Tuesday 21 November 2023

Keeping the Christmas Magic Alive for Teenagers

Christmas as a child is the most magical experience and when you become an adult it can be easy to feel like a little of that Christmas "magic" is gone. But having kids and getting to be the one who delivers all that Christmas magic, for me, made it even more magical and special than ever before. That said, I am not quite sure I was ever going to be ready for my eldest to tell me he no longer "believed" and that he knew Father Christmas wasn't real! 

(Back when they were both so little and the magic of Father Christmas was very real for them both!)

While I kind of knew for a while that he probably didn't believe (the questions, and the looks had all been there), actually hearing him say it hit me like someone had winded all of the magic out of me. I wondered how Christmas would ever really feel magic again without the kids getting excited for Father Christmas to arrive. Luckily I have my youngest who definitely still believes (she's currently in full Christmas list writing mode as we speak!) so I can still make it magic for her, but I was left wondering how I could make it feel just as special for my teen who now knew the real secret behind Father Christmas! 

So if like me you are facing a Christmas with a child who no longer believes, keep reading to find out how we are keeping the magic alive in our home and still keeping some Christmas magic in the heart of a non-believing teen... 

Keeping the Magic Alive 

If your older children don't believe, that doesn't mean they don't play a vital role in keeping the magic alive for younger siblings, family members, or friends. This means keeping the "secret" to themselves and playing along with the story for younger siblings. But this doesn't have to all be about "keeping secrets", make it fun, let them in on the secrets, and let them become a part of the magic. That could be helping you pick presents, helping siblings write their Christmas lists or if you have a certain cheeky elf that visits, perhaps your teen could now be in charge of creating the elf cheeky antics each night (I am sure they will have plenty of ideas up their sleeves!). 

Christmas magic isn't all about Father Christmas, the magic is what you make it. Even as an adult when I walk around a Christmas market or drive past a house full of Christmas lights it makes my heart feel a little warmer. Just because they know about Father Christmas doesn't mean all the other bits that make Christmas magic have disappeared, we just have to look a little harder for them. 

Don't Exclude them from Festivities

Just because your child no longer believes doesn't mean they won't want to take part in all the festivities and traditions they have grown up knowing and loving. Encourage them to still write a list, even if they want to leave it on your pillow rather than posting it to "Father Christmas". If they have younger siblings they may still want to participate in things like leaving things out on Christmas Eve, hanging their Christmas stockings or searching the sky for a sleigh, even as an adult I love doing these things with my kids and will continue to do so, it is all part of the magic and build-up of Christmas. 

Think of it like reading a book, if you get into a good book you can almost be transported in your mind to that place, even though you know it's just a book. Taking part in traditions and festivities almost creates that magic even if a child knows it's not real. 

Let them Embrace Giving 

One of the best bits about Christmas for me as an adult has always been the giving. I love the build-up and going out shopping to find the perfect gift for all of my friends and family and then getting to see their reactions when I give it to them. It's the same with the kids, even if before Father Christmas was getting the credit, just seeing the excitement on their faces of opening something they had asked for made me feel so happy inside. 

Now your older children get to embrace and enjoy the gift of giving too, they almost get to become "the" Father Christmas for the family. Helping you to pick the perfect presents for family and friends and then seeing their reactions when they receive it. You could even give them a little bit of their own money, or a budget and let them go and pick their very own presents for close family, perhaps a gift each for mum and dad or nan and grandad. Or if they really want to play Father Christmas with you, why not let them pick a gift for their siblings, wrap it up, and leave it in the pile from Father Christmas! 

Create New Traditions as well as Enjoying Old Ones

If your child has outgrown some of the traditions you used to have like a visit to Father Christmas for example why not create some more "grown up" traditions that still feel festive in the lead-up to the big day. Perhaps a festive afternoon tea, a look around a Christmas market with hot chocolates to finish or course, or a trip to the theatre to see a panto. Or if you want to try more traditions at home, how about some festive baking or a Christmas movie marathon now they are old enough to sit through the films. 

The possibilities are endless and it really will depend on the things you love doing as a family, but remember you can make anything a tradition if you want to. 

While I still feel sad that one of my children no longer believes, I know that Christmas magic isn't about a man who comes down a chimney or the surprise of presents in the morning, it's about the magic in our heart and that is something we can never truly lose if we learn to embrace it. 


1 comment:

  1. My girls are 21 and 16 now and over the years I have found the magic disappearing but we have found new traditions and things to do to get in the festive spirit. My girls still love writing Christmas lists, going to the lights switch on and carols around the tree in town on Christmas eve. They are learning to love the joy of gift giving although they would rather not spend their own money. lol x