We are all used to seeing images of children wildly running around a Christmas tree. Excited by the mystery that lies beneath wrapped boxes as grandma sits passed out in the chair gripping on to her mulled wine. Family old and new gathering around the dinner table filled with various meats, vegetables, condiments, pastries as the smell of cinnamon, pine, cranberries fill the room.
Hollywood has embedded this idea of Christmas in our hearts and minds. Although most peoples Christmas varies family to family the nature of it remains the same. Christmas is a time for family, food, gifts but most importantly love.
When the people who are payed to be your guardians rightfully spend this romanticised day with their loved ones who do you spend it with? Where do you go?
Christmas can be awful for a lot of people, especially for care-experienced children and young people. This time of the year reminds them of everything they haven’t got; a mother stressing over the food, siblings annoying them, grandad telling stories about the war, uncle Jack drunk before dinner, and dad running around trying to keep mum happy. Yes, even the most desperate Christmas is a beautiful one – it creates memories – filled with love – regardless of how hectic it is.
For some young people, December 18th was the first time in their lives that they entered a room filled with presents, Christmas decorations, and a proper Christmas feast. It was magical. Not because of the presents, or the food or the decorations, but much more so for the simple fact that it was the first time in their lives they were experienced a family-like Christmas.
And as as with every celebration, there were those who you only see on special occasions, those who have to give their opinion about everything (especially the food), those who only came for the food and leave early, those who stayed all day and enjoyed themselves, and those who worked hard to make the day special without any reward.
Christmas takes many shapes, not all of us come from a conventional family. However, we all deserve a day of celebrations, tasty food and gifts. Some young people may never experience such a joyful get-together. But those who are working with Drive Forward can be certain, that we are here and we care and that they have each other.