The Crisis Center Connection

Affordable Fun for the Holidays

by Susan Mann 

There are so many fun things families can do to celebrate the holiday season that it is hard to know where to start. It’s not all about being able to afford to put the latest, most expensive, musical gadgets for sale, under the tree.

Will your children be participating in a special program at school or church? Present them with a special, surprise photo of their appearance in the event.

Take your photo of their performance to Office Max, or some other office service location, and have it made into a calendar or specially decorated picture which your family can enjoy all year long. If you can’t get to St. Thomas, there are on-line resources such as Shutterfly which will take care of it for you.  

Visit the public library across from the St. John Animal Care Center, and borrow children’s Christmas theme books and movies. These items are available to you free of charge, and as always, the library staff would be glad to make suggestions.

Make some popcorn, and enjoy reading, or watching a movie with your kids — even the older ones. The library is scheduled to close for a while after the first of the year for renovations, so let’s put it to good use over the next couple of weeks. Besides, if you haven’t been there in a while you might be really surprised at all the cool movies you can borrow.

Christmas vacation seems to last a long time, huh? Parents definitely aren’t the only ones who feel that way. Kids can get pretty bored after a couple of days. What about some crafts to make together which the whole family can benefit from?

If you don’t use the computer much ask your kids to show you how to get to this Web page: http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/christmascrafts.
There you will find tons and tons of inexpensive holiday craft items to make, including wrapping paper, holiday decorations, and several calendar styles for 2008.

If you don’t have a computer at home you can use one at the library at no cost, and for a small fee, print out the craft page instructions you want to take home to complete with the kids. Most little ones will work on this sort of thing with a grown up for up to 10 minutes or so, while older kids will hang in there a little longer.

Are you ready for some Christmas bingo? You can print out the game boards, with each one leading to a different Christmas word, and the call words and chips here, http://www.blackdog.net/holiday/christmas/bingo/index.htm.

In any community there are always kids and adults who truly need an extra helping of the respect and caring some of us are fortunate enough to know how to provide. Sadly, not all adults were blessed with an upbringing which enables them to care for themselves or others in a helpful, loving way.

The St. John Community Crisis Center, formerly called The Safety Zone, offers confidential, professional counseling and other services to individuals who have already experienced, or are at risk of, being affected by emotional or physical harm.

Each of us in this island community which makes up “Love City,” however, can reach out to others. Maybe that means asking a neighbor to play a little Christmas bingo!

As silly as that sounds, they may not want to talk about their troubles with anyone, but on the other hand, might be so relieved to be in a relaxing, stress free home to enjoy the positive and warm atmosphere.

It was having such families as this available to me that helped me survive my childhood years. In the coming months, I will be traveling to the states to visit one of those neighbors. I’ve been acquainted with this family for well over 40 years.

The board of directors and staff of the St. John Community Crisis Center wish island residents and visitors alike a happy holiday season, and the best life has to offer in the coming year. Please do e-mail me at: [email protected], with questions or comments about agency programs, or suggestions about topics you would like to see addressed in this column. Happy holidays to all!