25 Holiday Family Fun Ideas to Enjoy with Your Tweens and Teens (when they don’t want to hang out with you)
25 Family Fun Ideas to Enjoy with Your Tweens and Teens This Christmas
Tis the season to be jolly, and yes with your adolescent too!
As we count down the days to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to ask other moms from my Moms of Tweens and Teens community (join here!) to share what traditions and fun activities they enjoy over the holidays with their families.
One of my main goals every Christmas is to find one or two activities that create a little laughter and that my family can enjoy together.
When you read this list don’t jump to the conclusion that I am the queen of family togetherness and fun. With my own kids, there have been times when creating family fun has been more like pulling teeth. However, I am confident that with a little creativity and a little playfulness on our part, we can break through any adolescent resistance and have fun together.
It is my hope that you will find a few new ideas to create family fun and laughter in your home.
25 Ideas to Create Family Fun with Your Tweens and Teens this Christmas
Put together a family puzzle.
This is one of my favorite holiday traditions. A family puzzle is like a magnet, even the most resistant teen can’t refrain from joining in. Grandparents, cousins, everyone can get involved in taking turns and working as a team.
Bake and decorate cut out cookies.
Older kids love to roll out dough. Lay out assorted colored frosting, sprinkles and small candies. It is so fun to watch the creativity that is generated as they decorate!
Have an ugly Christmas sweater party.
Go to a second-hand store and chances are you will find a plethora of ugly sweaters! We got each of ours for about $6. Take a vote for whose is the best (worst)! Let your kids be the judge.
Decorate a gingerbread house (or allow the siblings to decorate without you being involved).
One of my youngest daughter’s favorite holiday memories is making and decorating a gingerbread house with her big sister. Note from experience: It’s worth buying a better house and to make extra frosting.
Watch your favorite holiday movies together.
Let your tween or teen pick. If they aren’t particularly fond of watching movies with Mom or Dad, sometimes serving some hot chocolate and marshmallows does the trick.
Start a yearly ornament collection for each child.
I started my collection when my oldest child was about nine years old and each year since I’ve bought a special ornament that commemorates each child’s year. We all look back and remember those fun times.
I know, what some of you are thinking – my teenager would rather jump off a cliff than sing with me. However, when you have them share their playlist of favorite holiday tunes, it’s another story. Listening to their play list has a way of getting everyone laughing or stuffing cotton in their ears!
Make Jib Jabs.
Oh my gosh we have laughed. At first my kids thought this was stupid until I made them one with all of us. They couldn’t stop creating different ones themselves once I showed them mine. Find Jib Jab here.
Record a family video.
The catch is to allow them to be the directors. You can do a family skit, have a dance contest, or be plain silly. Beware they might have so much fun they share it on Snapchat!
Create Vision Boards for the New Year.
This takes a little coaxing but after complaining, my family got into it. The highlight of creating vision boards is having each person share the special meaning of their images. It’s amazing how much you can learn about each other.
Make indoor s’mores.
One mom shared, “We have family gifts on Christmas Eve and after we open the gifts we make indoor s’mores and put down a big blanket to catch the mess. My kids love this.”
Drive through a light display.
Find a local light display; bring hot chocolate and cookies and turn up the Christmas music.
Attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Carve out time to focus on the true meaning of the season. The later services have candles you light so double-check if that’s something that you’d enjoy. There is something about lighting each other’s candles that is pretty cool.
Give one big family present.
One mom from our Facebook group shared her families tradition – “We open one big family gift on Christmas Eve that is for everyone to enjoy.” Another mom shared that her family gives the gift of ‘an experience to share as a family’ – this could be a concert, a board game, a sports event or an overnight getaway to share together.
Open your home to those who have nowhere to go.
This is a beautiful idea from a single mom who opens her home every Christmas Eve to anyone at her church, work or in her neighborhood that is lonely or has no family.
Set up a hot chocolate bar.
What is a hot chocolate bar without marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, candy canes, and other fun toppings? Who can say “sugar” the fastest 5 times?!
Take a ‘gift trip’ to Target or Wal-Mart.
This is an idea that my kids have probably enjoyed the most – taking a ‘gift trip’ to Target. I give them a budget of money to spend for Christmas gifts to buy for family members. They have to figure out how to stay within their budget and they love picking out gifts together. The greatest challenge for them has been hiding the gifts they’ve picked for each other.
Have a Chocolate Fondue night.
This is always a hit and it’s easy. Here’s how to make Chocolate Fondue – How to Make The Easiest Way.
Have each family bring a white elephant gift to the party.
Here’s how to make it a success – How to organize a White Elephant Gift Exchange.
Do a Random Act of Kindness.
Buy a gift or toy for a family in need. Find a local store where you can drop off coats, toys or food for those in need.
Make a gratitude basket.
Have those who want to write one thing each day drop a note of gratitude into the basket leading up to Christmas. Share in reading them on Christmas day.
Embrace your playful self.
Buy a Rudolph nose, Santa Claus hat, elf skirt or beard and wear it (your kids already think you’re embarrassing) or buy one for each person and take a picture.
Build a snowman, make Christmas angels, or have a snowball fight.
You go first! You might be surprised who jumps in and joins you.
Here is a list of games from moms of tweens and teens that has been the rage –
HedBanz, Apples to Apples, Scrabble, Rollick (team charades), Yahtzee, Twister, Catch Phrase, Would You Rather, Family Feud Online Game (a friend of mine says this game is a blast).
Go out for breakfast.
There is something about starting the day going out to breakfast together. I make sure to enjoy breakfast out at least once during the holiday break. My kids also enjoy going together without us parents when we offer to pay.
I hope this list has given you at least one fresh idea and a little inspiration for creating family fun and memories.
When you’re planning a fun family activity share an idea and have your kids give their input. Don’t get discouraged if they aren’t gung ho to begin with. Lead with having fun and you might just be amazed at how they jump on board.
Whatever you do, make this Christmas memorable for you. Do those things that make you happy and the troops will follow.
Wishing you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas Awesome Mom!!