Anyone Else Have Teens and Wish They Were Young This Time of Year?

Updated on December 30, 2018
K.M. asks from West Hartford, CT
9 answers

Happy holidays! Today we celebrate Christmas, and my son is 14 and stepson 18. I always have nostalgia and miss the excitement, wonder, anticipation of when my son was young( I have only been in my stepsons life for 2 years). I miss the crafts, the decorating, baking cookies for Santa,etc. And while it is natural that they change, grow, mature, it doesn't make it easier on me lol. ..I tried to come up with activities to become tradition ..its so hard to get them involved and interested! Has anyone had luck in this? Maybe you have sn activity or tradition suitable for teens to share?

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answers from Boston on

We still do crafts and stuff for the holidays and my kids are all in their 30's with grandkids between 3-15. The thing everyone looks forward to is doing the ornaments for the christmas tree. Every year is a different theme and we make and decorate the tree beginning the day after Thanksgiving finishing on Sunday..

Here's what I found to be true. Traditions are there but you need to tweek them as the kids get older. Choose one or two that you all want to continue and add ones that others might think of. Might be adding a game night after the gifts are open. Or cooking a special meal or breakfast that morning. Never too late to think of things that will make the day more family based as they get older.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Well my kids have grown but I guess I haven't lol! I still enjoy decorating, baking and making (some) homemade gifts. Sure it was sweet when they were little and we did more together but honestly I kind of like decorating my own gingerbread house without "help" hee hee.
One thing we did as the kids got older was go to the movies in the afternoon. Either as a family or my husband and son would see one film while the girls and I watched another. If the weather was good we'd go for a hike. And playing video games together is STILL something my now 19, 23 and 25 year old kids do (they're doing it as I type this as a matter of fact.)
Merry Christmas!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Every year we make hand made ornaments, one to keep forever for the tree (with a current photo) and then several disposable ones for our handmade yule wreath. My boys (13 and 15) still have fun with this even though they might not be as excited for family time as they used to, but even they love looking at the tree and seeing a photo from every year. But family craft time is something we do 3 or 4 times a year with different projects and being creative has always been a big part of our family and our time together so the holidays are no different.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We play games on Christmas Eve, watch movies (National Lampoon or whatever they like, doesn't have to be Christmassy), have appetizers they like or pizza or meals (their favorites), chowder, etc. We just make it fun. We get a new game (appropriate and fun for teens too) and all play.

Get them off their devices. That's key.

I do baking and while it's true the older ones do not participate (my younger ones have taken up the slack), you might be able to still get them involved.

When my teens have friends over, it's amazing what they will do. If I stuck out cookies with frosting, I bet they would decorate them. They get all kiddie-like with their buds. It's silly and ridiculous, but I think they love to revert back, even if in a teen-way.

Sometimes you have to include friends or your kids take off to see their buds. I'm ok with that. I think I was the same. I just want joy.

Back home, my sister (big family) did a sleepover at my mom's house when her kids were teens. They all piled onto the living room couches etc. and slept around the fire with my mom. They loved it. We also played cards.

If you keep it 'special', like something you only do that one time a year, they look forward to it. Teens love traditions.

Brunch here - we do a casserole that they especially love. We do a big bonfire (that they can invite friends to), and stuff teens would enjoy. We do a big walk after some of the meals, sometimes at twilight - whoever wants to come. If we have snow, sledding - teens love that stuff.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The trick with older kids, and especially with blended families, is to create new traditions when old ones don't fit your lives anymore. Teens are especially prone to distancing themselves somewhat as they prepare emotionally to move out on their own at some point.

You might start to collect photos and perhaps some written captions or mini-paragraph/short descriptions, and create a memory book. That can be a scrapbook, or it can be something you have printed and bound. We've done those for milestone birthdays and used a service like Shutterfly. Our teen son even did one for us. You have to be careful that you don't do too much schmaltzy stuff in front of your stepson because it sets him off as not having been a part of the old memories, and you can take your time to get it right, knowing your teen may pooh-pooh it at this age.

More to the point, I'd find things that bond the boys together. When I was a teen, our family gatherings always involved card games like Hearts. If we had 6 or more people, we used 2 decks combined. A friend played Apples To Apples with her 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter the other day. My son played that through high school with his buddies. Some friends play Rummi-Kube and Scrabble and our own version of Speed Monopoly. There are other options too - find a few to try out.

We're Jewish, so we go to the movies and out for Chinese food like so many of our friends. But we always run into Christmas-celebrating friends too. With teens, you probably find the Christmas gifts are smaller and more expensive, so they aren't sitting around playing with toys until 3:00. So you could consider doing Christmas morning, doing a brunch and then heading out mid-afternoon to something you all (especially the boys) would enjoy - even if it's not a movie you would choose as a top pick, you'll find joy in watching the 2 of them laugh or being engaged. Then go for Chinese or at least get take-out to bring home. Save yourself the chore of cooking a big meal on this day.

I think it's about accepting the passage of time, and making sure you are seeing the joys of this age rather than just missing the sweetness of little kids. Spending time with teens is really important for keeping them connected to you as they go through difficult and challenging times.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My daughter is a few months from becoming a teenager, but here are things we like doing together:

-A road trip around the holidays, or catching some type of holiday show (a Christmas-themed circus, like Holidaze Cirque du Soleil or Salute to Vienna, or visiting historic mansions decorated with historic Christmas decor). We have also done "ICE!" in Orlando.
-Watching a movie at the theater, during the Christmas weekend, then watching some Christmas movies at home, or something like the PBS broadcast of The Rockettes or Andrea Bocelli singing for the holidays.
-Baking holiday cookies or pies.
-Decorating pine tree cones (
-Ice skating.
-Making cocoa to drink while watching movies in PJs.
-Driving around different neighborhoods to see the light displays. Some of them are incredibly beautiful!
-Helping family members put up light displays in their yards.
-Assembling my tree, putting the lights and the ornaments/assisting mom in doing the same with her tree.

Hope some of these are good suggestions, and may be able to be incorporated into your yearly holiday traditions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

This was our first christmas without santa and it crushed me! I didnt think it would bother me so much but I cried. I had my girls help me be santa for each other and that was fun but it was still hard. good luck!


answers from Norfolk on

It changes as we all age.
Get them more involved in making the holiday for everyone instead of being the focus/receiving end of it.
They can make the cookies for you - or you do it together so they learn the recipes.
They help with the decorating - and the clean up when it's time to put it away.
They need to learn to do holidays for when they are making the magic for their own kids someday.
Every holiday is a learning experience!
And learning together is what makes it fun!


answers from Washington DC on

i loved loved loved having little boys at christmastime, and i'll always feel nostalgia for it.

but oh boy oh boy did i love having teenage boys at christmastime too. we really didn't do much different. they still helped decorate, bake cookies, play games, read christmas stories together.

i know not everyone loves the teen years like i did, but you can still find fun things to do and help your teens connect with the little fellows who are still in there.

one thing we started doing when they got older was go to a big christmas concert. they're both music freaks, and going to see TSO was a HUGE deal for them.


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