‘Tis the season of joy and happiness. Well, at least that’s what commercials, songs, and society says to us. And, for many it is. But right along with the cup of cheer, they’re is a pound of stress.
For me, it’s stress about finding and affording the right Christmas presents for my loved ones. It’s stress about having my family (with divergent yet strongly-held opinions) all in the same room for hours on end. It’s stress about finding the time to make the pecan pie and iron the tablecloth. It’s stress about knowing everyone’s food allergies (and preferences).
But for many others around the Bay Area, their stress is about finding a home to shelter their family during this cold and wet time of year. Their stress is about affording food, let alone presents for their kids. It’s about finding the funds to be able to travel to be with family and escape a violent home.
Each December, we hear first-hand the toll this time of year takes on colleagues, friends, and clients. Our 24-hour TALKline rings more than any other time of year. In an effort to alleviate stress, we provide food, we keep our hotline staffed-up, we bring families together for holiday cheer, and we turn our playroom into a toy store so that families don’t have to choose between a holiday ham or Harriet the Spy. You can find us staff gathered around the hot cocoa in the kitchen talking to decompress.
But the one thing I truly love about this time of year, is that it’s the perfect excuse to recognize the amazing people who empower our work and advance our mission. It’s a time to say thank you. In that spirit, I just want to take a minute to thank each of you for all that you do during this holiday season, and all year long.
Thank you for teaching your kids about safety and how to protect themselves and their friends.
Thank you for keeping a watchful eye out for the children in your neighborhood and those you pass by at the market and at soccer practice.
Thank you for speaking up when something seems off, and not waiting until it’s apparently wrong.
Thank you for being that positive role model for your nephew or niece.
Thank you for letting that kid next door know that you see her, you care about her — that you are that one loving adult in her life.
Thank you for saying hello to the parent whose child is in full tantrum in the freezer aisle.
Thank you for lending a hand to that stressed out parent who needs a moment of peace.
Thank you for volunteering your evenings at our Tuesday dinner and your days on our TALKLine.
Thank you for donating your hard earned money to support our programs and, in turn, San Francisco’s most vulnerable families.
Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season.
Oh, and in case you’re interested in some holiday family fun, here are some suggestions.