Parenting Vivian | 05 Aug 2010 11:26 pm

How to Enjoy the Holiday Season With Your Teenager

Aaah, December! Cooler weather, fallen leaves, shorter days, and the holiday season! For some, the holiday season is filled with parties, family get togethers, celebrations, and traditions. The change in music, sights, and aromas remind us of this special time of year.

Yet, if your family is like mine, it quite easily can be the busiest time of the year. So many things to do, so many places to be – all in the span of a few short weeks! Are you concerned about keeping your holiday spirit alive in the midst of the chaos of the holiday season? Are you looking for ways to connect with your teenager, as this may be his last year at home or her first year as a teenager? Here are some tips on how to enjoy the holidays with your teenager:

1. Keep up the traditions

For some parents, this time of year is a huge hassle. The shopping, the decorating, the baking can leave you feeling frustrated and tired. For others, it is very meaningful and steeped in family traditions. And traditions are the gateway for happy childhood memories of the past. Traditions and memories evoke the senses and nostalgia in all of us.

Have you ever wondered if family traditions are important to your teenager? Are you starting to wonder if he even notices them? Well, the answers are yes and perhaps. Teenagers can seem self absorbed and not really noticing the world around them. But they are aware of their surroundings. Traditions are important because they build memories. And regardless of how silly they are, memories make for a richer life and give a sense of belonging. So, even if your teenager does not seem to notice them, keep up your traditions.

Ask your daughter what her favorite holiday memory is and find away to celebrate it. Does your son have a favorite holiday tradition? The only way to find out is to ask!

2. Make new traditions

A tradition is simply something we do repeatedly in the anticipation of a celebration. It can be as elaborate as a special dinner being prepared on a certain day. Or it can be as simple as drinking spiced cider while watching an old movie. As stated, traditions create memories, and memories invoke the senses. Perhaps you can still smell a certain baked good from past holidays. Or you can hear a special song that takes you back to a special time in your life. My guess is that these special memories were born out of a family tradition.

Don’t have a lot of family traditions? The great thing about traditions is they can start at anytime. They do not have to be great or huge, just repeated and meaningful. Start a new holiday tradition just for you and your teenager. Perhaps adopt one from another culture.

3. Don’t get lost in the holiday blur

The holiday season is synonymous with a lot of activity. Stores are open until late in the evening. Perhaps you have a lot of office of family parties to attend. You willingly rush to attend all of them for fear of not wanting to offend anyone. Likewise, your teenager may have her own party list to attend, gifts to purchase, and places to be. Yet, it is easy to lose sight of enjoying the holiday season as a family rather than individually. Make it a commitment to spend some time alone with your teenager. It could be as simple as having breakfast one morning or going to the malls on Black Friday.

4. Help your teenager realize it is not all about the money

Just as the holidays are busy, they can also be consumed by materialism and greed. This is a great time of year to give as a family to those that are less fortunate than you are. Find a service project to do together as a family. But rather than just do it once, consider volunteering throughout the year.

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