NOVEMBER: Holiday Help, Resources, and Activities

The holiday season can be a time for increased stress on families, whether it be additional tension in already difficult living conditions; increasing anxiety about how to pay for necessities—rent, food, utilities—as well as some modest gifts; how to pay for additional childcare while their school-age children are out on break; or how to provide something as simple as a holiday meal.

Maya Angelou once shared that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” The holidays are a time to reconnect, to break bread with one another, whether it be over a dinner table, or at a community meal, and a time to share experiences rather than things. The Journal of Consumer Research published a study showing that giving a child an experience as a gift instead of a thing, forges stronger bonds and memories. Another study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, demonstrated that people enjoy greater well-being from life experiences and consider them to be a better use of finances. The bottom line is that the stress behind consuming things can be mitigated with help from our WIC community.

This month, WIC Can Help provides resources on programs that families can consider for additional help so that the holiday season can be about spending quality time together and creating positive memories. There will also be ideas on activities families can enjoy without stressing their finances, like a free or low-cost family outing, or creating holiday crafts they can make and gift using common items in their own home.

What Local Agencies Can Do:

1. Become familiar with local family resources for holiday assistance to low-income families. Understand what community partners provide meals and gifts for children, families, Veterans, and families of those who are incarcerated.

2. Get to know your local events calendars to help WIC participants identify age-appropriate activities and outings, that are free for families in your area.

3. Make this information available on flyers, posters, event boards, and calendars posted in your offices or on your website where possible. Share with WIC families in waiting areas, at intake or in regular appointments.

4. Consider offering a Holiday Crafting and/or Cooking class so that WIC families can spend time together and make gifts to share with their loved ones.

5. Let CWA know what information and referral strategies and materials work best for you, so we can improve this page and inspire other local agencies.