Christmas is a time that prioritizes family and expressing gratitude for loved ones. One of the joys of fostering around this season is being able to share your unique family traditions with a foster child. Similarly, it’s a wonderful way to extend a warm welcome to your foster child by incorporating some of their traditions or culture into your own home. 

At Orchard Fostering, we encourage learning about and engaging with traditions near and far. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at Christmas celebrations around the world, with a special focus on the day of Saint Nicholas as its celebrated in Poland. This day centers on expressing gratitude and welcoming a spirit of generosity – a perfect way to kick off the festive season. 

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.

Saint Nicholas Day is the unofficial beginning of the holiday season in Poland. Festivities begin on December 6th – a day that honours the esteemed Saint and 4th century bishop, Saint Nicholas. Historically, Saint Nicholas was renowned for his kind heart and his largesse towards everyone but particularly towards children and the poor. There are a number of rituals associated with this day, some of which might seem familiar, some of which may not. Children write letters to St. Nicholas and prepare items such as pillowcases, stockings, boots or shoes for him to leave small gifts inside. Naughty children, however, receive a lump of coal or a twig, called “rózga”. All the more reason for children to make sure they’re well behaved! In some parts of Poland, St. Nicholas even comes twice – once on December 6th and again on Christmas Eve. In bakeries around Poland, you’ll come across gingerbread cookies that are moulded in the shape of Saint Nicholas called “pierniczki”. Along with beginning December with small gift-giving, baking some festive treats like these can be a great activity to celebrate the joys of the season with your foster child. Remember to decorate them with some colourful frosting!  

The Joys of Fostering at Christmas – Advice and Support

Of course, celebrating cultural differences and novel traditions are just one of the joys associated with fostering around Christmas time. As we pass on to another New Year, the Christmas season can be a time of reflection and opening up your home is a way to make a meaningful contribution to a foster child’s life, well beyond the Christmas season

As you make preparations for the Christmas season, we understand it can also be a stressful time. With that in mind, here are some helpful pieces of advice to help make the festive period a time for everyone to enjoy.

  • Remember to communicate with your foster child ahead of the upcoming festive season. In the hustle and bustle of the time of year, take the time out to be mindful that your foster child might have a different way of celebrating. Ask them about their past experiences, preferences and feelings about Christmas time and be sure to include them in conversations about activities and visits. 
  • Be sure to keep a routine going during the Christmas period. While it’s a unique time of year, such a sharp change of pace can be overwhelming for a foster child. Alongside the fun activities, keep a normal bedtime routine, mealtimes and try to avoid overstimulation as much as possible within the festive period. 
  • You can also reach out to your foster child’s family with a Christmas card or message. Of course, this depends on whether it is allowed or appropriate, but keeping in touch with a child’s family during this time of year can help them to reconcile being away from home and feel less conflicted about celebrating Christmas with a different family. 
  • Be mindful of your own mental health during the season. Along with taking care of your foster child, it’s important to take some time for yourself and reach out for support if needed. Remember you don’t have to do everything on your own! At Orchard Fostering we have a range of supports in place you can access and a dedicated team you can reach 24/7 – even on Christmas day.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.