Including your child in the planning and executing phase of holiday activities and events is also a wonderful opportunity for the two of you to bond, and enjoy time together. It’s also a great way to establish new holiday traditions, especially at a time when your child might be growing out of old ones.
Below are a few holiday activities you and your tween can share together to enjoy the events of the season, and each other’s company.
Holiday Activities: Hunt for the TreeYou tween may no longer wish to visit with Santa, but there are plenty of other holiday activities you can do together. If you have an artificial tree, you really don’t need to go on the hunt for a natural one, but you could go out in search of a small potted tree (such as a Norfolk Pine) or even a lush houseplant. The extra greenery will add a special touch to your holiday home, and provide more for you and your tween to decorate.
If you don’t embrace artificial trees, think about visiting a local Christmas tree farm so that you and your child can select a tree, cut it down and bring it home together. Or make the day out of visiting Christmas tree lots to find the right one for your home. Once you get it home, take your time decorating, so you and your child can get it just right. Some tweens might want to be put in charge of tree decorating, with your supervision.
Add Decorative TouchesYour tree doesn’t have to be the only decorative centerpiece to your holiday home. Tweens might enjoy making a gingerbread house, the family front-door wreath or other decorative embellishments. Most craft stores sell gingerbread house kits as well as other holiday craft kits. Or, consider stringing popcorn and cranberries together to drape around the tree, the mantle or in other prominent areas.
It’s also fun to hunt for pine cones with your tween. When you bring them home, sprinkle them with cinnamon oil and leave them out in a decorative basket to give your house a welcoming touch.
Play Secret SantaYour tween may no longer believe in Santa, but that shouldn’t stop him from taking part in one of the highlights of the season – selfless generosity. Encourage your tween to keep the magic alive by playing Secret Santa to a neighborhood child, or an elderly member of your church or community. Once you identify someone who needs a little magic, shop together for inexpensive gifts. Then, take the time to wrap the presents together.
Bake for the NeighborsYou can’t escape the holiday season without indulging in a few treats. But baking cookies, treats, and gingerbread is almost as much fun as eating them. Set aside a weekend afternoon to churn out a few dozen of your family’s favorite recipes. Lemon bars, gingerbread men, and fudge are always holiday favorites, but you and your child may have ideas of your own. Once the goodies have cooled, wrap them in colored cellophane, tie them with ribbon, and spread good cheer to your neighbors.
Surprise the AnimalsSometimes the best holiday activities help those in need. Local animal shelters are always in need of food and supplies. You and your child can make the holidays brighter for homeless pets by shopping for food, toys, blankets, and other supplies. Deliver the supplies together, and ask if you may play a little while with some of the attention-starved residents.
Write the Family Christmas NewsletterSome holiday activities can be a burden if you're time-starved. Give yourself a break from writing the family Christmas newsletter by putting your tween in charge of it this year. It’s a great opportunity for your child to think about the highlights of the year, and the people on the receiving end of his letter will no doubt enjoy knowing about them. You can always add a few remarks at the end of the letter, to fill in any information your child may have left out.
Another spin on the newsletter is to have your child write the letter from your family pet’s point of view. Now that’s bound to be funny and interesting.