The Gift of Christmas

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Christmas holidays are almost upon us. From houses with enough flashing lights to resemble a Heathrow runway to the smell of mulled wine intoxicating the air at Christmas markets all over the country. There is just no escaping it, and with more than a fortnight still to go, the hype will keep on rising.

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The cynics amongst us will say that the festive season isn’t like it used to be. In many ways, it’s different from when I was a child, but it doesn’t make it any less magical. I’m seeing first-hand how excited the boys are becoming as they approach their 3rd Christmas, still shy in the company of Father Christmas, but definitely getting there.

As a family, it can be a wonderful time of year, but equally, it can be very challenging. With such high expectations, it can be a time that’s incredibly trying, stressful, and even traumatic for families. Not to forget, the commercialisation of the season heaping pressure on families from all quarters to spend money they cannot necessarily afford.

Building resilience to cope with whatever the season throws our way is so important. That’s why I’m so proud to be involved in an amazing initiative being run by Hammersmith & Fulham Family Support and my good friends at Here For You For Them.  Together they are offering ‘A Gift For You, For Them’ through two family Christmas events, with the theme of ‘Resilience and Healing for the Holidays’. I for one, cannot wait.

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You may recall that I previously wrote about Here’s fantastic work when they were crowdfunding for their Om Pop events. Om Pop’s are bespoke yoga, meditation and brain-building pop-ups designed for families to experience and learn mindful practices to integrate into their daily lives. Joining forces with Family Support complements its services so well. Family Support helps local children, young people and their families to thrive. This includes through events where families come together, and enjoy playing and learning  making new friends and developing skills to cope with life’s challenges.

Here has been running Om Pop’s in Hammersmith for the past few months. The events are proving very popular, and the feedback has been nothing short of fantastic.

” These sessions have been brilliant for adults and babies. Please do more. “

And when you see feedback like this, it makes you realise how it’s making a difference for families.

” Please don’t stop supporting family yoga. Thank you, you guys are great. “

On Wednesday, 18th December I will be joining Jen Armstrong, who I have long admired, at the Om Pop event at Fulham Central Children’s Centre. I am looking forward to applying newly learnt skills from my excellent children’s yoga teacher training course with the Collins & Barth School of Yoga. Equally, how I can build upon the success of my popular Yoga For Men classes in Bristol, by encouraging more men to join us on the mat.

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As a Dad of twins, with a full-time desk job and as a part-time yoga teacher, I understand how precious it is to have quality time together as a family. Over a busy festive period, this can be all the more challenging to achieve. So, at the Om Pop events, we will be inviting families to take time out to prioritise their wellbeing, enjoy themselves and come together as a community.

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I think it’s incredible what Family Support and Here For You For Them are offering. I would love to see something similar on offer to families in Bristol and Bath. I am so proud to be a part of this, and look forward to seeing many families at these Christmas specials this month.

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