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Christmas with Teenagers

Remember when 25 December was all about the school nativity, Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph? If you’re the parent of an older teen those days will be a distant memory but some of these Christmas scenarios may ring bells (and not of the jingle kind).


  1. You look back with fondness at those visits to the department-store grotto. Yes, even the queues, the plastic toys and the dodgy stand-in Santa can bring a tear to the eye.
  2. Tea towels, pillowcases and silver tinsel are safe – nobody has asked you to make a single shepherd or angel costume this year.
  3. Christmas Eve is quite boring now it doesn’t involve waiting until your children fall asleep then starting the late-night construction of bikes, doll’s houses, go-karts and all manner of supposedly “easy assemble” paraphernalia, slightly tipsy on eggnog and the whisky left out for Santa.
  4. Speaking of which, Father Christmas will have to stay dry this year. The glass of whisky you left out for him has been mysteriously drunk before he’s even left the North Pole (probably by one of your offspring).
  5. You have to set a dawn alarm to make sure the Christmas stockings (and/or pillow cases) on the end of their beds have been filled. Once upon a time Santa would visit after they were asleep, these days your children don’t come home on Christmas Eve until 2am.
  6. After 18 years of being woken up ridiculously early, you now resort to playing festive music full blast to get the big day started. If they don’t get up soon they’ll be eating turkey for breakfast!
  7. Their pile of presents look really disappointing because all they really want for Christmas is cash.
  8. No one utters the immortal words, ‘He’s been! He’s been!’
  9. There are no such things as leftovers.
  10. Nobody else is willing to rewatch The Polar Express (because ‘the bell only rings for those who truly believe’). Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkeyjust isn’t the same.
  11. Your days of going to see the local panto are behind you! Suddenly your kids find cheering a man in a frock distinctly uncool.
  12. Getting them to sit down to a family game of Cluedo is impossible as they’re too busy Facetiming their friends or Instgramming their new watch.

For young kids Christmas time is about wonder, magic and presents from a mysterious man in a red hat who keeps reindeers. For young teens, it’s about presents, time-off school and general moping about. Where once your little darlings cried on Santa’s lap and begged you to bring them to the North Pole, now they roll their eyes at the mere mention of him. The Christmas magic may be over for them but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little glitter to their terribly boring lives and have fun over the holidays.

So how do we put the spark back into Christmas for your sulky brood?

Obviously you could book a Christmas break at Taymouth Marina. It’s perfect. Wifi across the entire resort means all those new gadgets will connect straightaway. There’s loads of space for everyone – some of our interconnecting properties even mean your teens have their own lounge (with huge TVs they’ll rave about for weeks) and kitchen (though we suspect the most they’ll cook is some microwave popcorn! Teens love our Hot Box – sauna with a view, swim in the loch, gourmet toastie by the fire pit, repeat, sleep. It reminds them how alive the great outdoors can make you feel, gives them something to tell their mates back home in front of the telly and definitely encourages earlier nights than they might be used to! With the whole of Highland Perthshire on your doorstep there’s plenty to tempt them away from their various screens and devices. To make it even more tempting we can organise everything from your Christmas tree and decorations to stocking the fridge or even organising a private chef.

Failing that, here are some other ideas to get teens into the festive spirit :

  1. Get decorating! Although they’ll never admit it, teenagers (well everyone really) thoroughly enjoy decorating the house for Christmas. Give them some responsibility that will keep them busy and entertained. Don’t bark orders at them though, keep the task light and airy. Turn on the trashy Christmas music or get them to be the disc jockeys as you decorate.
  2. Donate to food banks. Christmas isn’t all about ipads and new jeans, it’s also about looking after those who are less fortunate than ourselves. A great way to get teens thinking about those less well-off is by donating to food banks.
  3. Donate old clothes! Go through the wardrobes together and get rid of old clothes that don’t fit them anymore. Not only will this kill a few hours but it will also give you both an idea of what to put on the Christmas list.
  4. Get baking! Christmas is the best time to bake all those tasty treats. You’re never too old to enjoy chocolate and your teen will whole-heartedly agree! Clear an afternoon for the both of you to bake lots of delicious treats in the kitchen, whether for yourselves or as gifts for others.
  5. Bad Santa. Get the whole family in on the fun with a quirky twist on the Secret Santa tradition. Set a small budget and give the task of buying the most tacky present that can be bought. On Christmas Day, the person with the tackiest present wins the honour of opening the first present!
  6. Have a party! Although the idea may not be appealing to your teen at firs, once they start inviting friends and setting up decorations and food, they will be delighted with the chance for a party. It is much harder for teenagers to get together over Christmas break so a small, festive party will be a welcome social event for most teenagers.
  7. Movie Marathon. Throw on Die Hard or some other Christmas-esque movie that will appeal to your teen. Make sure there’s plenty of popcorn and sweets and you have the perfect family night in over Christmas. Check out some top picks for Christmas movies here.
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