How to Trick Your Teen Into Thinking Family Holiday Fun Is Cool

teens christmasRemember when spending the holidays with your family went from Ho, ho, ho to Ho-hum? Probably around the same time you started noticing that cute guy who was always getting detention and wishing everything about your physical appearance would magically change overnight. It happens to everybody: Sooner or later the presents and the tree lose their sparkle and you spend the whole holiday sulking in the corner wishing you could escape to your best friend's house. Where people are actually normal, okay?

My daughter isn't quite at that age, but she's getting there, and I'm dreading it.

So before that painful phase is here, I have a goal. And that goal is to figure out ways to make the holidays more tolerable for teens. Here's what I've got so far ...

  1. Always remember -- the more, the merrier. How do you get your teen to not do everything in her power to sneak out the back door before dessert is served? Make her friends part of your celebration! I realize these friends probably have families who would also like to spend the day with their obnoxious adolescent, but perhaps a trade-off can be arranged. Better to have a happy teenager for part of the holiday than a miserable one for the whole thing.
  2. Treat her like an expert. The point here is to get your teen involved in the festivities, but she won't just join in the gift-wrapping if you ask nicely. Instead, act like that present for Grandma will end up as a total disaster without her valuable input.
  3. Let him be the DJ. So you want to play Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" during dinner. He wants to hear Run D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis" (you know, he's feeling old school). Hand over the iPod.
  4. Hire her as a decorator. I don't mean you actually have to pay your kid to deck the halls, but guess what? It won't kill you to leave that ceramic Santa statue in the cellar for another year. If your home becomes her canvas, she's more likely to stick around and admire the results. Plus, it could end up looking awesome.
  5. Spike the eggnog. KIDDING! Relax, relax!! I'm just kidding. What I meant to say was, get your teen's help in planning the holiday menu! Choose recipes together, go shopping, spend time in the kitchen. (You can spike the eggnog, but just stick to your own glass.)

How do you get your teen involved in holiday activities?


Image via Jason Meredith/Flickr

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