Christmas morning always found my siblings, parents, and I cuddled up in front of the wood-burning stove in our kitchen. My mom would bake Christmas cookies for breakfast, a sort of oatmeal-based treat that was really more cookie than breakfast. We’d open stockings and enjoy the warmth of the fire. We’d enjoy those few moments of quiet before heading out to see our larger family and play hours of BINGO.
You may not have played BINGO as much as my family did, but I would bet that most of you shared a tradition that we all dreaded as kids…having to give a hug or kiss to family members we hadn’t seen all year. So much of our culture is built around physical affection: kisses to grandma, thank you hugs to Uncle Kipling, goodnight snuggles with cousins. Those things can be wonderful or can be terrifying for children. Make sure your children understand that they can say “NO” to unwanted touches, hugs or kisses. They can give Auntie Mary a wave or high five instead of a hug. They can say “no thank you” if Cousin Jessie likes to give sloppy kisses.
Childhood is when I learned what I loved about the holidays. So much of what we know as adults is what we learned as children. This year as you settle in to enjoy the holidays with family, think about the traditions you are building.
Are you building traditions of kindness and generosity? Are you building traditions that encourage your family to get consent before hugging, kissing, or touching your children? Are you building traditions that empower your children and yourself?
This holiday season, give your family the gift of consent. It is a free gift that keeps on giving as they keep on growing.
Baby, it’s Cold Outside–Zooey Deschanel
http://Baby, it’s Cold Outside–Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets
Baby, it’s Cold Outside–a complicated holiday song if there ever was one. Is it a song celebrating the ability of a woman to overcome the restrictive sexual mores of her time and spend the night with her partner? Is it a song glorifying date rape and a culture that still doesn’t value consent?
Maybe yes to both. You’ll hear people argue on both sides and it probably depends on how you imagine the relationship and what perspective and experiences you bring to the table. Should you feel guilty for enjoying this winter classic? I think not. Listen, enjoy, and remember that consent is critical.
Get a yes, stop at no. Even if it’s cold outside.
If you are like me, you love the holiday season. I can’t wait to dig out my holiday decorations, make paper snowflakes, and cozy up with a warm mug of cocoa. For me, the holidays have always been a time of warmth, generosity, and family fun. There is always some stress and frustration, but on the whole, this is the time of the year I feel the hope and light that gives me strength for the year to come.
I hope you feel the same love and strength this time of year. I hope you find yourself surrounded by warmth and family this holiday season. But if you aren’t, know that you are not alone. There is love and support for you, even if it is in an unexpected place.
We felt that love and support yesterday when a community member dropped off a literal truckload of toys. This community member went out of her way to play Santa and we are so grateful. The generosity of our community helps us to make this holiday season just a little bit brighter for the kids and families who come through our doors. Thank you thank you thank you!
On December 6, Safe Passage clients celebrated the holidays with our annual winter party. Over 50 clients and their children enjoyed a holiday meal, desserts and music.
Children were able to decorate ornaments, color holiday masks, and create winter crafts with their friends and parents. Later in the evening, Santa made an appearance. Children were thrilled to talk to Santa about their hopes and wishes after receiving goodie bags and taking a picture with him. Santa told us the majority of children and adults that spoke with him hoped for “happiness and peace.”
We also want to recognize the generosity and kind hearts of Kyler Photography who took family pictures for our clients. These were framed beautifully and given to each parent as their gift. Clients were overjoyed by the opportunity. This night wasn’t possible without the help and dedication of our board members, staff and community volunteers. Stay tuned with upcoming events and volunteer opportunities at www.safepassagedv.org/events.