We’ve really been leaning into advent and the festive season this year at The Outdoors Group but something that one of our directors posted on Linked-In this week struck a nerve and we took a moment to think a bit more about our decision to embrace all things Christmas this month. Shev posted this simple diagram and talked about keeping this in mind as the holidays draw near. He said:
“There are many learners who will not be looking forward to christmas holidays. In settings where they attend they have support to move through this heirarchy. For some of them just hitting the bottom of this scale over the holidays will be a win.
Where we can as practitioners let’s remember this when learners struggle, and where we can let’s support children and families to do the best they can over the festive period.
For those who are looking forward to Christmas, let’s remember to pause and give some thought for those who will be struggling with all that is going on around them at this time of year.”
The last section in particular resonated with us as we realised that in our enthusiasm for Christmas, we might not have quite struck the balance right for those who aren’t looking forward to the next few weeks so eagerly. This could because you’re grieving this year, it could be because you’re going through a painful separation, it could be because you’re struggling with your mental or physical health, it could be because of the cost of living and energy crisis, it could be because of how past Christmases have played out for you.
So if that’s you, and you’re not feeling particularly festive this year, we hear you. If, for you, this winter needs to be a time of slowing down, a time of hibernating, a time of silence, we urge you to follow that path. Don’t be pressured by those around you, be that friends, families, or the media, to do anything you don’t feel comfortable or happy doing. Human beings are the only animals that don’t adjust their behaviour and habits in relation to seasonal change and maybe that is something we need to start doing.
So as we break up for the Christmas break this weekend, our one hope for those reading this is that you use this time to give to yourself what you really need. If that’s donning a Christmas hat and living off mince pies and pigs-in-blankets, go wild! But if you need to turn off all devices and spend a few weeks hibernating and slowing down, please do embrace that.
However you spend the next few weeks we wish you a peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah, or Solstice, and hope that 2023 brings you a year filled with happiness, joy, and love.
Author: Hannah Durdin, Forest School Leader & Content Officer
Date: Friday 16th December 2022