Holiday Season Helping Newcomers Settle In

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Decorating the Christmas tree and exchanging gifts are well-established traditions for many of us, but that’s not necessarily the case for refugees who have settled in the area this year.

For some families, this will be their first holiday season in Canada and celebrating Christmas could help their transition into a new community.

Magdiel Hoste is the settlement services coordinator at the Adult Language and Learning Centre in Chatham. She says participation in Christmas is part of the integration process.

“Starting to do things that are part of Canadian society [is] our goal with our settlement programs,” says Hoste. “[We] give them the information necessary to participate.”

Christmas traditions will not be forced upon refugees, as it may conflict with their beliefs. However, Hoste says the centre will help anyone looking to take part in North American holiday traditions.

“We’re going to have many hands-on activities and information sessions during the Christmas break,” she says. “During our Christmas break we don’t have language classes so they will be coming [to the] centre specifically for our information sessions and events.”

Hoste says at the end of the day, they’re working to provide newcomers with information on traditions seen within the community to help in the integration process.

Related: Ten Confirmed Syrian Families For Chatham-Kent