Every night leading up to Christmas that year, Max would fall asleep under the tree and be carried back to bed by a staff member.
Christmas can be one of the most challenging times of the year for children living at Tennyson Center for Children.
While many of us find the holidays magical, they can often be overstimulating, upsetting, and even heartbreaking for many of the kids who come through our doors. Children residing with us may not have a family to spend Christmas with, and families in our community programs often struggle to provide the type of Christmas they’d like for their children.
Years ago, a nine year old boy, “Max”, arrived at our residential program. His life before Tennyson was chaotic, abusive, and unpredictable, causing Max extreme anxiety and trouble processing change. The whirlwind of the holidays—with the season’s myriad emotions and deviation from routine—was particularly overwhelming, and it was tough for Max to find the stability and comfort he longed for during Christmas.
One night, well past his bedtime, Max sheepishly crawled out of his room and asked our staff if he could sleep under his cottage’s Christmas tree. Despite the difficulty of the holiday season, Max was drawn to the soft, welcoming beauty of the Christmas tree, with its shining ornaments and warm glow. Max found peace under the shelter of the big tree, and was finally able to feel some serenity—something he had searched for his whole childhood.
Every night leading up to Christmas that year, Max would fall asleep under the tree and be carried back to bed by a staff member. It seems simple, but by providing a stable, nurturing, compassionate environment, Tennyson opened the doors to a truly magical—and healing—holiday for Max.