The holiday season is in full swing, and as we approach Christmas time, it may be easy to get buried in all the things you have to do: buy (and wrap) presents, figure out who is hosting Christmas, grocery shop and cook and bake for your family and friends. While there is so much to love about this season (the cooler weather, loved ones, and of course the food) there are also many instances where the season is not so easy or fun for some people. At Children’s Hope, we know how difficult it can be to enjoy the holidays when you are grieving about being away from those you love most. Our children in residential treatment and foster care are often grieving that they are not with their parents or family on Christmas. Children’s Hope has some tips for supporting our kids as they grieve this holiday season:
- Discuss the holiday season and ask questions. Ask the children if they have traditions that are celebrated at home. Does their family dress up for the Christmas Eve service together? Do they open gifts on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day? Is Christmas a casual or formal occasion?
- Tell them about Christmas customs. Let them know what to expect: Are they going to meet your family? Who is everyone? What do you do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Prepare your family as well and remember confidentiality.
- Allow them to grieve even as the season seems to be “merry and bright.” These children miss the comfort and familiarity of holidays at home and may experience feelings of loss and sadness during the holidays. Be supportive of their feelings and console them the best you can.
Children’s Hope has a dream of a holiday drive for Southwest Airlines gift cards to allow children to fly to visit their families when approved or to fly parents/families out to see them if possible. This is not possible without our sponsors and their support. Thank you for all the ways you support our kids during the holiday season and may God bless you and yours.