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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

Fives ways to make the Christmas holidays count

It's always great for teens to kick back and enjoy the school holidays - with more time for doing things they enjoy and getting some extra rest. That said, whether they’re in GCSE or sixth form years, they should keep an eye on doing things this December that not only gets them into the Christmas spirit, but also gives them something standout to talk about in interviews and applications for jobs or further study later on. Read on for five easy suggestions.

1. Create a 'holiday vibe'

Holidays should feel different, and with decorations and lights galore, that’s fairly easy to achieve over Christmas. Get them involved in creating the holiday vibe at home by helping put up the decorations, choosing or decorating the tree, making each part of the home feel special, including their own room and even any outside space.

If they’re creative, perhaps they could make some of their own unique decorations. It’s can be a great activity for siblings and the whole family to enjoy together.

2. Start a business:

If your teen has the enthusiasm and ability, the Christmas holidays can be the perfect opportunity for them to start a new business venture. This needn't be costly and if things go really well, they may even have the beginnings of a career working for themselves. If your teen needs some inspiration, ideas might include:

  • Creating and selling wreaths

  • Making jewellery

  • Selling Christmas Hampers

  • Designing Christmas cards

  • Online tutoring

  • Setting up a fashion store

  • Offering dog walking services

  • Creating personalized gifts or

  • Becoming a social media influencer!

Starting a business can help develop key transferrable skills – find out why here.

3. Be creative in the kitchen:

From minced pies to gingerbread men, there are plenty of reasons to spend time with your teen in the kitchen this Christmas. If your teen is already an experienced cook, you could allow them to prepare a festive meal, such as Christmas breakfast or Boxing Day lunch. If this seems too adventurous, how about getting them to decorate Christmas cookies or prepare something special, such as Christmas pudding or family treats?

4. Get some virtual work experience or enter a competition:

Lots of businesses now offer online work experience, so your teen could benefit from doing some virtual work experience this holiday. Virtual work experience gives them the opportunity to gain experience in the workplace, develop their skills, boost their employability and explore new industries and job roles. If that seems to onerous, they could go online to find a competition to enter. If they win or are acknowledged as a good entry, it can be a great confidence booster. However, win or no win, entering a competition demonstrates initiative, intellectual curiosity, drive, research skills, preparation and organisation - all great qualities in the eyes of future interviewers.

5. Volunteer Together:

Teach your teen the spirit of giving this festive season by encouraging them to show kindness to strangers. This might include them volunteering at a shelter, writing Christmas cards to local care homes or donating old clothes, gifts and games to those in need. Helping charitable causes is one of the top ways to increase happiness.

Remember, you can always teach your teens about the importance of giving, but you cannot force them to enjoy or adopt it. Try to do these things together and lead by example.

Let us know if any of these ideas suit your teen and, if they try them, how they get on. If you’d like more ideas on how your teen can stand out from others in job and further education applications, it’s all in our specialist guide: The Parent’s Guide to Standing out from the crowd – suitable from Year 10 to Year 13. It exlains how hobbies and interests develop soft/transferrable skills.


We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius -


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