Holiday Clothes for Teens

Holiday Clothes for Teens

Shopping for clothing for—or with—your teens can be one of parenthood’s misadventures. Let’s face it: we love our kids no matter how young or old they are, but the terrible twos and threes have nothing on adolescent angst. Teens are struggling with finding and understanding their place in the world around them—navigating friendships, burgeoning romantic relationships, and existential crises—all while dealing with hormonal and physical changes within their bodies that may have them questioning their gender and sexual identity. The result is that teens may feel like everything happening around them is out of their control.

One of the few ways teens can exert their choices is through their dress. This can lead to a fair number of parent-teen battles over what constitutes appropriate clothing, as teens struggle with self-expression while parents walk the line between respecting their child’s autonomy and wanting their child to meet societal norms. If you are a parent who is constantly battling your teen regarding their dress, read on for more about holiday clothes for teens.

Focus on Separates

Sit down with your teen at a time when they’re not feeling overwhelmed with schoolwork or outside activities, and ask them how they feel about holiday clothing. You may think your daughter looks awesome in a holiday dress, but what if she disagrees? Perhaps she loves the idea of instead wearing holiday-themed leggings with a solid top in a coordinating color. She’ll look a lot happier among company if not sulking about her clothes.

If your teen isn’t a fan of wearing candy cane, penguin, or ornament leggings, try a pair of red or hunter green pants with a Christmas sweater or blue pants with a Hanukkah or winter-themed sweater. You can even have a “make your own holiday top” activity for the whole family. Just collect assorted trimmings, buttons, fabric glue, puff paints, and fabrics—then allow everyone to let their imagination and creativity run wild.

In general, holiday separates are a great option for teens. For one thing, many teens are self-conscious about their bodies at this stage of their physical development. Allowing your teen to wear clothing they feel comfortable in, even if that means oversized tops or baggy bottoms, may make them more willing to compromise when it comes to wearing holiday-themed outfits. Try doing an end-run around your teen by giving them a holiday plaid flannel shirt that’s a couple of sizes too big. Also, remember that if you think something is a good idea, your teen will probably hate it. So even though you and the rest of your family can’t wait to take a photo of everyone in their ugly sweaters, let your teen wear their choice of tops and rejoice that your offspring is in the photo at all.

Consider Accessories

If your teen is going through an “only wear black” stage (and pretty much every teen goes through one at some point in their adolescence) and is not inclined to make an exception during the holiday season, see if they’ll consider wearing holiday-themed accessories as a compromise. These days, lots of options exist beyond the traditional Santa and elf hats. For example, a wide array of seasonal jewelry is available this time of year. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, you can find necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pins, and even watch bands. If you catch your teen in a silly mood, you might be able to convince them that a light-up bow candy cane-striped bow tie, snow person necklace, or snowflake headband perfectly complement the black pants, jeans, tees, turtlenecks, and long tunic shirts that comprise your teen’s wardrobe.

A holiday vest is another good accessory option, especially if your teen is willing to be flexible: worn when you first arrive at the relatives’ (or they to you) or for group photos and off for the rest of the time. You might also find that although your teen doesn’t want to wear holiday clothes that are visible, they are not averse to holiday socks. If that’s the case, start a sock collection for your teen. It might take a few years to find enough socks to cover all of the advent or the entire month of December—but you might find that building a sock collection becomes an inside joke with your teen, not to mention a treasured memory. (Of course, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you’ll only need eight pairs of socks, which is a lot easier!)

There’s Always Pajamas

The idea of having everyone wear matching family Christmas pajamas has gained in popularity in recent years. Even if they wouldn’t be caught dead out of the house in holiday clothes, your teen still may be willing to wear these fun PJ sets at home. In fact, family pajamas have become so popular that you can also find sets for people who observe Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or who simply want coordinated winter-themed pajamas.

By giving your teen reasonable options, you will avoid the “you’re not going out dressed like that!” clothing battle. Instead, you will remove a source of potential stress and enable your family to enjoy spending time with one another during the holiday season.


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