Christmas with college and adult kids can easily turn into a fiasco if family members are not careful to put other people first. Selflessness is the key to family harmony at all ages—but especially with college and adult kids simply because when someone has a bad attitude or is selfish, parents really have no recourse with grown kids. (It’s not like you’re going to send a twenty-four year old to his room!)
My advice for this is not going to be the most helpful for families with grown kids THIS Christmas. But families with younger children really need to grasp the idea that whatever is happening in your home among siblings now is likely not going to magically go away when they are adults.
This fall we took a family vacation to Florida (all fourteen of us!), so we decided beforehand that due to finances and time to shop (we returned a few days before Thanksgiving), we would give our kids gift cards for Christmas rather than presents (except for our Christmas Eve Plastic Wrap Prize Ball and Grab Bags). As it turns out, my dad was very sick and in the hospital for two weeks, and I was completely tied up between him and working/writing/teaching that I didn’t have a chance to do any Christmas shopping until mid-December, so we were glad we had made that decision early on. (If you’ve read about our plastic wrap prizes and grab bags, you will know that those require some shopping and planning too!)
1. Which Traditions to Continue
A. Find out from children
i. Joshua’s first Christmas married
ii. Kayla flying home
B. Our “always” ones
i. Christmas decorating night
ii. Our own “Christmas Eve”
iii. Our own “Christmas Day”
Donna Reish, of Raising Kids With Character and Character Ink Press, brings you answers to questions about celebrating Christmas with college and adult children. From how to include marrieds and college kids to gift ideas and party games, Donna loves sharing about her family’s traditions and celebrations.
Plastic wrap prizes! Several have asked how we do this activity, so here is a somewhat-clear description! (The pics are a little grainy in our living room that night!)
One thing that I highly recommend as you prepare for Christmas with teens and adults is that you try to make new memories…that you try to do things that are applicable to their ages. Yes, we definitely continue some of the earlier traditions. But we’ve also added new ones that are more age-appropriate. One of those is plastic wrap prizes.
This activity could be in lieu of stockings, Christmas Eve PJs, piñatas, etc. It is a ton of fun for teens and adults. With younger kids, there’s always a danger of some disappointment if they get Chapstick or antacids (lol!), but with teens and adults, it is all just good fun. Lots of laughs. Lots of usable items. And more family unity than you would think, LOL!