Happy Holidays From Here To Serve
As we enter December 2021, we usher in the holiday season around the globe. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah (November 28th-December 6th) or Kwanzaa (December 26th- January 1st), celebrations are starting to look a bit more like 2019 instead of the incomparable holidays of 2020. As more people are vaccinated, there is more normalcy, but we are not entirely through the pandemic, especially as scientists discover new variants.
We continue to adjust to the new normal of masks and social distancing, but we can move forward and celebrate the season. And as we decorate the Christmas tree, eat the potato latke during a Hanukkah celebration, or light the Kinara candles during Kwanzaa, we appreciate the time with family and friends a little more. We do not take this unity for granted. For children going through cancer treatment, the holiday season will also be very different from any other. It may be challenging to have a traditional celebration, but families can still have quality time and enjoy the festive season through creativity and adaptability.
New and Unique Family Traditions
The top priority for parents of children with pediatric cancer is beating cancer. Nothing else matters during this timeframe. All resources, including time, energy, and finances, will be directed towards the cancer fight. It might be challenging to focus on decorations and gifts. But special holidays are significant to children, and it is vital to celebrate these times if, even in a modest way, the emotional importance of creating a sense of hopefulness will be priceless. As the holidays approach, these challenges might intensify. It helps to create a sense of optimism and stability when hospital visits and cancer treatments have become the new normal. Take a moment of downtime and talk about the holidays and the traditions your family celebrates. Maybe your entire family travels to a Christmas tree farm and cuts down the perfect tree. That might not be a realistic activity when a young child is exhausted or in the hospital for an extended time. So hold off on that for now and make it a future memory your family saves for another year. But you and your child can still decorate a tree or a room with family ornaments that bring back special times when held in your hands. Being flexible with time is also crucial during this period of uncertainty. Your child’s health does not stick to a calendar. Celebrating the eight days and nights of Hanukkah may not be consecutive days. Adjust your celebrations to your child’s needs. Spending quality time with your family is the most significant part of the holiday season, but you can modify when your holiday season takes place.
Accepting the Give of Help
Trying to balance care for your sick child during the holidays is challenging. A typical day might consist of hospital visits, administering medications, running errands, caring for other children, and even working part-time or full-time jobs. Cooking a special holiday meal or decorating your home will be low on the priority list. The cost of preparing your home for a celebration may also be a financial burden when factoring in the expenses related to cancer treatment. If you are feeling overwhelmed during this time of year, do not hesitate to ask for help. In the season of giving, friends and family are more than likely to help as much as they can. Your family is not alone in this cancer fight. And know that there are organizations to support kids with cancer.
Here to Serve offers many ways to help your family during the holiday season and beyond. Our Family Care Coordinators will administer a needs assessment to learn more about your specific needs. Our care community will organize activities to assist with gifts, decorations, grocery shopping, household chores, transportation, and meal coordination. All types of events are part of daily life, but they can become burdens that take away time with your child during the cancer journey.
You can choose to celebrate the holidays when you reach out to Here to Serve to help. These are special times for building memories with friends and family. If your child is going through cancer, the holidays are not the same, but it does not mean they have to go away completely. Simple moments, like laying on the couch with your kid, watching a classic holiday movie, or hanging a string of lights in your living room, do not take much effort. Still, the benefits can be incredible because they can bring joy to your child and temporarily remove the worry and anxiety that come during uncertain times. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help during the holidays and throughout the entire cancer journey All of us at Here to Serve wish you and your family a joyous holiday season filled with love, laughter, and hope for a better tomorrow.
About The Author
Chris Smith is a Here to Serve volunteer from the San Francisco Bay area who himself is a cancer survivor. He uses his professional experience as a technical writer to give back and provide clear and meaningful information for families with a child battling cancer.
All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.