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.
Get in the Kitchen
From cookies and candy to traditional holiday dishes, there are plenty of opportunities to spend holiday time with your teen in the kitchen. If your teen is not especially skilled in the kitchen, set up an easy 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.
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 a local thrift store. For teens who fancy themselves to be artists, purchase plain sweaters and then spend time together adorning them with fabric paint, ribbons, felt, and other crafty embellishments. Once you have your sweaters, go out for a meal together to 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 created 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 teen a say in how the family is portrayed in your annual Christmas card. If you typically get family photos taken, allow your teen to pick out the family outfits or to select a setting. Ask for their opinion when selecting a design for the card. And if you include a letter with information about what the family is up to, ask your teen for ideas about what to write. If you and your teen are crafty, try making your own Christmas cards using cardstock, stamps, glitter, ribbons, and other art supplies.
Teach your teen the true spirit of the holiday season by giving to those in need. Ask your teen which charitable activity interests them the most. Options include buying gifts for a local family in need, sending a Christmas card or letter to a soldier, organizing a local coat drive, or volunteering to read holiday stories to children at your local library.
Make and Sell Wreaths
Let your teen's artistic abilities shine by making holiday wreaths. Take a trip to a craft store together to pick out the essential elements of the wreath. Wreaths can be made with wire ribbon, fabric, Christmas ornaments, gift wrap, and other items on a prefabricated wreath form. Your teen can also go scavenging for natural elements, such as flexible branches or fresh pine needles, to serve as the base of the wreath. When you're finished, 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
Pop some popcorn, pull out the blankets, and pile on the couch for an evening of holiday cheer. Let your teen choose the holiday movies they want to watch. It can be favorites from their childhood, such as "Elf" or "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the sappiest of made-for-TV Christmas movies, or flicks that are more appropriate for an older audience, such as "Scrooged" or "Bad Santa."
Host a Christmas Party
Many teens would probably rather get into the holiday spirit with their friends. So plan a holiday party 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.
- Crafting party: Break out the art supplies, and gather the teens around the table to make their own ornaments, wreaths, or other Christmas-themed crafts.