Teenagers may have outgrown some of their cherished childhood holiday traditions, but that doesn’t mean they have to lose the sense of magic and fun that the holiday season offers.
In other words, you don’t have to put out milk and cookies or take your teens to the mall to get their picture with Santa to ring in Christmas — unless they want to, of course.
Here are four teen-friendly holiday activities to consider this year:
1. Let Them Plan the Holiday Card
For years, your kiddos have (somewhat) patiently sat through a family photoshoot to capture the perfect image for your annual photo Christmas cards. This year, tell your teens they can be in charge of the Christmas card photos that you’ll be sending to loved ones. Sporty teens may suggest everyone dresses as their favorite football or baseball players, while gaming kiddos may want to get some candid shots of everyone playing a game on the PS5. No matter what they choose, you may love what they come up with so much that you decide to make this a new holiday tradition.
2. Host a Family Bake-Off
For teens who enjoy spending time in the kitchen, a family bake-off is something they’re sure to enjoy. You and your teens can pick out recipes for new festive foods you want to try and then set a time for a family bake-off that includes all new-to-you dishes. When you’re done, sample what everyone has made and, if you want to, award gifts to each participant in silly categories like “Best Use of Frosting” or “Dish that Would Work for Breakfast or Dinner.” If you do this early enough in the holiday season, ask your teens to choose a couple of the new dishes that they can help re-create for one of your holiday meals.
3. Hold a Christmas Sock Exchange
Teens and silly socks seem to go, well, foot in foot. Encourage this love of funky socks by letting them host their own Christmas sock exchange party. To do this, offer to help them plan the festive event and go shopping together for party supplies and silly socks. Each guest will bring a new pair of whimsical or funny socks and then have your teen come up with a gift exchange game to make the process of giving away the socks even more fun.
4. Go Ice Skating
A great way to burn off some holiday calories and spend quality time with older kids is to go ice skating at a local rink. Let your teens invite a few friends to tag along and then treat everyone to cocoa and cookies or pizza and soda afterward. Indeed, there’s something about enjoying the cold air of an ice rink while wearing mittens and hats that will put any teen into a cheerful holiday mood.
Enjoy the Season with Your Terrific Teens
As you can see, there are plenty of fun- and teen-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday season that will get even the most iPhone-obsessed 15-year-old away from texting and into holiday card planning, cooking, buying funny socks, and ice skating. Once the holiday season has wrapped up, ask which activities your teens want to do again next year. You may be pleasantly surprised to hear them reply “All of them!”