If you looked at my calendar in the month of July, you would see the words, “Start Christmas Shopping”. It’s the same year after year, and you know what? I NEVER do it! I tell myself, “Christmas is five months away…I have plenty of time to get started!” Then, before I know it, October rolls around and the Christmas aisles start showing up in the stores. It’s like Thanksgiving barely exists in the retail world. You would think with all the holiday reminders I would get going maybe in October or early November? WRONG! I procrastinate until one month before the 25th of December every year.
First, we get all the boxes of decorations out of the attic (I have probably a dozen large plastic containers). We deck the halls, then, besides buying and wrapping all the gifts, I plan a candy making operation that spans seven days, package up five or six boxes that need to be mailed, and oh, I squeeze in some holiday cards too. This is just what I do and I’m not complaining, but rather just observing how much I cram on to my own plate in such a short period of time.
Because we are Resource Parents, and because of the short-term nature of the specialty program we serve in, we have different kids living with us every year during the holidays. Most of the kids whom come into our lives, have not had a lot of happy, bountiful holiday experiences. It’s such a hard time for them. If they have family to be with, it can be wonderful but also hard because at the end of the visit, they have to come back to their foster home. If they have no family to be with, it is bittersweet too. I don’t know of many foster kids who would rather be in a foster home for the holidays than with their biological family—no matter what their circumstances.
So, every holiday season we make it a point to introduce our traditions and incorporate some of our foster youths’ traditions at the same time. I want to WOW the kids and go all out with decorations—I make them personalized stockings, we make candy together, and more. We give gifts with the WOW factor too—it’s as if every Christmas has to be the BEST Christmas ever. It is never an option to say, “Let’s just skip the tree this year” or “Let’s not put up the lighted village.” We put a lot of love, time and effort into trying to make the holidays fun, exciting or even just bearable for the kids in our care.
So by Jan 1st, we’re exhausted. You should see us jump for joy at the sound of the big yellow school bus rolling up to take our kids back to school after two weeks off! January is usually the time that people make resolutions for the coming year, such as getting more exercise, eating healthier foods, cleaning out closets, etc. For Resource Parents, January is a time of rest and renewal. A time to actually find the time to recharge our batteries. I applaud all of you for making your ambitious list of resolutions, but for me, in 2016 I resolve to:
- Take a nap
- Read a book of fiction or two
- Get a massage
- Plan some get trips with my husband
- Take another nap or two
- Oh, and actually start Christmas shopping in July…. right?