Skip to main content

Sonoma Family Life Magazine

15 Reasons Why Teens Make the Holidays Great

By Katy M. Clark

"Ugh, I’m out of food coloring!” I cried, peering into the cupboard. It was the last thing I needed to finish the Christmas cookies.

Sigh. I’d already made enough runs to the store that I was on a first-name basis with Sue, the cashier from checkout lane 6.

That’s when I turned to my 17-year-old son, who was sitting on the couch looking at his phone.

Heeey,” I said. “Could you go get me some food coloring?”

“Sure,” he replied. Then he sprang up, grabbed the car keys, and took off.

It was like I had my own Christmas elf! It’s just one of the reasons why celebrating Christmas with teens rocks. Here are 15 more.

1. A bit of financial independence. You know what my son said when I offered him $5 to pay for the food coloring? “That’s okay, Mom. I have money.” Now that’s a Christmas miracle!

2. Hand-eye coordination. I no longer fear that my kids will break the heirloom ornaments, topple over while helping with the outdoor lights, or drop the china when setting the table for Christmas dinner.

3. Mature palates. Gone are the days of picky eating, like the Christmas dinner when my preschooler ate nothing but rolls and the brown sugar meant for the sweet potatoes. As a teen he’ll eat almost anything. (Okay, he still loathes onions!)

4. Helpful cooks. They can chop the veggies and make the gravy. They can whip up extravagant dishes and desserts, whether because they are taking culinary classes or just want to emulate something they saw on TikTok.

5. Kitchen cleaners. After they’re done cooking, teens don’t need supervision or nagging to clean up after themselves. Well, maybe a little bit of nagging.

6. Cold-weather dressers. I no longer have to wrangle them into winter gear à la Randy’s mom in A Christmas Story. Of course, I hope my teenage son wears a coat, but if he doesn’t, that’s on him, not me.

7. Keepers of tradition. Whether it’s putting out the sock snowman they made in first grade or using Grandma’s recipe to make molasses cookies, teens genuinely appreciate tradition and connection with loved ones.

8. (Big) kids at heart. They want to leave a plate of cookies out for Santa. They pile in the car when it’s time to drive around and admire holiday lights. Their faces still light up with joy when opening gifts.

9. Good company. I love being together with them. This is in stark contrast to the days when they were younger and we’d all be stir-crazy by New Year’s. 

10. Easy to gift. I don’t stress about hiding presents or scramble to obtain that deeply desired yet widely unavailable toy. (Do not ask me about the lengths to which I went to get my kids Zhu Zhu pets one year!) And if by chance they are disappointed by a gift, they are mature enough to handle it. 

11. Better gift-givers. While I treasure the drawings and painted rocks from yesteryear, it touches my heart when my teens give me a book they knew I wanted to read or a scarf they saw me admire.

12. Grown-up movie tastes. Sure, I enjoyed watching classics like Frosty the Snowman when they were little. But not 13 times in a row. 

13. No bedtime. Whether it’s watching our favorite movies together or going to the midnight Christmas Eve service at church, gone are the years when I had to hustle them to bed by a certain hour.

14. Late risers. They no longer rouse the entire household at the crack of dawn to open gifts. 

15. Meaning makers. I love that we have profound talks this time of year. I’m touched when I see them donate jackets to the homeless or put their own money in the red kettles. 

Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog