Teenagers and Christmas

For most of us, Christmas is an exciting time of year. It’s the same for teenagers. But don’t forget that teenagers are experiencing adolescence — and with this — come some potentially awkward moments.

Buying Christmas gifts for friends. Okay, so your teenager wants you to pay for Christmas gifts for close friends. Well, that request might have been cute 5-years ago… but now?! What’s a parent to do? If you are in the habit of supplying money for your kids’ expenses (including gifts for friends), then reach a consensus with your daughter or son on how much money you’ll provide for Christmas gifts. Then, let your teen experience the wonderful (and sometimes painful) lesson of budgeting. Sometimes kids believe their parents are living, breathing ATM machines, and that you have an unlimited abundance of cash. Now is a good time to dispel the myth.

You can make the budgeting process an excellent learning experience. Have your teenager write out the names of friends she or he will be giving gifts to and place a dollar amount beside each name. Your teenager may find that he or she doesn’t have enough money and then she or he will have to explore an even more meaningful way to give gifts for those on the list. As your teen gets older, you will probably want to allow her or him the privilege to pay for her or his own purchases. This will teach a healthy dose of responsibility.

Friends, not family for Christmas. Christmas can be a wonderfully social time of the year. Unless you are a teenager being forced to attend family Christmas events. Can you say boring? You can if you are a teenager who would rather spend the holidays hanging out with friends.

Here’s a suggestion: Look at all the Christmas activities as a family before the season gets underway and budget your time commitments. Discuss the importance of each activity and help your teen understand the importance or lack of importance for each event. There’s nothing wrong with making high priority family celebrations pretty much non-negotiable. For others, discuss expectations, exchange opinions, and reach reasonable decisions. If your season is too busy, you may decide to shorten or cut out of a couple of those Christmas events as well. Consider choosing the better option of spending more time focusing on a few key Christmas traditions and eliminate some of the busyness. Your entire family might find that less is more.

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Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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