According to Papa Bear Berenstain, “…Christmas is such a special time that very special, almost magical things can happen….” And according to a report on how teens feel about family and Christmas holiday tradition, your teenagers couldn’t agree more – Darla Noble
It’s hard being a kid. The pressures they face from teachers, school counselors, college recruiters, sports coaches, teammates and friends is enough to make even the most grounded teenager a bit grumpy and obnoxious at times. So while your teenager doesn’t write his/her letter to Santa anymore and doesn’t have any trouble falling asleep on Christmas Eve, that doesn’t mean they don’t get totally psyched over family, holiday traditions, cookies and Christmas ham, candlelight services at church and yes, gifts.
Your teenager loves you. And if you are providing a loving, safe and caring environment for them, they want to spend time with you – especially over the holidays. Teens see the holiday festivities and break from school as a respite from books, tests, studying and pressures to succeed. They crave the nurturing environment the holidays bring and the extra attention from you they have time to soak up.
Everyone wants to belong to someone and something. Holiday traditions bring a tangible element to this sense of belonging. These traditions give family roots and branches all at the same time. As a parent, you know how real the struggles of being a teenager are. They want to be treated like grownups… sometimes. They want to be treated like children… sometimes. We treat them like grownups… sometimes. We treat them like children…sometimes. Family holiday traditions allow your teens to reminisce, if you will, to a time of innocence and childhood. Leaving cookies and milk (soda in our house) under the tree brings back pleasant memories of waking up as a child on Christmas morning hoping Santa had enjoyed his snack. Hanging a stocking is just one of those things you do at Christmas no matter how old you are. Traditions also bridge gaps between generations. Knowing that ‘we’ve done it this way since Grandma was little’ connects your teens to Grandma.
The holidays are, in a significant way, about food. Christmas cookies, family meals and holiday gatherings filled with…food. This can be very stressful to teenagers. With the unavoidable facts about eating disorders, childhood obesity and healthy eating (talk about running the gamut), you need to take an attitude of enjoy-without-over-indulging when it comes to holiday food. To help, watch what you say and your attitude of holiday fare. Make sure you offer your family something to keep those sugar-overloads from disrupting attitudes, physical well-being and even self-confidence.
Reports by Barna Group and similar organizations show undeniably that over the last two or three decades, the number of teens turning away from traditional religious value systems or deeply personal relationships with God has fallen drastically. However…the report by the Family Education website clearly shows that teens embrace the tradition and meaningfulness of religious Christmas services and programs. This is partially due to the symbolism and traditionalism and partially due to the fact that teens do desire to embrace their faith.
Last but not least…Gifts
Teenagers are no different from anyone else in the fact that they love to receive gifts. The gift of choice for teens at Christmas? Money. They enjoy receiving money because their discretionary income is understandably limited, but their discretionary wants are endless. So…receiving money allows teens to cross a few items off their list.
Money isn’t the only acceptable gift in a teenager’s eyes, though
Your teenager will also enjoy
- Gifts that keep on giving: Examples of this type of gift include magazine subscriptions, gym, or sports clubs memberships, memberships to Netflix, movie theater passes, or paid tuition for lessons in their favorite hobby or pastime (photography, golf lessons, etc.)
- Tickets to a sporting event: or concert they are dying to see.
- Gas Cards: If you have a teen that can drive, you have a teen that is always happy when their gas tank is full.
- Gift certificates: Take note (ask if you need to) of where they buy their clothes – or where they would like to buy their clothes and present them with a gift certificate or gift card to one of those places.
Make sure THEY are interested in the event. Don’t assume that because you think it would be great that they will, too. Girls will also enjoy a certificate for a make-over and spa day.
Christmas and teens
Don’t be afraid to get a little goofy and sentimental with your teenager over the holiday season because even though they may roll their eyes and let out huge sighs, they love it!