A foster kid’s holiday survival ideas


Sam Pothier

A holiday message from AgedOut.com's founding project lead.

Girl looking at holiday lights

When I aged out of care there was one day a year I loathed, and it’s called Christmas. One day a year I was reminded about family private. While all my friends were excited about their mom’s cooking, presents, and seeing their favourite uncle, I was trying to figure out how I could sleep for 24 hours and skip the day. I wasn’t going to have any of the fun, and I was too ashamed to let anyone know I didn’t have anywhere to go on Christmas day.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique experience for us ex-foster kids. So here is how I survived the dreaded Christmas day…

  1. I rented all the movies. Back in my day (I’m about to date myself here) I would go to Rogers and pick out seven VHS (this was what they had before DVD players) movies. Seven because I knew I would be awake for at least 14 hours that day and each movie, give is take, is about two hours. I picked out all my favourites and a couple I’ve never seen before.

    Now, you can just queue up all your favourites on Netflix and settle in.

  2. I bought all the comfort food. For me, it’s basically dip and then some things to put in the dip, like chips and veggies. I would get different kinds of cheese and the softest baguettes. I would have mac n cheese and Dr. Pepper.


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  3. I worked. If I could work that day, I did. First, you get some mad cash for working Christmas day and you’re pretty much guaranteed to work that day because all the people with family privilege want the day off.

  4. I went to the movies. Believe it or not but movie theatres are open on Christmas day and they are busy! You can easily find a seat where it looks like you’re in a group.

  5. I lied. Eventually, my friends discovered that I was alone on Christmas and invited me to family gatherings. I was ashamed to tell them I’m a foster kid, so I told them that I recently moved to Vancouver to work. I don’t want to promote lying at all, but if you feel like I did, it is an option. I will tell you though, that most people care more about if they get gravy than whether you were in foster care.

  6. I walked. The city is so quiet on Christmas day, so it kind of feels like you’re in a zombie apocalypse because there is no one around.

  7. I volunteered. There are lots of places looking for volunteers on Christmas day. This is a cool thing because you get to be with other people, and chances are you’re going to get a turkey dinner.

  8. And lastly, surround yourself with other foster kids—you know they would rather hang out than look up Grumpy Cat memes all day!