This was the first year it felt like my kids might be getting too big for hot chocolate on the Santa train, a ride on the horse drawn carriage to Santa village, or the traditional trek to sit on Santa’s lap. So instead, we set out to mark some new traditions.
I know you are never really too old for any of these time-honoured holiday traditions, but with my kids all approaching their teen years I started thinking seriously about new family fun we could have now that they are older. Turns out, you don’t necessarily need to come up with all new ideas, you just need to add an older twist to some of your favorites.
Crazy Santa Photos
Get creative with this years Santa photo and have fun with your teens. Show up in their pajamas and a big bowl of popcorn, bring BFFs and take photos with friends instead of siblings, include the family pet, or take a photo with Mom and Dad on Santa’s lap and kick the kids off!
Make our Own Gingerbread House
Skip the kit and have the kids make their own gingerbread house out of graham crackers. Prepare royal icing using meringue powder from the bulk food store with less water so it is thick and put into a squeeze bottle. Use as glue to have the kids assemble 4 square graham crackers to make the base and add two more to create a tent style roof. Let icing dry. Mix more royal icing in a variety of colours and put into squeeze bottles, purchase different mini candies to use as decoration, add a few Christmas tunes and you have a teen party and a fun new tradition.
Decorate Crazy Cookies
Years ago I put the royal icing in squeeze bottles and handed the job of decorating shortbread and gingerbread cookies over to the kids. The result was crazy sugar overloaded pink and blue cookies that everyone - besides the Martha Stewart types - think are works of art. Turn those gingerbread men upside down to create Reindeer or look for new lemon cookie or chocolate square recipes the kid can claim as their own.
Dress Up and Run
Check your community events for fun Santa Runs or walks, then deck out the dog, put on the runners, grab some friends, and start a new tradition of a Santa run or walk for fun. Everyone is jolly when you are dressed up as Santa with 2,000 other runners!
Explore your local trails and parks and get outdoors for a wintery walk. Make it a yearly tradition with peppermint hot chocolate and caroling in the woods.
You can’t top babies first Christmas or photos of your toddler crying on Santa’s lap, but you can continue some great family Christmas traditions with kids even when they think they are too old for fun when the jolly old elf comes to town.