Teens and Holiday Traditions
During the Holidays, Family Rules!
Despite their preoccupation with best friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends most of the year, teens think family "rules" during the holidays. In fact, comforting traditions and rituals often become more important as children head through adolescence and toward independence.
Memories of Hanukkah candles and Christmas lights lure teens back to the days of innocence and wonderment -- and family. While it's sometimes necessary to change certain aspects of family traditions as children grow, most teens get a warm sense of belonging from the familiar rituals of their youth. During the rest of the year, they may scorn many things as "babyish" or prefer partying with friends, but according to the teens I spoke to, home with the family is what's important this time of year.
Teens Discuss Holiday Rituals
The teens I spoke with recently consider family traditions and togetherness a must during the holidays:
"We each grab two tags and always make sure to get the names of older kids -- you know teenagers -- everyone seems to grab the little kids' tags first. Then we go shopping, buy them stuff, wrap them, and bring the packages back to the tree. It's a cool feeling to know we're helping someone have a good Christmas, even if we never see these kids."
"Now that I'm in high school and my brothers are in college, we don't do a lot together anymore, but this is fun," Jenny says. "There's something about being the one to pick out the candles and then lighting them and watching them burn that so reminds me of when I was little. And we love to open a small gift each night. One year we just got a big gift at the beginning and it wasn't fun the rest of the nights."
On Christmas Eve, we go to my mom's parents' farm and finish decorating the tree and then help frost cookies. When we wake up in the morning we open all our presents. All my cousins come from around the state and it's so much fun. I can't wait until I have kids and we do that."
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