom. The tree could be decorated with the homemade ornaments they've made over the years, or they could choose something they love as a theme, such as video games, movies, or the beach.

Put Together Christmas Cards

Give your teens a say in how the family is portrayed in your annual Christmas cards. If you typically get family photos taken, allow your teen to pick out the family outfits or select a setting. Ask for their opinion when selecting a design for the card, and if you generally include a letter or information about what the family is up to, ask your teen what they think are the most notable events that occurred in their life during the previous year. If you and your teen are crafty, you can also choose to make Christmas cards using cardstock, stamps, glitter, ribbons, and other art supplies.

Teen signing Christmas cards
The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Volunteer Together

Teach your teen the true spirit of the holiday season by giving to those in need. To ensure buy-in from the teen, ask them what sort of charitable activity interests them the most. Options include buying gifts for a local needy family, sending a Christmas card or letter to a soldier, organizing a local coat drive, "adopting" a grandparent, or volunteering to read holiday stories to children at your local library.

Make and Sell Wreaths

Let your teen's artistic abilities shine by hand-making holiday wreaths. Take a trip to an art supply store together to pick out the essential elements of the wreath. Although you can buy classic wreath shapes to then embellish with ribbons, ornaments, pinecones, and other items, encourage your teen to think outside the box. Wreaths can be made with wire ribbon, fabric, Christmas ornaments, gift wrap, and other items. They can also go scavenging for natural elements, such as flexible branches or fresh pine needles, to serve as the base of the wreath. Then, your teen can sell their wreaths to family, friends, and neighbors to make a little extra cash to buy Christmas gifts.

Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

Folks of all ages love snuggling up for a movie marathon, so pop some popcorn, pull out the blankets, and pile on the couch for an evening of holiday cheer. Let your teen choose the type of movies they want to watch, whether it be holiday favorites from their childhood like "Efl" or "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the sappiest of made-for-TV movies, or flicks that are more appropriate for an older audience, such as "Scrooged" or "Bad Santa."

Host a Christmas Party

The truth is that teens would probably rather get into the holiday spirit with their friends, so plan a holiday party that they'll all love. Some ideas include:

  • Karaoke and caroling: Break out the karaoke machine to let the teens warm up their voices and practice their favorite Christmas songs, then head out to carol around the neighborhood.
  • Game night: Plan an evening of holiday-themed games, complete with prizes.
  • Crafting party: Break out the art supplies and gather the teens around the table to make their own ornament, wreaths, or other Christmas-themed crafts.