“This year will be so relaxed, we won’t have anyone spoiling it with getting the hump and shouting, we will be able to watch what we want on the TV, play games, laugh and be loud, just like any other normal family.”
We appreciate that Christmas will be different for everyone this year and they’ll be many mixed emotions, but for the families spending Christmas in the sanctuary of a women’s refuge, it will be a relief in many ways, because this Christmas they are finally free.
It’s impossible not to feel humbled every time we pay a visit to RBWA, our local refuge. They do such lifesaving work for the women and children who are taken under their wing. We are always so pleased to be just one of the cogs in their supported families’ recovery process, and play a part in helping them to rebuild their lives.
Visiting the refuge, especially at Christmas time, always comes with such heightened emotions. There’s no escaping the fact that Christmas can be an anxious time for these families. It’s tainted by memories of Christmases past; where they’ve been denied the opportunity to celebrate Christmas how they would have liked to. What should have been special ‘family time’ has previously been filled with fear and dread.
The amazing team at the refuge work hard to keep these memories in the past where they belong, and help the families to stay positive by giving them a fun, exciting and memorable Christmas. Aided by allowing them the freedom to celebrate in the way THEY have always wanted.
“This year we will be able to put our tree up when we want, I have brought a 6ft white Christmas tree, back there we were only allowed a little 3ft real tree. The children will be able to decorate the tree for the first time ever and they are so excited.”
“The children will be able to get up early and open their presents straight away, instead of having to wait until HE has slept in and is in ‘the mood’. We will also be able to finally have a turkey for our Christmas dinner.”
“We are all looking forward to Christmas so much this year, and I will be able to celebrate my December Birthday in peace, something I haven’t done for many years.”
And Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa ‘herself’ bearing gifts. Santa Stork gifts, which have been pledged by our fantastic community and hand delivered to both RBWA refuges by Jacqui, one of wonderful volunteer elves.
A handpicked, new gift for each child together with stocking fillers, and a ‘pick me up’ toiletry gift set for Mum. She’s had to flee with nothing, her priority being their safety, so there’s no money left to afford such luxuries. A roll of wrapping paper and tape is included with each gift bundle; it’s important that Mum feels involved in the giving and we don’t take that away from her.
As the refuge is a safe space, their location can never be revealed to family and friends for fear of the perpetrator finding them, so these gifts are often put on hold. The fact that they’ll now have gifts to open on Christmas Day squashes the children’s fears that Santa won’t be able to find them this year. It helps them feel as though they are in a home filled with love and people who care about them. Which they are!
“We want to ensure the children and their Mums have a magical Christmas Day, and donations from Santa Stork really help us to bring the joy of Christmas back into their lives.”
Thank you for all the gifts which have been pledged so far via our virtual Santa Shop; helping Santa find deserving children like these.
There’s still time to donate.