Ideas for 12 Days of Christmas with Your Teen

Amidst the occasional chaos of the month of December, how will you spend time with your family? With college-age sons/daughters returning home, high school students frantically finishing assignments before Christmas break, and rehearsals for school concerts and theatre productions along with Christmas shopping, office parties, and house decorating … where does my family fit it??

A few ideas to consider:

Have a video game tournament

 Allow your teen to choose the game and the medium (handheld, xbox, wii, ps2, or even something on Club Penguin!) . Please do consider the game rating especially with younger siblings.

Have Fondue for dinner

Great meal for conversation. Work together to cut everything up. Ask the aspiring chef in the family to find recipes online for dipping sauces. 

Play a board game after dinner

Newer options: Catch Phrase, Wits & Wagers, Apples to Apples
Classics: Life, King Oil, Risk (if you have a looooong evening)
For the adventurers: Twister, Wii Sports

Serve together

Google “volunteer in (put your city or county)” and find places who need you. Call your church and ask where they need help. Christmas season often brings added responsibilities on the church staff that our families can help with.

Go for a walk in your neighborhood

Bonus: go at night to enjoy the Christmas lights!

Skype extended family members

Spend an hour connecting with family across the miles. Video call for about 10 minutes to each household. They will LOVE seeing your entire family … way better than a 2D Christmas card. Word of Patience: older extended family members may need a phone call tutorial to download and set-up their account first.

Conference call with family members

Get an account at Share the phone number and access code with family members far and wide. Enjoy a voice family reunion on Christmas Eve!


Get into the secret world of global “treasure” hunting. So fun for all ages! Register online to get clues and locations. Supplies needed: smart phone with navigation setting turned on or a gps. 

Watch a sunset together

Find a west-facing field. Figure out the time of sunset. Enjoy. (I hear sunrises are pretty amazing, too. But that is WAY to early for me.)

Learn to make towel animals or something new together

Search “how to make towel animals” on youtube, gather towels, commence the laughter! Or, find something new to do together… what about an archery introduction class or how to swing dance??

Play your favorite songs

Gather around the computer, go to youtube, and each family member share their favorite song…with lyrics (you know, sometimes, the lyrics are a bit difficult to understand). Talk about the songs and why it’s your favorite. Caution: NOT the time to be judgmental or critical!

Bake cookies

Whether slice-and-bake cookies from a tube or cut-out cookies with gourmet icing, cooking together always brings tasty rewards!

A word of caution and encouragement… While I can hear the lovely Christmas music playing in the background and smiles and hugs all around, we sometimes sabotage our efforts at family fun. May I make a few suggestions?

1. Consider everyone’s calendar. Even a 6th grader has important projects and activities!

2. Consider everyone’s interests.

3. Stick with the amount of time you and your family agree with. Even Dad will be ok with 30 minutes of towel folding…as long as you put the towels away after the agreed upon half-hour.

4. Refrain from lecturing, teaching, and criticizing. Not the time. Not the place.

Enjoy the blessing of your teen and your entire family this Christmas season!!

What other activities would you suggest for teens and families?


About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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4 Responses to Ideas for 12 Days of Christmas with Your Teen

  1. One idea: a subset of “serve together” is to combine Christmas caroling with, say, collecting perishable food for the local shelter, or giving away baked goods to shut-ins, or do the caroling at a retirement home or nursing home.

  2. Love these ideas! We only have one “teen,” but it’ll work for some younger ones, too. Thanks!

    • I agree! Many of these would work well with younger siblings…while also being able to really engage the teens in our midst. Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear how you adapt them to your family. Thanks for stopping by, Monica!

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