Here’s the thing about the holidays and teenagers.
They just aren’t the same.
Those big kids may want to spend more time with their friends.
They may want to stay up all night and sleep until noon.
They may get in trouble. They may get a little snarky. They may drive you nuts with their comments, their cups all over the place, and their noses in their phones.
There are no more threats about Santa. There’s no more making reindeer antlers out of little hands. There are no more late nights assembling toys and finding the right batteries.
And it’s okay to be sad that those fleeting moments are gone. It’s okay to grieve for a little bit that those small bodies are now grown and no longer fit on your lap. It’s okay to wish that you could go back in time.
But don’t miss out on what’s right in front of you, right now, at this moment.
The Amount of Time You Have to Spend With Your Big Kid May Look Different, Too
Whereas you once had to figure out what you would do with all that time at winter break, now, you’ll wish your teen was home for more of it. It’s not that time is speeding up, but the amount of time you get with them dwindles.
Fit in the traditions whenever you can, like at 9 p.m. when you really want to be in your jammies, but your daughter had late-night soccer practice.
Make the cookies by yourself but decorate them together in between their jobs and commitments and other responsibilities.
Wait until your big kids are all home from college to decorate.
Watch your favorite holiday movies whenever you can fit them in–and maybe even let them invite a friend.
You don’t have to change all your traditions, but don’t hang on so tight that it makes you bitter and resentful of your loved ones.
Sometimes your traditions have to grow in lockstep with your kids.
And sometimes you have to force them into a little holiday fun.
They may think they are too old to do some of these things but pick and choose your battles. Tell them which events are non-negotiable and which ones they can skip if they so choose. Tell them the importance of these memories and the ones you have from when you were a teen as well.
Don’t be so sad about the past that you miss what’s happening today
And sure, it’s sad that the magical part of Christmas may be over for now. Sure, it’s disappointing that they may not want to do the things that have defined the holidays in the past.
But don’t let that get in the way of the memories you can make today.
Christmas morning is going to look different with teenagers.
They may not get out of bed at the crack of dawn. They may want to take selfies before opening the gifts. They may roll their eyes when you ask them to put on those flannel PJs you bought back in September.
They may be texting with friends while opening gifts. They may not be interested in moving the Elf. They may want to take a nap before Christmas dinner.
But you also may see that smile that makes them look like a little kid when they open that pack of underwear you get them each year, or how they’ve mastered how to make Grandma’s biscuits, or maybe how they didn’t complain too much when you went to see the lights.
Here’s the thing about the holidays with teenagers.
They just aren’t the same.
But if you let your traditions grow with your family, they may be even better.
We know it can be hard to adjust to how the holidays look with teens. You may also like to read 25 Fun Thanksgiving Traditions for Teens They Will Actually Want to Do and 25+ Christmas Traditions For Families With Tweens and Teens,
P.S., Christmas with teens may look different, but if your teens tell you they want to keep up with a certain tradition, you do it!