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Helping Children Feel “Home” during the Holidays

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When I first came to Crossnore, there were certain topics I wouldn’t talk about and questions I wouldn’t ask. Not because I was afraid of the answer I would receive. But because I didn’t want to upset the kids we serve. As I have grown into my position at Crossnore, I have realized that just because I didn’t talk about some things didn’t mean they didn’t exist in the minds and hearts of our kids. For a couple of years, one of those off-limit topics was anything to do with home. Maybe if I didn’t ask about it, they wouldn’t be reminded of past trauma. What I now realize is that was pretty shallow thinking on my part. 

Talking About the Hard Things

Although it may sound counterintuitive, I ask our kids the same question each year at Christmas. “What does ‘home’ mean to you?” For many of our kids, this is not the hap-hap-happiest time of the year. Many miss their biological moms, dads, relatives, and friends. Regardless of the unfortunate and oftentimes horrific reasons they are in our care, they miss what they remember as home. So, we talk about it.

My hope for our children is that together we can process the emotions of the season. Although their homes this holiday season may not look or feel like their past homes, it is home for now. I don’t try to live into some cliché like, “There’s no place like home” or “Home is where the heart is.” Instead, I hope that each of us at Crossnore lives into an idea. An idea that home is where we are surrounded by people who love us. People who take our emotional and physical safety seriously. Home is where we are surrounded by people who celebrate our successes and hurt with us over our losses. At Crossnore, our hope is that we can be the way home for as many children as possible. However, for many during this Christmas Season, this is home for now.

Doing Our Best to Provide Feelings of Home

For those children, there are stockings filled with treats and presents under the tree. Santa will arrive sometime the night of December 24th and deliver amazing gifts. What I want for these children more than any present or amazing Christmas meal is that they know they are safe and secure. I hope they know they’re surrounded by people who love them.

 And most of all, in a season that can be incredibly difficult for them, I want them to know they have a home.