Wish you were here . . .
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect upon holidays now and in the past.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Holiday Time!) and the means to display them.
- Show Slide 1.
Ask the children to think about holidays that they have enjoyed. Ask a few children to tell you about their favourite holiday and why they liked it.
- Ask the children to raise their hand if they are looking forward to the holidays. Point out that this year, holidays are going to look a bit different because not as many people will be going abroad.
Instead, lots of people will be having staycations, where they take their holiday in this country. People may head for traditional seaside resorts like Brighton, Scarborough or Blackpool.
- Show Slide 2.
In the past, British people would spend all year looking forward to a week’s holiday and a traditional seaside break in the UK. They would often send postcards home to show family and friends what a great time they were having, using the phrase ‘wish you were here’.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that air travel for holidays abroad started to become affordable for many people, so before that time, most people holidayed in their home country.
- Show Slide 3.
During the last two centuries, many people used to work in factories and mills. The owners began to shut down their businesses for a full week and encouraged their employees to use the time as a chance for a holiday. That holiday period was known as the Wakes Week. Due to the growth of the rail network, workers could travel by train to the seaside and enjoy a week beside the sea. It was very tempting to send a postcard back home in celebration!
Show Slide 4.
- Show Slide 5.
Sending a postcard home formed part of the tradition of this week away. This slide shows a postcard from Blackpool.
- Show Slide 6.
This slide shows a postcard from the Devon resort of Torbay. In a world before mobile phones, social media and WhatsApp messages, postcards were a way to show friends back home what a great time you were having. They were a way of celebrating your time away, and possibly making people back home a tad envious!
Time for reflection
Some of us might be disappointed that we can’t go on holiday abroad or even in this country this year. However, let’s remember that for the tired and overworked mill workers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a UK holiday or even day trips were wonderful treats.
We know how important periods of rest and relaxation are for our well-being. Indeed, many religious traditions, including Christianity and Judaism, have a day of rest - a day to restore ourselves, relax and connect with others and with God.
Due to the restrictions of lockdown, many of us will have found ourselves wishing that certain friends or family members could be with us. As the restrictions begin to lift and we start to find ways of meeting up with others, we can choose to adopt a mindset of being grateful for what we have. Of course, we may still feel disappointed, frustrated and even sad about the things that we can’t do and the people we can’t see. However, we can choose to make space to reflect and feel gratitude for the things that we do have and the people we can connect with.
Thank you for the excitement of holidays.
Thank you for times when we can relax.
Thank you for families and friends.
Thank you that, as restrictions relax, we can spend time with them.
Help us to look for ways to be grateful every day.
‘Summer holiday’ by Cliff Richard and the Shadows, available at: https://youtu.be/am5VNGSDpdI (2.01 minutes long)