Five Fun Christmas Traditions for Tweens

As our kids grow older, their interests change—including their enthusiasm for family traditions. While the Elf on the Shelf or the Little People nativity set might once have been highlights of December family time, these days our tweens may appreciate more “mature” family activities. Here are a few of our favorites.

Five Fun Christmas Traditions for Tweens

Christmas movies—My daughters, now ages 9 and 12, look forward to the first snowfall when I announce it’s officially time for “cheesy Christmas movie night!” Each year we revisit old favorites and find a few new ones on Netflix or the Hallmark Channel. My seventh-grader is no longer grossed out by romance themes, which makes it SO much easier to choose a happy-ending seasonal film. Some of our go-to movies include 12 Dates of Christmas, The Princess Switch, A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale and, of course, Elf.

Decorating the tree—This used to be MY job. But now my girls enjoy taking over the decorating duties, sorting through ornaments as we reminisce over when we got this bulb or that resin figure (a piano ornament for the year my firstborn started lessons, a pair of tiny pink Crocs for the year my little one wore nothing else, etc.). They laugh at their homemade ornaments from preschool and treat heirloom ornaments with care. If you love the task of decorating your own Christmas tree, I encourage you to relinquish some of the control to your children (as hard as that might be!), because doing so will create beautiful memories for the whole family and give the kids a greater sense of ownership in the fun.

Baking contest—Christmas cookies may be a standard tradition regardless of age, but as the kids get older, baking can take on new dimensions. We like to experiment with fancier recipes (meringues, anyone?) and decorating techniques (piping is not for preschoolers!) as well as turn simple baking into a friendly competition. Invite your children’s friends over to see who can create the funniest gingerbread man, the most artistic icing effect, or the most imaginative fudge flavor. Then share the goodies with pastors, teachers, or your child’s youth group.

Giving—Every year, we pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. When my kids were small, I’d battle their limited understanding of philanthropy {But I want to KEEP this doll!! Why do I have to give it to someone else??}, which naturally put a damper on the whole process. However, tweens are old enough to possess compassion and enthusiasm for giving, which makes this tradition so much more meaningful and fun. We have a blast going shopping for our shoebox goodies, selecting exactly the right toys, school supplies, toiletries and candy for the child we have in mind—and my kids lead the charge.

Volunteering—Last but definitely not least, older kids can easily participate in family volunteering activities. I know many families who ring bells together for the Salvation Army, dish up dinner at soup kitchens or create tie-blankets for cancer patients at local hospitals. Find an opportunity to serve people in need, and rally your tweens and teens to do it with you. I can’t think of a more Jesus-focused endeavor to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as a family.

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35, NLT)

I hope you will take the time to be intentional about building memories and praising God together as a family this Christmas season. We moms of tweens and teens know all too well how the years fly quickly by. I can count in single digits the number of Christmases I have left with both my girls under my roof. So I’m going to make them count. Will you join me?

Blessings,

Becky Kopitzke
BeckyKopitzke.com

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