Thursday, December 8, 2011


"Children wake up in excitement to open presents.....
For adults, Christmas is often a time to relax...and provide happy memories for their children.....
Then there's those in between both worlds : teenagers. They are the dreaded names in the Secret Santa bag, those mysterious creatures that no one knows what to buy for or what to think of.
What does Christmas mean to them?"
The author of this article questioned 21 teenagers on their views of Christmas ~
"Are teenagers truly as self-absorbed during this season as adults believe? Or is there some spark of remembrance and goodwill hidden deep in the crevices of their souls?
....while presents do seem to be one of the favorite parts of Christmas for most teens, it does not seem to be merely for the purpose of receiving....
The majority of teens questioned said they didn't care what they received for Christmas this year, followed closely by those who wished most for happiness. In fact, an equal amount of teens preferred bringing people together to anything else."
"ALL THEY WANT FOR CHRISTMAS" : Kristi Oakes. May 14 2008. Connect
What does Christmas look like at your house with your teenagers?
You may not have any problems, but if Christmas for your teenagers is a huge bore, hopefully this post will encourage you to launch into it again this year with fresh enthusiasm, armed with new ideas.
Most Christmas routines for the family with children , can continue on through teenage years. Success in this depends a lot on parents staying positive and happy about Christmas. If you couple this with listening to your  teens comments on why they don't want to do certain Christmas events anymore, or come with you to _______ Christmas function, you will keep happy Christmas memories growing for all. Don't 'close the door' on your teens thoughts at this time. Their views may be different to yours. On the other hand your view as their parent, is totally relevant also - so have the conversations, the discussions on why you do what you do at Christmas. These can not be confrontational debates or arguments - this only destroys family Christmas memories.
So far, our family seems to have entered and gone through and out the other end of teenage Christmases most happily. Our youngest child turns 13 early next year.
Here is a collection of things we do at Christmas + ideas from others. Happy reading and finding something new to try.
 1. Advent Calendars. 
In recent years I have stooped to buying commercial advent calendars, but our older kids used to make their own. It took ages but they loved doing this and opening them each morning. We also have a family advent set of tiny drawers which they take turns opening, reading a treasure hunt style clue, then finding a treat or recipe to cook a simple Christmas treat... Teenagers enjoy this as much as kids.
2. Christmas Music.
From December 1 the Christmas CD music starts to be played daily. We have a stack of Christmas music in various styles to go through, and I add to the collection at Christmas sales. I try to buy different genres so everyone is 'extended' in their musical tastes. Anyone can put on whatever CD they want. The music sets a mood. It is put it on at the start of the day, at meals, or when the Christmas tree arrives and is decorated - which happened this afternoon at our house. 
3. Christmas Tree.
These days our older kids go choose our Christmas tree and bring it home on the trailer, put it up, then together we decorate it, and the house. We all love doing this. If possible we eat together before or afterwards.
4. Our Family Christmas Shopping Night.
Because we are a large family each person gives one person in the family a present. It is drawn out of a hat before hand and a list is made - stuck in the pantry door. On one of the late pre-Christmas shopping nights, we all meet at our local shopping mall to buy our person's presents.  we meet for coffee half-way through the night, then those who are finished can go home, those who need more ideas are helped, and everyone has a high-spirited social time. When we still had little kids the teenagers would often take a little one and help them buy their gifts. We all spend the same moderate amount of money so everyone's gift ideas are controlled to stay within that amount.
5. Cooking for Christmas.
We share cooking for Christmas. This year one of my girls is organizing who cooks and brings what so that everyone contributes. My husband loves BBQed turkey so he prepares and cooks it - wonderfully. Teenagers as well as children can read recipes online and cook them. This way they contribute not only their ideas but also the making of memories for their family Christmas. 
6. Christmas Reading.
As a family we read the Christmas story leading up to Christmas, often having some craft activity we all contribute to, such as our Jesse Tree at our back door, this year. If this is not you, there is a lot of great reading online of other real events that happened at Christmas, which your teenager would benefit from. Follow these links~
  * THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE  1914. A great true story for teenagers, considering many of the soldiers were in their late teens.
  * THE WHANGAEHU RIVER DISASTER CHRISTMAS 1953 The worst train disaster in New Zealand's history.
  * CYCLONE TRACEY HIT DARWIN AUSTRALIA, CHRISTMAS 1974. Two stories -  MY EXPERIENCE WITH A CYCLONE     and     FOR THE MEMORY OF MY CHILDREN  Grammatically not fantastic but both stories fully communicate the situation.
  * NAIROBI, KENYA CHRISTMAS  This is short and thought provoking for teenagers.
  * EARTHQUAKE WHICH LED TO TSUNAMI CHRISTMAS 2004  This is very well written, is long, wonderfully gripping, emotionally revealing and moving. It gives teenagers a lot to think about in how they live and view life - especially considering what our experiences are at Christmas. I HIGHLY recommend this one.
7. Christmas Events.
If as a family you are involved in Christmas community or church events, encourage all the family to go along together. 
8. Christmas Games.
Some families love playing games together. Here are links to some suggestions~
  * FEAR FACTOR FACE-OFF  Great if you like dares and enjoy getting messy. 
  * TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE CHRISTMAS STYLE  2nd game on this page.
  * SPEED PRESENT WRAPPING  same link as above - 3rd game on this page.
  * THE CHRISTMAS CAROL GAME where everyone chooses their favorite Christmas carol and everyone sings their own carol at the same time. Whoever sings the longest, out singing the others, wins. Noisy teenagers are in high spirits after this one.
  * CHRISTMAS BALLOON BATTLE  Go to the 2nd last paragraph on the page which starts "Wanna get more active?" 
9. Giving to Others.
Here's a great example of how to teach your teens to give to others. Scroll down to the "CHRISTMAS TEENS" comment.
10. 10 Frugal Christmas Activities for Families with Teens. Terrific ideas from Grace on her blog  SENSE AND SIMPLICITY 

THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ SURELY there is something here you want to trial in your family this week. Enjoy the week with your teenage kids. - I'd love to hear about your results!!


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