Holidays with Teens; How to Find the Magic Again

candleMy family celebrates Christmas, and when my kids were little, my husband and I experienced it entirely through their eyes.  The joy they found in the traditions, the food, the music, and the wonder of the season was simply contagious.snowman

Now that my kids are teenagers, the jig is up.  The mystery is gone. They now have their fun with friends. And my “It’s a Wonderful Life” album does not lure them to cuddle with me next to the tree.  

Luckily, we live in Atlanta, where there are plenty of opportunities for families with older kids to recapture the magic and inspiration of yore.  Here are just a few:

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Where to Find Teen Spirit

  • See Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights – The draw of See Rock City, located in Lookout Mountain, GA, partly lies in the fact that it requires your teens to be in the car with you for an extended amount of time. A great chance for conversation.  It’s a walking tour with fun characters (lots of selfies) and they even have a Starbucks!
  • Mountain Country Christmas in Lights – Again, depending on where you live, this attraction lends itself to a good car ride to catch up.  The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee presents a light show, music, food, and many activities.
  • Stone Mountain Skylights Spectacular – Of course, Stone Mountain has so much for young families to enjoy.  But this is a new attraction that might just appeal to the older kids, with lights and special effects set to music.  Maybe even more stimulating than Pokemon Go!
  • Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights – 8 million lights, ya’ll!  And best of all, you can turn this into an overnight trip.
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights – Go for the lights and stay for a fancy dinner at Linton’s, the new restaurant on site.  This popular exhibit against the backdrop of the Atlanta skyline should pique their interest!
  • Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain – If lights aren’t your thing, try Stone Mountain for the adventure.  Bond with your teens in a family tube, as you sail 400 feet down a hill together.  Kids over 16 can even wander away from their parents.
  • The Hip Hop Nutcracker – On November 27, The Fox Theatre is hosting this reworking of the traditional ballet, now set in contemporary New York City with a live DJ on stage. It will surely be on fleek.
  • Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular – I saw a Cirque show in Vegas set to Beatles music and it was transforming.  A holiday version is coming to Phillips Arena on December 20. I can’t recommend the experience enough.
  • Six Flags Holiday in the Park – Holiday rides, s’mores, and a salute to Military Service members.  Barf bag not included.
  • Ice Skating at Atlantic Station – What better way for your teens to buy into family time than the promise of Mom or Dad falling flat on the ice?!  Makes a decent Snapchat story and even better memories.
  • Fernbank Winter Wonderland – This landmark museum celebrates all holidays and traditions from around the world.  Your teens will learn about other faiths and celebrations near and far.
  • Underwater Menorah at the Georgia Aquarium – The Aquarium has many holiday events, including the daily lighting of the menorah  – with plenty of fish!
  • Acoustic Shabbat Cafe – San Francisco Coffee on North Highland will host a free acoustic concert on the evening of December 9.  It’s only an hour, so your teens won’t have to sit still for long, and they might actually enjoy the stories and songs.
  • History Scavenger Hunt – This one is a must-do because involves smartphones!  As a family, download the Historic Jewish Atlanta app and take a tour of important sites near you.


flakeI am sure that there is plenty of fun that I have missed.  Please comment below on your favorite places to celebrate your holiday traditions!


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