Holiday Entertaining With Teenagers

Holiday Entertaining With Teenagers
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Holiday Entertaining with TeenagersHoliday Entertaining With Teenagers

Teenagers can be a bit of a challenge during the holidays. They may group together during a family gathering in a huddle comparing play lists or text messages instead of interacting with the adults and younger kids. 

Sure, you can ban phones and MP3 players, but then they sit silently and scowl.  The trick is to get them involved and use the creativity we know they have in those teen brains. I can imagine some of you are shaking your head thinking, "That's easier said then done." 

It's important to think outside the box with teens, and to keep a sense of humor. Instead of throwing out orders, which I know is sometimes the only thing that works for getting them to do chores, put them "in charge" of certain activities and allow them a bit of freedom to be creative. Ask their opinion when planning holiday gatherings, including menus, decorations and activities.

Below are some ideas to get you started this holiday season.

Festive Servers: Ask each teen to bring a white dress shirt or provide one (Thrift stores always have an abundance of dress shirts.). Provide bow ties, bows, ribbons, Santa or Elf hats etc. to dress up the shirt. Another option is to provide a white t-shirt and let them decorate it beforehand. I really like the dress shirt idea though, and they can get creative on adding accessories.  In a few minutes, you'll have yourself a festive teen to help set the table, put out the food, and act as a "server" during the holiday meal.

Food Prep: Teens may not volunteer to help with meals, but in my experience, I've found they do a great job at cutting up vegetables, cheese, fruit etc. and assembling relish trays. This isn't too messy either, so they can wear their festive server ensemble while helping.

Gift Givers: While you have your teens dressed up, put them in charge of handing out cards and/or gifts. Let them take the gifts as people arrive, and organize how they want to handle giving them out.

Holiday Entertaining with Teenagers

Holiday Games: Assign each teen the responsibility of coming up with one game for the holiday gathering. The game should work for all ages, and if they need supplies, they can contact the hostess. When the time comes to play the game, each teen should introduce the rules, and supervise. Another idea is to give them each a box of supplies such as markers, colored paper, ornaments, or any crafty seasonal items and challenge the teens to make it into a game. Remind them that the library is full of books with seasonal ideas.

Welcoming Committee: Put the teens in charge of opening the door, welcoming guests, taking their coats, gifts, food etc. and placing things where they belong.

Goodbye, So Long: During a family gathering people leave at varying times after dinner, and there is always a bit of hustle and bustle finding coats, dishes, rounding up kids etc. Assign the teens the job of organizing how this is done. Let them be creative. Ask if they want to assemble small bags with cookies, candy or other treats for each family so they can take it with them. Depending on how involved you want to be, you can even ask them to create the treat bags ahead of time for the adults and the kids of different ages.

Use the energy your teenagers have bottled up for their music or video games and channel it towards making the holiday season more fun and festive for the entire family. Remember to allow their creativity to shine through even if they do things differently then you would. It will a happy adventure for everyone that will result in memories to treasure for a lifetime.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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