Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Everything You Need to Watch in Order to Converse With a Teen Over the Holidays

Photo: Brandy Melville
Photo: Brandy Melville

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Nothing makes you feel quite as old as when the tiniest nugget of your family has more Instagram followers than you. Like six times more. So during the holidays, at least attempt to bridge the age gap between yourself and your cousin/niece/nephew/illegitimate step-sibling—if only so that when they use their social media powers to become our overlords, they'll show you mercy.

But because you're still trying to figure out if Austin Mahone is Justin Bieber, or someone else entirely, here's a handy guide of videos to prepare you for the teen feels (of which there are many).

1. Reign, a CW favorite

Did you have plans for the holidays? Cancel them, because you'll be doing marathons of the Netflix nightly. Remember how much you loved Dawson's Creek and Felicity? You'll feel young again when you're reminded of all of the feels that came with being an impressionable adolescent.

That's where the CW comes in. Turn off Game of Thrones, and put aside some time for Reign, featuring twenty-somethings masquerading as Mary Queen of Scots and company (Side note: All of her ladies are named Mary, like a historical Heathers). The characters are all outfitted in more Anthropologie than your "alternative" friend, which is confusing, but the teens aren't concerned that the clothes make no sense.

2. The Vampire Diaries, another CW favorite

If you're not feeling a cast that would be more at home at Coachella than French court, try your hand at The Vampire Diaries. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only with terrible acting, 100% more feelings, and so many denim skirts you wonder if the lead character is secretly a mannequin from Abercrombie's heyday. Remember Ian Somerhalder, of Lost fame? Now, he's more lost than ever, as he dedicates his time to acting with his eyebrows alongside a co-star from Degrassi. It's not Drake.

3. Selena Gomez Cries Real Tears for the Biebs

That one Disney star who isn't Demi Lovato or Hannah Montana suffered some serious heartbreak at the hands of Justin Bieber. She's basically you, your freshman year in college—awkwardly crying at parties to anyone who'll listen about the major heartbreak she experienced, courtesy of a boy everyone knew was bad news. Subtly reference her American Music Awards performance where she cried real tears, and you'll be a messiah to wayward youths everywhere.

4. Taylor Swift's Kitten, Olivia Benson

My cats wish they had thumbs so bad. I see them staring at mine like all jealous.

A video posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Youths these days love Taylor Swift because, to them, she's New York edgy. You might even love her too. "Blank Space" is catchy as hell. But get to know Olivia Benson, the cutest of the singer's cats. She's best captured on Taylor's Instagram videos, so this is an easy one.

Once you have Olivia down and you want to go deeper into Swift conversation topics, make sure you can discuss the following in detail: Her friendship with Karlie Kloss (extra points if you casually name drop Karlie's entrepreneur boyfriend, Joshua Kushner), her possible relationship with one of the members of 5 Seconds of Summer (deduct points if you had to look them up to confirm that they're not One Direction), her other possible relationship with The 1975 frontman, and her complete departure from her signature crunchy curls and country twang.

5. YouTube Sensation/Resident Weirdo PewDiePie

Much like your own high school boyfriend, he's a generically handsome internet man who yells about video games. If you have a cousin of the male persuasion, ask him if he's a fan, and mention his high-pitched voice and hype man vibe. You're in now. You're basically one of them.

6. Get to Know Harry Styles and his Singing Man Bun

Even a teen appreciates the beauty of a good man bun, and the proof is in the One Directioner Harry Styles. If you bring your boyfriend to Christmas dinner and gift him with an scrunchie in front of the whole family (they are making a comeback), you'll be so hip that you might be asked to leave.

7. The YouTuber of Your Choosing

Youths love a good YouTube celebrity, like Bethany Mota, for example, whose face was unavoidable if you had the misfortune of riding public transportation in certain cities this summer. Nothing's more enjoyable than being plastered against sweaty riders in 100+ degree heat, while staring at teens who have one million followers on YouTube. Meanwhile, you're still deciding if you should ever show anyone alive the haul videos you secretly made.

8. At Least One Vine Sensation

Jumping into Vine is taking a deep dive you're probably not be prepared to take, so at least be able to name check Nash Grier, who was the most followed Vine account this year. He's also on Twitter, Youtube, Snapface, Facekik, and whatever that other platform they invented this week is.

9. Teen Wolf Abs

Did you love the drama of True Blood, until it became so bonkers that even the actors themselves couldn't keep a straight face? If so, you might be able to relate to your teen's love of Teen Wolf, the remake of the Michael J. Fox film of the '80s. Although it's years later, the special effects are pretty much the same. This one stars abs, more abs, and some eyes. Much like vampire classic and CW show The Originals, it deals with glory and gore—they go hand in hand, according to Lorde, another youth that's more successful than you'll ever be.

10. Eyebrows "On Fleek"

If your eyebrows are not "on fleek" this holiday season, teens will know you're just a pretender. It's the biggest tell. Here is what that means. Study up.

11. EDM

Tiësto (above), David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Avicii, Skrillex, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike each play a big part in electronic dance music, teen's musak of choice. Get ready to dance, dance, dance, which in the end, can be a lot easier than chatting with him or her.

Once you've secured cool older person status, keep the mirage alive by telling your teen that their selfie game is 100, dropping your squad into casual conversation, and mentioning your top is from Brandy Melville. You'll have them feeling some type of way.