Life On the Other Side

Keeping the Magic in Christmas When The Little Ones Are Grown

There are definitely benefits to having only older children, but sometimes I miss having little ones around. Once they all got past a certain age, Christmas changed. It lost some of its magic. Sure we continued with traditions, but it wasn’t quite the same. I don’t think there are many teenagers who believe that a man in a red suit comes down the chimney to leave gifts, but there are ways to keep the spirit of Christmas alive and well, even as they get older.

Keep pretending

Just because they don’t believe doesn’t mean you have to accept this. Though my kids are older, I still remind them that Santa is watching when they get a little too sassy. We still hang stockings and leave milk and cookies on Christmas Eve (though at times I think of substituting spiked eggnog), and Santa still comes through.

Enlist their help

Teenagers are capable of doing many things, but we sometimes forget that they are no longer little kids. Have them help with holiday preparations or maybe turn some over to them completely. Decorating trees, baking and decorating cookies, writing and addressing Christmas cards are all things they can help with. It is difficult to be a Scrooge when engaged in holiday festivities.

Keep the traditions that work

The holidays are surrounded with many family traditions, perhaps more than at any other time of year. As long as these traditions are enjoyable, they should stick around. For years, my kids paired up in decorating gingerbread houses. There was cooperation and loud discussions to reach an agreement (and some years, each side of a house was decorated differently). This continued for several years and was fun for them (and for me to watch) while it lasted. Some families make an annual trek to select the perfect tree and some won’t decorate it until the whole family is together. If it works for your family, keep doing it.

Watch holiday shows together

Though some may disagree, I think you never outgrow Rudolph. Watching this and other shows as a family is a nice break from what is for many a very busy schedule. The magic of video, DVD, Blue Ray and now streaming services mean you can choose your viewing day or night. Curl up on the couch (or floor) with blankets and cocoa or eggnog and enjoy the show. Maybe even plan an all day marathon.

Plan something new

There are many options of things to do and places to go, such as holiday shows and visits with Santa, all of which can be fun activities, but simple things are good too. Plan a night of caroling, either out in the neighborhood or sitting around your own living room. Spend a day making an old family recipe. Drive around your own or nearby neighborhoods to see the lights. Ask your teens for input; what would they like to do?

Update your playlist

I have been slow to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I just realized that holiday music has been missing from my daily life and think that may have an effect, so I am going to crank up the tunes for the next couple weeks.. Maybe you grew up on Bing Crosby (and I would never suggest abandoning him), but new holiday albums are released every year. Think about adding artists such as Pentatonix, Brett Aldridge, Idina Menzel, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber or Michael Buble, or a compilation holiday albums such as Glee or Jingle Ball. Your teen will likely enjoy hearing his or her favorite artists and you may find you like some of the music as well.

The end of the childhood years does not mean the end of Christmas magic. Things aren’t the same as they get older, but the holiday can still be special. We may no longer talk about a man in a suit as much, but the spirit he embodies lives on