Making the most of Christmas

Making the most of Christmas

Making the most of Christmas

Dane Haskell

Kia ora koutou,
Firstly, on behalf of the Taranaki Safe Families Trust I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who participated and engaged in our recent White Ribbon campaign. It was an excellent opportunity to engage with the community.
We are finally coming to the end of a very strange year. You may think it’s flown by, or that it’s dragged on for eternity, but there’s no disputing the summer holidays are almost upon us.
There’s also no arguing that reported family violence incidents spike during this time of year. Although we traditionally associate the season with festivities, time off work and hot days, for some of our most vulnerable families it’s the most dangerous time of the year. Many factors contribute to Christmas being the peak period for family violence; increased spending and financial stress, end-of-year social obligations, decisions about where to spend the holidays, increased alcohol consumption and disrupted routines to name a few. It’s always important to acknowledge these are never single-root causes of family violence but rather contribute to already existing abuse, power and control dynamics.
Here are some tips and whakāro to consider during the next few weeks:
Plan your outings accordingly and slow down on the roads. There’s no need to rush. There are more people travelling, more people shopping, more people in the areas you want to be in, so be courteous.
If you are sharing a celebratory drink, take it easy. Be mindful of what you are normalising to impressionable minds.
Don’t get fooled into thinking you have to buy the kids the most expensive, extravagant toys. You should give them experience and connection, that’s the best gift we can ever give our tamariki. The amount of money spent on toys is not an indication of how much you love them. Your love is measured by the amount of time and engagement you give them. In years to come, it won’t be the toys they remember, it’ll be the good times they’ll cherish the most.
Finally, yes, it’s been a challenging year but don’t dwell too much on how hard it’s been, nor worry too much about the uncertainties of next year. Be in the present, enjoy these moments with the ones you treasure the most.
All of us at TSFT wish our Taranaki whānau a happy, and most importantly, safe holiday season.
We’ll have more kōrero in 2021.

Dane is the co-ordinator of Taranaki Safe Families Trust.