This Mom Is Getting Her Teens Back Into The Wonder Of Christmas
One of my favorite Christmas memories happened by accident.
It was December 23rd and our then 3-year-old son ran to the window and pressed his face to the glass at the sound of sirens in the neighborhood.
“MOMMY WE HAVE TO GO OUTSIDE NOW!” he squealed with delight.
Once on the driveway, he jumped up and down cheering wildly as a fire truck carrying a candy-bearing Santa passed by.
As a family that didn’t celebrate Santa, we were mildly amused when he had decided all on his own that year that Santa was real. So of course it was with wide eyes that he turned to me and declared, “SEE I TOLD YOU HE WAS REAL!”
To this day I’ll never forget his sense of wonder and enthusiasm at the sight of that Santa riding a fire truck. And though we’ve had many more memories like these since that day, it's felt increasingly harder to make them as our kids get older. Their sense of wonder has dulled, their presents are more expensive, and they’re just not “into it” the way used to be.
Still, I don’t want my teens to come to believe that Christmas is for “the little kids.” For this reason, I’m refocusing my efforts this year to put fun and wonder back into our Christmas.
Here’s what I am doing:
3 Ways I’m Getting My Teens Back Into The Wonder Of Christmas
1. I’m handing over family traditions. Over the years we’ve created many family traditions: we make a red velvet birthday cake for Jesus; at the close of Christmas Day we read the Christmas Story from the Bible, sing carols together, and celebrate Jesus’s birthday; we go to the Florida beach by our home and make a “snowman” out of sand. This year I’m pumping up the volume on these traditions by seeing how my kids can take ownership of them. I’m asking them what traditions are most important and then letting them do the planning. Who will learn to make the cake? Who will decide what we do with our sand-snowman? Some of these traditions will make their way into my children’s families and I want them to begin to see which ones matter most.
2. I’m getting rid of traditions. As our kids get older, some traditions may need to go--and that’s alright. For many years we made gingerbread houses, but in the last two years I’ve asked my kids if they wanted to get the stuff and put them together and they didn’t. I realized that even I don’t like to do it anymore! Getting rid of traditions we don’t really care about creates space for new memories and traditions to start.
3. We’re trying new things (and not forcing them to become new traditions). Sometimes fun memories don’t have to become traditions, which is why this year I’m trying new things. For example, we’re writing anonymous Christmas cards to friends and neighbors, signing them, “A Little Elf,” and leaving them in the mailbox. Likewise, to liven up our usual baking routine, we’re going to have a “bake off” where each kid has to create something yummy for the holidays. If we like these new activities, we might try them again next year. If not, then it will be onto something new!
I’m not expecting these three shifts to result in my teens jumping up and down on the driveway like Caleb did when he was 3-years-old. But I am reminding myself that every year is a new opportunity to make memories. These memories don’t have to match the ones we made when the kids were small, but they may surprise us with new wonder as our traditions change and grow each year.
Pick 1-3 Christmas traditions that you normally plan, organize, and lead and delegate it to a family member instead. Enjoy how they make it their own, and celebrate how your traditions can become new again as your kids get older.