A domestic violence shelter has shared a heartfelt letter written by a seven-year-old boy to Santa asking for gifts and a “very very very good dad”. The handwritten letter was first found in the child’s backpack by his mother – who shared it with the SafeHaven of Tarrant County staff, in Fort Worth, Texas.
The touching letter has since prompted hundreds of donations, including all of the presents on Blake’s list, according to the shelter, who wrote: “Blake is getting exactly what he asked for from Santa.”
And while the organisation received “more than 10,000 donated gifts” this year, the shelter’s staff hopes that the letter will shine light on the bigger issue – the prevalence of domestic violence.
Inside the Grade I-listed building, which is open 365 days a year, Christmas trees are twinkling and rehearsals are under way for a lunchtime concert and a later carol service. It is a hive of activity with school children coming and going.
The cathedral has about 100,000 visitors annually and has a target that everyone who lives in the Wakefield district will come in at least once a year. Visitors wander around the cathedral, many craning their necks to take in the details of the roof or the dominating rood screen. But others come in to find peace and reflection.
Anyone desperate enough to Google the term “holiday stress” will be rewarded (or become more overwhelmed) with about 395,000,000 results. Limit the search to “holiday stress statistics 2019” and the results come down to a measly 28,100,000 or so. There are even specific memes and GIFs on how to handle the financial, social and emotional stresses of the season, including my current favorite, the article that ran in this newspaper by a Buddhist teacher who advises practicing “acceptance,” an activity that even on nonholidays can often seem as challenging as climbing Mount Everest in an ice storm.
As the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute’s newsletter put it, “Because the holiday season often requires us to keep track of and pay attention to a greater number of responsibilities than usual, the brain’s prefrontal cortex goes into overdrive. Over time, a high level of demand can decrease memory, halt production of new brain cells and cause existing brain cells to die.”