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In many homes, some of the traditional wonder of Christmas is lost when children grow out of believing in Santa and the “magic” of the holidays. There’s no stopping our kids from growing up, but there are ways that the holidays can still retain that special spark. Initially, remember all the memories and traditions that make the holidays feel different. Those traditions are like a framework, and no matter the level of teen angst, there’s a comfort and familiarity that encourages a smile.

Some of the traditions, like stockings, might go by the wayside due to the children’s age. Or, they might be cleverly adapted. For example, if you want to hang stockings get your teen involved in making a stuffer list, budget and then the shopping! The mall is still a big hit among the 13-18 crowd, and as you’re walking around it might inspire ideas for the house.

Speaking of which, get them involved in decorating too. Everyone can grab a box and start sorting. As you go, share a story or two that goes with specific ornaments and decorations. If there are any decorations you’ve got set aside just for him or her, have the teen be in charge of putting those up where they wish (maybe in their bedroom!). By the way, if you have more than one teen, they could have a holiday “decking” contest between their rooms. Everyone in the house votes on the result, and the winner gets dinner of their choice.

As far as parties go, some will hold interest and some will be out-right boring for your Teen. I suggest showing teens that you trust them to make these choices. Share the whys behind wanting them to “come with” but if they’re dead set against it, the event will be disastrous for everyone. In this case, rent them a movie for home and go ahead out. This is just as good for you as it is for your Teen. Every parent needs some child-free time.

In the gift giving department, have your Teen make a wish list within your budget. From there you can still come up with a surprise. Likewise, if they’re buying for anyone else in the family – help them make a budget and let them buy as they wish. This gives them a great chance to learn about creative spending (and might even inspire some wonderful home made items).

Finally, keep a grip on the big picture. Teens are often overwhelmed by what they consider expectations, and the holidays increase that stress. So the two keynotes for success, in my opinion, are fun and family. Enjoy this opportunity to reconnect, but also know when there’s just too much holiday cheer. At that juncture let your Teen have some space. They’ll come back to the festivities after hitting the reset button.


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