Our Chief Executive David Holmes CBE introduces our festive blog series and talks about what we have in store for ‘Families at Christmas’ as we count down throughout December
For most of us Christmas is a lovely part of the year which allows us to spend time with those we care about the most, enjoy time together and share carefully chosen gifts and create new happy memories. However, what’s rarely mentioned is that Christmas is also when many of our pressures as a family can come to the fore – whether these are financial concerns highlighted by the buying of presents or special food, managing children’s expectations or coping with tensions in our relationships with family members.
We’ve long been committed to making Christmas special for the families we work with through our Toy Appeal, which is now in its 10th year and provides toys to families who may not be able to afford them otherwise. But we also want to help translate the skills, knowledge and experience within our charity into practical advice that can help all families at this time of year.
That’s why this Christmas we’ve lined up a host of articles intended to help you make the most of the festive season, and address some of its more challenging aspects too.
Our nationwide network of services support the whole spectrum of family experience and these articles are intended to do the same – with stories about the joys of impending motherhood over Christmas along with practical advice regarding family tensions, caring for elderly relatives and managing the expectations of children during this costly season.
“we’ve lined up a host of articles intended to help you make the most of the festive season, and address some of its more challenging aspects too”
However, it’s also important to not lose sight of the excitement and sense of community Christmas creates and as such we’ll also be bringing you some more light-hearted stories aimed at helping families get out and about, make home-made gifts and develop some special new family traditions.
And finally, if you’re just looking for a burst of sheer goodwill we’ll also be streaming our yearly Christmas Concert online – I hope to be among the voices raising the roof at St James’s Church in Clerkenwell on 5 December, but don’t let that put you off!
While we’re very much looking forward to sharing all of the above with you, the close of each year is also a time for reflection; a chance to look back on the year that’s passed and to consider how those experiences will shape our future.
For Family Action 2019 was our 150th Anniversary year! In January we hit the ground running with the launch of our FamilyLine service by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.
We’d commissioned research in 2018 that had suggested that people want to talk about problems such as money, health or relationships but didn’t always know where to turn. We created FamilyLine as a service that could provide emotional support alongside practical information and guidance.
FamilyLine was launched as part of our Family Monsters Project, which focussed on these daily pressures shared by all families with a message that they are a normal part of family life and can often be overcome by just talking about them within the family or with someone else outside if more help is needed.
Since that time in January our dedicated volunteers, specialists and counselors from FamilyLine have continued to support families across the country with the everyday concerns that can seem insurmountable, while the Family Monsters website has helped start a national conversation about the challenges we all face.
A year is a long time and all across the country this year new and experienced parents alike will have encountered the joys and stresses of both raising a family and being part of a wider family. We’re pleased to be there for every one of them, and every family, this Christmas through the continued work of our services, our Toy Appeal, the expert articles we share on our websites and via social media, and through our dedicated FamilyLine workers.
Whatever your Christmas looks like this year… we’ll be here.
FamilyLine is open every day over the Christmas period other than Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We also have a crisis text service when the other channels are closed. You can contact FamilyLine by telephone on 0808 802 6666, by texting 07537 404 282, by emailing: [email protected] or via our web chat. For more information, visit our FamilyLine page.