Ep. 36: Christmas Traditions

Ep. 36: Christmas Traditions

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Summary:
What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Especially during the holidays, family traditions come to the forefront and every family is different. In episode 36, Chris and Karlie talk common Christmas traditions like matching pjs, movies to watch, and funny fails. Listen for fun ways to celebrate the holidays and get new ideas on how to make the most of your time together.

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

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2021 Christmas Gift Guide

2021 Christmas Gift Guide

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Summary:
Still looking for the perfect gift for your teenager? We’ve got it covered with some great picks that even the hardest to shop for teen is sure to love. Listen along as Karlie and Chris talk through gift ideas by personality type and trend. This is a special Christmas episode you won’t want to miss!

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

What Teens Want for Christmas in 2021

What Teens Want for Christmas in 2021

Buying gifts for teens can seem impossible, especially since they probably aren’t writing letters to Santa anymore. We’re here to help you build stronger connections with the teens in your life, so we’ve put together a list of gift ideas that are cool enough to impress without breaking your budget.

Make sure to scroll all the way to the trending gifts where you’ll find links too! We don’t receive any kind of compensation from your purchase.

Gift Ideas by Personality:

 

The Perfectionist
  • A laptop/tablet or fancy planner
  • Jewelry organizer or grooming kit
  • Self-Improvement lessons – voice lessons, golf lessons, photography webinar etc.
  • Organize their room/closet/car or create a space for them to stay organized at home.
 

The Encourager

  • Candles, decor, a backpack purse
  • A splurge item that they would like but wouldn’t ever buy themselves
  • A spa gift card so they can take care of themselves
  • A family cookbook or recipe box
 

The High Achiever

  • Clothes (think something nice that will help them stand out – a jacket, fancy shoes, etc.); Birchbox Subscription
  • A nice wallet or custom jewelry
  • A shopping spree
  • A day helping them accomplish a goal – training for a 5K, washing/cleaning out their car, etc.
 

the individualist

  • Unique graphic tee or tote bag with a fun saying
  • Record player and a few of their favorite albums or a Spotify subscription
  • Tickets to a concert or an art museum
  • A book of letters and memories from loved ones
 

The Researcher

  • Kindle or audiobook subscription
  • AirPods or a video game console
  • Movie tickets or a planned trip to tour something they are interested in (national parks, Hall of Fame, Presidential Library)
  • Spend a day learning about something they love. Let them educate you for once!

 

The Loyalist

  • Weighted or super cozy blanket
  • Clothing that supports their favorite team or interest
  • Take them to a new restaurant or coffee shop that they would love but might never pick themselves.
  • Write them a letter that mentions all the ways you see and appreciate them.
 

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera
  • Weekender bag or fun luggage
  • A fun weekend away! Try an Airbnb gift card to give them a budget.
  • Surprise them with some quality time! Let them skip a day of school and just be together.
 

  • Nice watch or Fitness tracker
  • Something that they have mentioned that would be helpful or a gift card to their favorite store
  • Tickets to a concert or show that they would enjoy
  • Quality time – plan a day just for them. Be intentional about telling them how much you respect and appreciate them.

 

The Peacemaker

 

  • A coffee maker and a travel mug, a t-shirt quilt of their favorite old shirts
  • Something that supports their favorite habit (guitar, tools, nail polish, etc.)
  • A new book and gift card to their favorite coffee shop so they can go spend the day by themselves
  • Is there a project they have put off? Dedicate a weekend and help them finish anything they started but didn’t get around to completing.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Marketing & Development Director

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

I have been listening to Christmas music. It’s one of my favorite things about this season. Many of my favorite songs sing about peace. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, Do You Hear What I Hear, The Little Drummer Boy, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. The words Peace on Earth ring throughout these songs. And yet, when I look around Christmas doesn’t look peaceful to me. It looks more like Black Friday shoppers fighting over a cheap TV.

Black Friday Chaos
It looks like managing a full calendar of events similar to this.
Full Calendar
It looks like spending hours picking the perfect gifts and managing expectations of what Christmas should look like.
Perfect christmas
Versus what it actually does look like.

It also means spending time with family – for better or for worse depending on the situation.

As we approach these last few days before Christmas, here are a few ideas on ways to add peace to your Christmas.

  • Set apart some personal time. Instead of always being with extended family and friends, set aside an afternoon or evening or a weekend to have a low key no pressure schedule.
  • Set appropriate boundaries. I know this is easier said than done. But say no, when you need to say no. Be purposeful in what conversations you engage in over the Christmas dinner table.
  • Set realistic expectations. For yourself. For your kids. For your family. Check out this post if you need some ideas!
  • Breathe! No matter what. Be sure to keep taking deep breaths!

From all of us at Teen Life, we wish you a peace-filled, joyful, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Beth Nichols

Beth Nichols

Program Director

With her background in social work and experience as a mom of 4, Beth’s perspective is invaluable. She has had the opportunity in both her personal and professional life to encounter youth from a variety of situations.
All I Want For Christmas Is…Groups!

All I Want For Christmas Is…Groups!

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to lead a Support Group each week. This year, I spent my Wednesday mornings with 6 high school students who laughed, questioned, shared, and began to trust each other by the end of our time together.

It was awesome.

But the best part came during our last meeting when the students had a chance to share encouragement with each other through symbols. Each group member passed their sheets around and added symbols to describe each person. Some of these symbols included things like: strong, easy to talk to, brave, calm, keep a secret, safe with, smart, and spend the day with. It was so encouraging to get your own sheet back and see what the group thought of you.

While I had fun looking at my own sheet, I loved hearing what symbols excited my teen friends. One boy was so excited because several people said they would like to “spend the day with” him. To give some context to this teenage boy, he consistently kept the group on our toes. He was routinely 10 minutes late to group, told the most outrageous stories, and always managed to sprinkle several curse words over the time we spent together.

Overall, he was a mess. But on this day, with these symbols, he was floored.

He smiled a huge smile and declared that he didn’t want group to end so we could continue hanging out each week.

As a group leader, this was a huge win! I was able to watch a student who had little confidence but always turned group into a joke come alive. After hearing what the other groups members had to say were our strengths, we then talked about our own inner strengths and how we can use them to help others. This same boy who rarely had a serious moment shared that he felt his strength was “persistence.” He talked about the ways he had overcome hard times but was still here and moving forward.

That is what we want to help all teenagers see as they go through Teen Life Support Groups. They have strengths. They have the ability to move forward, even when life is hard and unfair. They have people who are in their corner – peers and adults who are cheering them on.

Can you imagine going through High School with little confidence, support, or hope? How hard are those teenage years even in the best circumstances?

But we can help. We can give support, encouragement, hope, and a place to be safe and heard. We can give teenagers the gift of Support Groups! I am passionate about groups because I see the impact they have each week. And there is still time for you to join Teen Life and equip teenagers this holiday season!

You can equip, encourage, and empower students by giving to Teen Life!

May more students receive hope and support in 2019. May every school who needs Support Groups have access in the near future. May we all look for ways to help schools and students this season and the coming year!

If you want to be a part of a student’s story, you can give and sponsor a Support Group or teenager here.

Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is our Marketing & Development Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.