The holiday season can be difficult for children in foster care. They may be feeling the absence of their biological parents or siblings even more than usual during this time of year. At RISE Services, Inc. Oregon, we believe there are many ways you can make this season easier and more meaningful for them despite the challenges they are facing. Consider any of the recommendations below or dig into your own holiday toolbox to make memories with your foster children that will last a lifetime.
1. Host a Christmas Movie Marathon
Many of us have memories of watching various Christmas movies like A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Frosty, The Snowman. Plan a weekend, afternoon, or evening of watching one of your all-time favorite Christmas shows, and then let the children choose a Christmas movie of their own. Make it more special by letting them snuggle up with a fuzzy blanket and serving hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.
2. Decorate Christmas Cookies
If there’s one holiday tradition we remember the most, it’s probably decorating Christmas cookies. Your foster children will absolutely love sharing this favorite family tradition with you. Gather all the Christmas cookie fixins’ like colorful sprinkles, coarse sugar, edible pearls, mini chocolate candies, and, of course, a lot of frosting. Then, let them decorate to their hearts’ content. Make it more meaningful by having them share a plate with neighbors or delivering a plate to the local charity of your choice. If you’re short on time, you can buy some pre-baked cookies in a variety of Christmas shapes.
3. Take a Drive to Look at Christmas Lights
One free activity, except for gas and hot cocoa for everyone, is to drive around your hometown looking at all the dazzling Christmas light displays. If you prefer, you can make hot cocoa ahead of time and package up some Christmas treats that everyone can enjoy in the vehicle. Put some Christmas music on the radio and spend some time simply enjoying the beautiful holiday presentations in your area.
4. Involve Biological Parents If Possible
Do your best to involve the biological parents as much as possible. As you’re decorating cookies, make a plate for the children to give to their parents during their next visitation. Plan on meeting at a neutral location, such as a local community Christmas concert, so the kids can spend a part of Christmas with their parents. Ask the children if they’d like to buy their parents Christmas gifts and take them shopping to choose a special gift for them. You may want to also choose a gift or two, on behalf of their biological parents, to have them open on Christmas morning. Be on the safe side and check with your foster care case worker before any of these activities.
Happy Holidays from RISE Oregon
If you’re not a foster parent, there are still ways for you to be involved, too. Ask a foster family that you already know how you can help them this Christmas. Offer to have their children over to decorate Christmas cookies or watch Christmas movies with your children. To learn more about becoming a foster parent and what that entails, contact us today. The team at RISE Oregon would like to wish you and your family all the best this holiday season.
Source: Haag, Dr. Jerry. “How to Make the Holidays Meaningful and Enjoyable for Children in Foster Care.” Web article. Focus on the Family. 10 Dec. 2021. Web. 13 Dec. 2022.