Every year around Christmas when I visit my sister I notice her teenage daughter is bored out of her mind. I don’t always blame her because between her mother and I, we aren’t the coolest duo on the block. But this year I decided to change that by checking out the 60 top Christmas activities for a teenager.
The best Christmas activity for teenagers is hosting game competitions as often as possible. Taking something a teenager already loves and adding a competitive element to it provides an incentive for teenagers to participate for a good laugh. Not everyone is competitive so if that doesn’t stick there are plenty of other great activities to choose from.
Out of the 60 activities I came across, I narrowed it down to the top 8 Christmas Activities for teenagers.
- Christmas Games
- Bake It Up
- Make Ugly Sweaters
- Get Artsy with Holiday Crafts
- Independent Activities Just For Them
- Watch Movies All Day
- Partake in the Traditions
- Host a Party
1. Introduce the Christmas Olympics
Nothing bonds people together more than some good old friendly competition around the holidays. From board games to competitions there are so many activities that your teens will love doing. To raise the stakes put a wager on it.
2. Holiday Charades and Pictionary
The classics of charades and Pictionary are great games to play with holiday twists. This is an easy way to gather around the couch, play Christmas movies, and have a good laugh when Mom tries to draw Rudolph but instead, it looks like the abominable snowman.
3. Baking Galore
For all the chefs in the house having a family competition of who can decorate the best holiday cookie is a great activity that everyone loves. Plus you get to eat the cookies after. Take it a step further and you can have a real baking competition to see who makes the best holiday dessert between family members. Team up or keep it individual. It all works!
4. Ugly Sweater Making Contest
Ugly sweaters certainly made a comeback. While it technically would be cheating to buy one for an ugly sweater-making contest, you wouldn’t be blamed. There are some pretty fashionable ugly sweaters available. But keep it fun and have your family make their own and see what creative content you can come up with. It’s an activity that’s good for a few laughs.
5. Explore the Arts and Theater
Sitting on Santa’s lap as a teen in our house is a big no-no. Just because you can’t get your child to have a photo with Santa anymore doesn’t mean you have to skip out on the entire ritual itself. The same can be said for a lot of other traditions that your teens may have outgrown. Consider these twists on some of the classics.
6. Polaroids and Scenery
Instead of heading to the mall to see Santa grab a Polaroid camera and take instant pics of the family at home. Catch special moments like baking and setting the tree up. You can even plan your own scenic photo shoot by getting a family photo in coordinated outfits. Plaid pajamas have been a hit for years now!
7. Family Concerts
Going caroling may still be a favorite for some but your teen may feel embarrassed if their friends see them. That’s why the TV singalong specials are perfect to have a Christmas concert right in your own living room. Tune into Disney’s or put a little country flavor on it and sing with your favorite stars along to Christmas carols by the fireplace.
8. Visual Wishlists
Writing a letter to Santa ages out eventually but that’s no reason you can’t do arts and crafts with your teens and make a visual wishlist. It benefits everyone because not only do you get to spend time together but the parents get a better idea of what their teen wants for Christmas. This vision board is a collage of pictures of what everyone wants for Christmas.
9. Give Them Independent Activities
One of the main reasons teens age out of certain activities is because they are growing up and are looking for independence. There are aspects of the holiday that definitely can make teens feel like children. By doing something special for them that makes them feel like more of an adult can go a long way.
10. Their Own Christmas Tree
Along with decorating the family tree, give your teen a small tree for their room that they can call it their own. They can pick out the decorations and decide how they want it to look themselves. This is a nice thought that can spread the cheer and make your teen feel like they have their own personal space and tree.
11. Family Time
Framily is your family friends that get to hang out around the holidays. To make Christmas really special for your teen allow them to have a Christmas time event with just their friends. This could be movie time, gingerbread house making, or holiday shopping. Family time is great but allowing them to have some time with just their friends makes them appreciate the family more!
12. Christmas Movie Marathons
Just after Thanksgiving, the movie choices for Christmas classics are unlimited. Across multiple stations, dozens of Christmas movies will play simultaneously making it perfect for a Christmas movie marathon. Don’t miss the classics like Elf or on Christmas Day the continuous playing of A Christmas Story.
13. Traditional Activities Are Worth a Shot
New ideas are always great but keeping some of the traditions around is something that your teenagers will appreciate with age. Sort of like good wine. There are several traditions that even teenagers love to keep around.
14. Attend a Tree Lighting Service
Everyone can enjoy a great cup of homemade cocoa while watching a Christmas tree be lit up. Whether it’s the Rockafella with music and dazzling shows or staying in your local town, this is a wonderful activity the families and teens can enjoy. If you stay local likely they’ll run into some friends as well!
15. Go Ice Skating
Whether your family is sporty or not ice skating in the winter is a lot of fun for everyone. Teens who enjoy playing sports may particularly like this activity because it is active. If you live in a climate that allows you to do this outside this is really the traditional way. But even indoors at a rink in warmer climates can be a great way to burn off some energy together.
16. A Family Drive To See Christmas Lights
Driving through well-decorated neighborhoods is a tradition that persists. It’s nice to get outside the house and huddle up inside a car as you compare houses decorations. With a spin on neighborhood drives, now there are spectacular light shows that offer entertainment to the next level. Bake some goods and grab everyone for this pastime classic.
17. Host a Party
Host a mixed party for both the adults and the kiddos. Give your teenagers space to do their own thing while the adults can enjoy apps and wine and talk about how they all can’t get their teenagers interested in family time. This will go a long way for everyone.
What Can I Do With a Teen Stuck Inside tor the Holidays?
If you have a teen who is stuck inside the house and feels a bit lost for holiday activities think outside the box. Not every activity has to be Christmas-themed. Think about some of the things they like to do. Pick movies they like and have some hot chocolate. You could also take part in the many virtual experiences offered online that have come out of the Pandemic. Visit a museum. Explore a zoo together. There are many options.
What if My Teen Gets Easily Bored Around the Holidays?
If your teen goes stir crazy around holiday break you are not alone. This is common because of the lack of routine and friends. Something that can help is going on a family vacation. You can go big and head for warmer weather or a small Christmas town feel. This prevents a lot of downtime at the house to be bored and allows for other activities like skiing or swimming dependent on where you go.
What To Do if I Have Multiple Teens with Different Interests?
Naturally, some boys around the age of 16 may not want to do a cookie bake-off while others will. If you have a 13-year-old girl who wants to watch Hallmark holiday love stories but not your eldest boy, this can be a bit challenging. That’s why things like the Christmas Olympics, movie marathons where people can take turns choosing, and Christmas tree lightings, are all good ideas.
It makes take some trial and error what works and doesn’t work with your teens. The most important thing is time together so once you find a few activities that work, you’re golden!