10 Reasons Why I Love Christmas With My Tween and Teens

My boys were firm believers in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc. up until this past year.  I was warned by everyone that the holidays just would not be the same once the kids no longer believed.  They were right; the holidays do feel different this year.  But I'm surprised to find I really LIKE it!



It has been wonderful having big kids that I don't have to sneak around and hide things from.  Kids that can help me and make the season more enjoyable and relaxed. I am so relieved to know that the holidays aren't ruined now because I don't have young believers; they're just different and that's OK. 

Here are 10 reasons why I am loving this age and stage:

1.  No more sneaking around!  The past few years in particular when my boys were getting old enough to stay up later than I was and asking really complicated questions about Santa (that I didn't want to answer) I felt guilty and a bit like I was starting to lie to them outright just to keep the shenanigans going. Now I don't have to and it leaves me feeling relieved.

2.  No more Elf on the Shelf!!  I loved our elf on the shelf so much those first few years; when the boys were little they delighted in all the antics our elf got into but it got harder and harder to think of fun things to do to surprise them and last year I had to try and move him before I went to bed but I still had kids awake in the house.  That was tough.  We kept that tradition alive for 10 years and I'm good with that.



3.  No more crazy wish lists!  My kids were notorious for asking for outlandish things on their wish list and I don't just mean expensive gifts like "my own Xbox for my room" either but completely made up things like "a real working creature power suit like the Wild Kratts have" kind of thing because Santa could make anything!  Which meant they were inevitably a little bit disappointed each year.  This year I found their lists were so short and easy that I think they'll be super surprised at some of things I managed to find.

4.  They are so helpful. Now my boys always tried to help out at Christmas time but what they were doing wasn't always really helping.  But this year they are; Alec has taken over the holiday baking and I know he can not only make the food but clean up after himself too. The boys all decorated the tree by themselves; I added the ribbons to our tree and that's about it; I just wasn't feeling well enough and I was so glad I didn't have to fake it.  It's unclear whether I will be able to lift/ carry gifts down on Christmas eve to put under the tree and we've already warned the boys they'll probably be helping us.



5.  I don't have to find hiding places for all the gifts.  This year as I've been wrapping the gifts as they come in and we have them all in one giant pile in our bedroom.  I can't tell you how many times we opened gifts on Christmas morning only for me to realize we left one or two tucked away in it's hiding place.  I was so good l at stashing gifts all over so the boys wouldn't see them and then forgetting where I put them and what I bought them.

6. Parties are so much fun. Holiday parties were so much more stressful when the kids were little.  Trying to get everyone dressed, ready and out the door was tough enough but then add in missed naptimes or staying up late and it was inevitable that someone would have a meltdown.  Now parties are great! I really don't have to keep much of an eye on them, they are in charge of keeping track of whatever they bring (or gifts they receive) and I can just relax and enjoy seeing family and friends.



7. The whole holiday season seem so much less stressful and more relaxed.  The boys have helped me come up with ideas for all our other family members and I know I don't have to worry about them blabbing to their grandparents or cousins about what we bought them.  They have outgrown so many of our traditions that we aren't trying to cram nearly as much "stuff" into our month and we can slow down and enjoy the season more. It looked like 4 of Alec's gifts weren't going to arrive on time and he just shrugged and said it wouldn't really matter if a few of his gifts were given to him after Christmas.

8.  No more mall trips to see Santa or fighting the crowds for that one must have toy.  This year I think I did ALL of my holiday shopping online and can honestly say I do not miss fighting the crowds at the stores or trying to schlep the kids to the mall to see Santa.  (Though truth be told we stopped this tradition a few years ago).

This was the ONLY year they were all happy and thrilled to even see the big guy.

9. The excitement level is easier to manage.  My boys are definitely excited that Christmas is coming but they aren't so over the top excited that they can't contain themselves.  For years it felt like starting with thanksgiving my kids were asking me every day when Santa would be coming, they had such a hard time sitting still and listening to anything, and the volume level in the house would get exponentially higher with each day that passed.  It really tried my patience and I had to keep reminding myself they were little and were just excited.  I am finding this year that the excitement is so much easier to deal with since they are just as excited as I am; no more/ no less.

10. Santa isn't stealing the credit and the spotlight.  Haha!  Ok I so needed one more reason to finish up my list of 10 and while it never really bothered me that they thought so highly of Santa and the fabulous surprises he brought I can't lie and say I don't mind that they finally realize how much work, effort, time, (and even money) went into making their Christmases magical for all those years.  Plus I have noticed a subtle shift in their focus this year and feel like each year they learn more and more about the true meaning of the holidays and focus just a bit less on what they'll be getting; which I just love.


I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, of course, and don't regret one single moment of those years but I am so glad to realize that the magic and meaning of Christmas isn't over just because my kids have moved on from believing in Santa.

Much like parenting, there is something new to embrace with each stage/ season of life and I am fully embracing where we are now.  

Comments

  1. Love this list and reasons -you are so right! I have an 11 year old who doesn't believe and a 5 year old who does. My 11 year old has been so helpful in managing some of the chaos while keeping the magic alive for her sister L(

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    1. OH, I bet that is so sweet! I always envisioned my older kids helping to keep the magic alive for their younger brother but they are all close enough in age that they pretty much all stopped believing at once.

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  2. I have tweens and teens too, and I agree! It's so much fun. And they were so helpful with the tree and the baking and all the things! I love it!

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  3. You know mine help out too, I just don’t have them to help as much now that they’re in college. All will be home by Friday, Such a blessing in these are such great tips

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  4. This is the first year my youngest doesn't believe and I am loving it too. I thought it would be awful but it's just a new way of doing things.
    I am loving not having to to sneak around and the kids have taken over moving the Elf. lol x

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    1. OH me too; I offered to put up the elf and let my kids take over but they wanted nothing to do with him at all.

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  5. You're reminding me of all the good here in my own celebration.
    And I'm happy to report that once kids leave home and start their own families, there is still yet another kind of good Christmas celebration. (Although, I'm still sorting out feelings about the branch of our family living in Colorado this year while the rest of us are still in Maine...)

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    1. Good to know; my husband and I were talking about what we think Christmas might be like when they leave home... I was a bit nervous about how that one would feel.

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  6. You are sooo right. I can't count how many times I have forgotten to move our elf and had to early in the am.

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    1. I can't tell you how many times I'd wake in a panic in the middle of the night.. heart racing and sneak downstairs to move him just in case one of the boys was up before me!

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  7. Aw, this is such a cool post! I feel you but my little ones still kind of believe so I have a bit of sneaking I still have to do.

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  8. I have been worried about how I will feel as the kids get bigger, like will everything seem less magical?! I love your outlook and positivity on it all. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. That's what I thought; and that's how most people I know made it sound but I think there really is an upside that many people either don't acknowledge or just don't see.

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  9. I think I'm going to enjoy not having to limit the ornaments on the tree and not having any presents under the tree. My daughter is at the age where she's into EVERYTHING!

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    1. Oh I didn't even think of that! I remember years like that though; there was one year I even thought of putting a gate around our tree.

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  10. So glad it's still magical in new ways!

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  11. I thought I saw my name on Santa's list for a minute there, lol. Yes, there are benefits to someone who can help you lug a tree up two flights, but then again they may keep laughing at you every time it falls which it inevitably will. "Real working creature suit" that is really funny.

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    1. Yep, he always asked for off the wall gifts-- like the year he wanted a stuffed turtle that could lay eggs and after the eggs hatched could make the babies turn back into eggs and put them back inside the mom to watch them lay/hatch over and over again. He insisted since Santa was magical he could make anything! It was cute; even if I knew he was going to be so disappointed.

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  12. Lovely post :) We are having some building work done and everything is chucked into my wardrobes at the minute. So glad we do not have to hide presents anymore too.

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays, hope you can join us tomorrow.

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  13. I love this post! I'm on the other side of literally all of these things. We do elf on the shelf, on Sunday we took our kids to the mall to see Santa, we are battling the tough Santa questions, and we are squirreling our gifts away in the garage. The hard thing for me this year is explaining the toy drives. Why do we need toy drives if we have Santa? Both of my kids are in taekwondo, and one of the lessons they teach is helping others in need. Luckily the question hasn't come up, but as I'm explaining why we do toy drives, I don't know what I'll say if my son asks why Santa wouldn't just bring the kids in need toys. In his heart of hearts, I think he knows that Santa isn't real, and he's been using 'evidence' to prove to us that the whole thing doesn't make sense. I think we'll only have another year or two with the facade before he finally just gives it up.

    Your boys sounds like such awesome humans!

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    1. My boys always asked me why we donated toys too and sponsored families either through the church or our karate studio. I often explained that when kids don't have food or clothes Santa has to focus on those things rather than toys. I always found that question so hard to answer and then when they began seeing photos of what other families exchange on Christmas and wondering why Santa didn't bring them as many or as expensive gifts as some of their friends received; that was hard to explain too.

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  14. Once they get older and the gifts get way more expensive its nice to only have to buy a few things and be done sooner. I'm on round two now with an 8 year old and as much as the oldest was easier to buy for I'm enjoying all the stupid kid stuff again #anythinggoes

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    1. I don't feel like I bought any more or less than I used to but it sure was easier with just a few easy to find items on each list!

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  15. We never did santa and elf on a shelf so a lot of these are how it is right now which I can say is a lot less stressful it seems. We do try to have some fun crafts and activities during the season to bring excitement and make Christmas fun for the little ones. The wild cratts creature suit was a good one!!!
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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    1. We met a family our first year homeschooling who also never did Santa and I remember just looking at her in wonderment and saying "you can do that?!" My husband and I never even thought about it having both been raised with Santa but I did find myself feeling rather envious of her.

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  16. I loved Christmas when my kids were babies, and I love it too now that they are older (12 and 9). Christmas is always a blessing. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party.

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  17. I always had trouble with the whole Santa thing, lol. :) Thanks so much for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays! I can't wait to see what you're up to this week!

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    1. I am awful at keeping secrets in general so this was particularly tough for me to not give away in the 15+ years they believed.

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