The holidays can be a challenging time for families with teenagers. Teens are often caught up in their own social lives, and they may not be as interested in spending time with their families as they were when they were younger.
However, we still want to make magical moments with our kids, eye rolls and all!
A great way to do this is to create an Advent calendar with 12 days of activities. We’ve created our own list of twelve advent activities for teens. With any luck, your kids will love this opportunity for a little holiday magic.
Day 1: Bake Christmas Cookies
This is a classic holiday activity that everyone can enjoy. We recommended these sugar cookies that you can decorate. Or for something that won’t put your artistic skills to the test, try these white chocolate peppermint cookies.
Really, every cookie on Karli’s website would be a great choice – I’ve made a ton of her recipes and have never been steered wrong!
Day 2: Make a holiday playlist
Odds are your teen would roll their eyes at the idea of going caroling. Quite frankly, I would rather be caught dead than singing in public.
However, odds are your kid has racked up quite a few hours on Spotify. Start with “Christmas Tree Farm” by Taylor Swift and see what list you can build together.
Day 3: Play a family game
Nothing says holiday togetherness like bringout out everyone’s competitive side. Check out our list of fun family games to play together.
Day 4: Plan a family meal
This one is sneaky. Tired of hearing “chicken, again?” Have them take some ownership over the dinner process!
Sit down with a cookbook, or fire up Pinterest. Have your teen choose a meal they think the whole family will love. Then keep them involved in the shopping and the prep.
It’s a chore and a lesson all wrapped up in some good old fashioned quality time.
Day 5: Make homemade ornaments.
It’s a sad day when you leave behind salt dough handprint ornaments. Never fear, you can still have crafty fun with your older kids.
You can either go fully DIY with something like these twine wrapped cookie cutters (that also make great gift toppers!)
OR, opt for a craft kit with everything you need included like these cute punch needle ornament kits from Target.
Day 6: Watch a Christmas Movie
There is absolutely no shortage of options here. For recently releases, we enjoyed both Scrooged and The Christmas Chronicles.
But of course you can’t forget about the classics like Home Alone, Elf and A Christmas Vacation. We have a list of our favorite holiday movies for a full rundown!
And finally, since we host a Hallmark podcast, you can check out all of our Countdown to Christmas movie reviews from this year and years past!
Day 7: Take Christmas Photos
Photos with a mall Santa might not be on the agenda anymore, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to capture memories of these years!
Set up your phone on a tripod and take family photos in front of your tree. No need for coordinated outfits – pajamas will do just fine!
Day 8: Make Reindeer Food
An absolutely essential part of the holiday season if you ask us!
Reindeer food is our favorite holiday recipe. It’s a sweet and salty Chex mix that we look forward to, as do all of our neighbors who receive the sweet treat!
You can choose to package it up and deliver to friends, or save it for yourself for snacking at home!
Day 9: Go on a Christmas Light Drive
Find out which neighborhoods are really bringing it with their holiday decorations this year. Make some hot chocolate at home to bring along or swing through the Starbucks drive through.
As a bonus, it’s totally fine and even encouraged for everyone to wear their pajamas on this drive.
Day 10: Make a Gingerbread House
This activity is fully customizable based on the craftiness of your family members. You can go full DIY and bake your own gingerbread.
Or, you can do what our family does and let the fine people at Target do the prep for you. Personally I love this pre-built option!
Day 11: Make Hot Chocolate
Once again, I take help from the grocery store and buy a pre-made hot chocolate mix. But if you’re feel fancy, you could opt to try to make your own from scratch.
Be sure to have lots of toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, candy canes and sprinkles on hand to make your drinks as festive as possible!
Day 12: Do a Christmas Craft
Hit up Pinterest for craft inspiration or pick up a kit to take some of the pressure off!
Free Printable Download
We have created a free printable Advent calendar that you can use to plan your activities.
More Holiday Fun For the Family!
- Bake together with this list of easy holiday cookies
- Plan a movie night with one of our favorite holiday movies
- Have a special breakfast with these hot chocolate pancakes
- Love hot chocolate? Throw a neighborhood hot cocoa party!
- Print our Christmas Word Search!
Keep it fun!
Here are a few additional tips for making the most of your Advent calendar:
- Get your teens involved in planning the activities. This will help them feel more invested in the process and make them more likely to participate.
- Be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to adjust your activities if necessary.
- Make it fun! The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the time you spend together as a family.
We’re Your New Best Friends
Hi, we’re Megan and Wendy! Join us every Wednesday for “Approved with Megan and Wendy” – the podcast where we ask each other every week what we’re currently using and loving. Don’t waste any more time or money on products that don’t live up to their promises.
You can also find us on “Girls Gone Hallmark” on Tuesdays and Thursdays where we review new and fan-favorite Hallmark movies and ask the question: Did you see that?
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