All About Teens

6 Simple Holiday Traditions You Can Do with Teenagers

The holidays are full of traditions and rituals. Whether they are religious or just the crazy ones your family made up years ago, there is something comforting about knowing what to expect and having fun things to look forward to year after year.

While younger children may willingly go along with whatever holiday traditions you decide to do, teenagers can be another story. They are too old to sit on Santa’s lap and too young to participate in some adult activities (eggnog anyone?)

Admittedly, it can be a struggle to find holiday traditions that you can do with teenagers and that they might actually enjoy. So I’m sharing my personal holiday traditions with you in the hopes that it sparks some ideas for your own family. Even the moodiest of teenagers will find some Christmas spirit and participate in a few of these family events.

There are six, easy, inexpensive activities that will provide memories and laughter for years to come. Try one, or try all of our holiday traditions. And make sure to share your favorite holiday traditions you can do with teenagers below!

Baking together is the perfect holiday tradition to do with teenagers

Baking is a holiday tradition you can do with teenagers
Teenagers can help with the holiday baking

It doesn’t matter if you like sweets or not. You can bake cookies, pies, bread, casseroles – the point is to find something everyone will enjoy and do it together.

In our family, each person gets to pick one type of cookie so when we are finished, we have five delicious options to nibble on throughout the holiday season. Some of us like to try a new recipe every year and others choose the same one time and time again. We double or triple the amounts and give away boxes of treats to neighbors, teachers and sports coaches.

Here are some tips to make baking together fun and easy. Choose the recipes a week or two in advance and go shopping for all the ingredients a couple of days before you plan on baking. You can search Pinterest, use your cookbooks or check out some popular baking blogs like this one.

Try to designate an entire day for baking and have everyone help in some capacity. Teenagers are mature enough to handle pouring in ingredients, mixing them together and taking cookie pans out of the oven.

Another positive of baking is that it also reinforces basic hygiene (like hand washing and not sneezing in the cookie batter) and math skills. My sixth grader has been learning about fractions and baking is the perfect opportunity to put those skills to use!

Looking at holiday lights

Even teenagers will enjoy looking at holiday lights
Even teenagers will enjoy looking at holiday lights

It’s free and easy – what could be better? Have everyone put on warm jammies (yes, you too!) , pile them in the car with fuzzy blankets and drive around your town.

You can stop for hot chocolate (or bring some from home), play holiday music and oooh and awe together. Just make sure to leave the cell phones at home or put them away in the glove box. The point is to spend quality, family time together, not watch videos on Tik Tok.

You could even let your teenager plan the route. Have them look online or on your town’s facebook page to see where the best displays are this year.

On the way home, talk about which house was your favorite and why. You might be surprised by your teenager’s responses!

Movie night is an easy holiday tradition that teenagers will love

Again, this is really an excuse to wear pajamas, snuggle under warm blankets and bond with your kids.

Try letting your teenager pick one of their favorite holiday movies first. Then, you can introduce them to a classic from your childhood.

You could also make popcorn or munch on all those cookies you baked. If you have a fireplace, make sure to light a fire to make it extra fun and cozy!

Buying a new ornament each year is one of my favorite holiday traditions

My favorite holiday tradition is buying a new ornament each year
My favorite holiday tradition is buying a new ornament each year

I can’t remember where I first heard this idea, but it has become one of my absolute favorite holiday traditions. Every year, each one of our children receives an ornament and a new set of pajamas on Christmas Eve.

The ornament is always a reflection of something they were interested in or a place they visited during the year. I plan on giving them all of their ornaments when they move out so they have a good start for their first Christmas tree.

Plus, it makes it really fun to decorate the tree each year. We reminisce about each ornament as we hang them up and the tree is a visual representation of their childhood.

You can always put your own spin on this by buying one ornament for the whole family or one for each member of the family, not just the kids.

Pro tip, if the ornament comes with a box, write the child’s name on the box so they don’t fight over the Elmo or Thomas the Train ornament in ten years.

Let the kids buy gifts for each other

This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You could take an annual trip to the dollar store and let them pick out gifts. Or if your child’s school runs a holiday shop, you could set them loose with $10 and see the treasures they pick for their siblings.

This teaches your teenagers so many valuable lessons. It allows them to get creative and learn to budget money. It also makes them think of someone other than themselves, which is a difficult skill for most teenager’s to pick up. Most importantly, they learn the joy of giving a thoughtful gift to someone.

Have a “do nothing” day

We try to do this after Christmas so we have a day to relax and regroup. One whole day to do absolutely nothing. No errands or planned activities.

Just hang out at the house in your pajamas, play with the new gadgets, read a book, take a nap and be together. Sounds absolutely heavenly, doesn’t it?

Teenagers always seem to be involved in fifty different clubs, sports and activities. This is a simple tradition to remind your teens to slow down and appreciate just being together. And after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is much needed for everyone in the family.

And that’s it for the holiday traditions to do with teenagers!The best part about this list is that they are inexpensive and simple, which makes them super easy for you to implement in your house. I looking forward to hearing about which ones you chose to do and how your family reacts to them.

And I would love to hear about any different holiday traditions you do with your teenagers! Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at!

You might also like:

How To Take the Perfect Family Photo for Holiday Cards

Gifts for Sporty and Athletic Teenagers

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Holiday traditions with teenagers
Holiday traditions with teenagers
6 simple and cheap holiday activities to do with teenagers.
6 simple and cheap holiday activities to do with teenagers.

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