Remember those days when you could hear the pitter patter of your kids’ feet trampling down the hallway and them jumping up and down on your bed screaming for you to wake up because they wanted to see if Santa came? Even though that same childlike spirit of Christmas may not be burning quite as bright as it did when your kids were young, there are still so many ways to foster excitement and magic during the holiday season even if your kids are teenagers. Regardless of how old your kids are, keep the magic of the holiday season alive and well in your family with these tips:
Keep the Surprises Coming
No matter hold old your kids are, they’re never too old for surprises. Whether you surprise them with a visit to a local holiday event, a family holiday vacation or a special gift under the tree they weren’t expecting, surprises are always a fun and magical way to show your kids how much you love them and it’s a great way to bring back the sparkle you saw in their eyes when they were young.
Ramp Up Anticipation
Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit more than having something to look forward to. Pile on the excitement and anticipation with your kids by putting something fun on the calendar. Maybe it’s a special family evening together, an upcoming visit with distant relatives or family friends, a get-a-way trip to the beach or mountains, or a day trip to the city. Regardless of how small or big it is, having something exciting to look forward to has a way of transforming your mood and your outlook on life. This holds especially true for teens who could use a fun diversion from their daily pressure.
Enjoy the Spirit of Giving as a Family
Instilling compassion, empathy, generosity and the joy of giving is one of the biggest challenges parents face when raising kids. As kids get older it becomes even more important to take the focus off of receiving and instill in them the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate or in need. With so many people who are in need of help, the holidays are a wonderful time to volunteer as a family at a shelter, buy presents for a lonely senior citizen or add a few toys to the “Toys for Tots” bin in your local store.
Create New Traditions
If your family has been enjoying the same traditions year in and year out since your kids were young, maybe it’s time to spruce things up a bit now that your kids are older. Even though it might be hard for you to let go of a few of the traditions you hold dear, your kids might very well have either outgrown them or perhaps find them a bit boring. Add sparkle to the holiday season with a new tradition or two. Attend a play, musical or holiday festival you’ve never been to before, go ice skating or sledding as a family, or pack the car with snacks and festive drinks and head out in search of the best Christmas lights in town. Regardless of the tradition, deviating from the old, and maybe a little boring, traditions will not only be fun and different, it will breathe new life into the season.
Keep it Festive
Sometimes when our kids get older we use it as an excuse to back off of our festive spirit thinking that perhaps they “just don’t care as much.” Maybe you choose not to put the tree up this year or you scale back on the outside decorations. Even if your kids don’t talk about it, kids love it when we show our excitement for the holidays by decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking and planning fun things to do. Keep it festive by doing “everything holiday” that your family loves. Don’t forget to crank up the volume on that holiday music and watch the entire family get into the holiday spirit!
Relish in the True Meaning of the Season
Life can get very busy, especially around the holidays. In the rush of the season, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the season. Now that your kids are older and the season has begun to take on new meaning for them, embrace the religious values you hold dear and foster the unity as a family. It’s a great way to remind your kids, regardless of their age, that the season is so much more about giving than receiving and reinforce the importance of gratitude.
The older our kids get the harder it is for us to round up our entire family to enjoy quality family time. And, oftentimes when we are together, texting and scrolling through our newsfeed takes priority over genuine interest and conversation with one another. Encourage your family to put their phones out of reach, if only for awhile, so everyone can be truly “present” this holiday season. The more quality time you spend together as a family, the more memories you’ll be able to reflect back on in years to come.