“Five Holiday Bonding Experiences to try With Your Teen”

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Family Christmas TreeWith the holiday break quickly approaching, your teen may be tempted to hang out in his or her room, especially if Santa brings the latest tech toy.

Instead, entice your teen to bond with you. Take up a hobby, share an activity or try something new as you build a relationship with your teen this Christmas.

Volunteer Together

Since his birth, Max Ervanian joined his parents in serving annual Christmas meals to the homeless in Florida. The city of St. Augustine reports that 15-year-old Max ran the entire charitable feast in 2010, and continues to help today. Your teen may share this spirit of service, and you can cultivate it at Christmastime. Contact a local shelter and serve a meal, play Christmas games with nursing home residents, or collect winter coats for children in need. For more ideas, contact the Salvation Army or United Way. If your teen has a unique service idea, help him or her put it into practice as you bond while volunteering together.

Compile a Seasonal Photo Collage

What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? Challenge your teen to join you in writing a seasonal list, and then take pictures of those things. Hanging icicles, decorated homes and fresh cookies make beautiful photos. Compile those seasonal pictures into a collage for your front door, order photo holiday cards by Minted or frame your artwork to give as gifts. To add special bonding time, take a photography class, assemble frames or learn how to develop your own pictures together.

Participate in a Winter Sport

From snowboarding to ice skating, winter sports provide exercise and fun. There’s no better time than this year for you and your teen to dust off your winter parkas and hit the slopes. For maximum fun, take lessons together before trying out your new moves. If you would rather ski, use welove2ski.com to find a nearby ski resort. Whichever winter sport you choose, buy affordable equipment at your local thrift stores and the used section at the sporting goods store.

Put on a Play

Theatrical interest may be something your teen developed as a young child playing dress-up, or he may have decided as a teen to try out for the school play. Nurture that talent when you put on a holiday play with your teen. Provide guidance as he writes the play, recruits performers and buys costumes. Then, work together to build a stage and make props in the garage or a rented workspace. The Press of Atlantic City reports that 16-year-old James Alexander started his own theater company, and you and your teen can use his example as you perform at the annual family meal, local nursing home or office Christmas party.

Bake Traditional Dishes

Your teen knows how to eat, so harness his or her hunger with an invitation to the kitchen. Look through your recipe collection and choose a traditional dish like Grandma’s apple strudel or Uncle Ernie’s pierogies to cook. Alternatively, search online recipe sites to find new dishes or create a unique concoction using favorite ingredients. Whether your teen is a pro in the kitchen or uncertain about where to start, work as a team on everything from grocery shopping to cleanup. The experience ensures you share a bonding experience over food.

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