Being a hospital patient is difficult under any circumstances during any time of the year, but it is especially tough during the holiday season. Instead of gift-shopping, planning favorite holiday recipes, or just spending time with family, patients find themselves discouraged about an upcoming surgery, recovery, or concerning diagnosis.
There’s no better reason to get into the holiday spirit than to lift the morale of those in despair. So, whether you have a loved one hospitalized or you simply have the desire to spread a little Christmas cheer to those who need it most, blog 10 of our 12 Days of Christmas series can show you 5 ways to bring holiday spirit to a hospital this season.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
What is one of the first signs that the holiday season is upon us? Holiday decorations!
Most hospitals deck their halls with boughs of holly and volunteering to help is a simple way to bring a little joy and comfort not only to patients but to their families as well.
Small touches such as adding a miniature Christmas tree, a Hanukkah menorah, or a Kwanzaa kinara can go a long way in bringing a little home to a patient’s hospital room.
Craft activities can be organized for young patients to create personalized Christmas ornaments and help trim the hospital Christmas tree.
For the inventive, creative ideas include creating a Christmas lights display using prescription bottles or making a Christmas tree from medical gloves like several ingenious medical workers did to spread the holiday spirit.
Do You Hear What I Hear
Another classic holiday activity certain to raise the spirits of hospital patients is caroling.
If you want to coordinate a full-on caroling musical featuring a church choir, a small band, meticulous rehearsals, choreography, and more, go for it. You may not have the power of a church choir or the Indianapolis Colts at your disposal, but assembling a few willing neighbors, colleagues, hospital workers, or family members is, without a doubt, just as wonderful and powerful.
Choose a set list, print out the song lyrics, have a quick rehearsal before caroling time, and the caroling team is ready to go. Don’t forget to name your caroling team and be sure to bring coffee, tea, cocoa, and cookies.
The least essential requirement? Singing chops. The most essential requirement? Holiday spirit.
Need a little help organizing? Check out Caroling for a Cause to order a caroling kit with proceeds being donated to a charity.
Presents, Presents, Presents
Few things are more gratifying than seeing a sick child gleam after opening an unexpected new toy or a fatigued grandfather perk up at the sight of a Scrabble board. A timely Christmas gift could be just what the doctor ordered to stave off the daily battle with boredom, anxiety, and stress.
Whether organized by your business, club, church, or those caroling neighbors, the opportunities to donate gifts to patients during the holidays are plentiful, especially for children.
Not sure what gifts youngsters want? Hospitals have made the process simple, providing gift donation policies, FAQs, and wish-lists broken down by age, so you don’t have to wonder how or what to donate.
For adults, gifts that help pass the time, like books, magazines, Sudoku, crosswords, playing cards, adult coloring books, and board games are great stocking stuffers to keep them engaged and entertained. For those digitally-inclined, music and movie-streaming gift cards can grant the family access to a digital vault full of Christmas tunes and films to enjoy.
Food, Glorious Food
“This hospital dish is one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had,” said no one, ever.
Hospital food has a reputation for not being very appetizing, but during the holidays when patients are craving mouth-watering turkey, home-made stuffing, and creamy mashed potatoes, hospital cuisine (if it can even be called that) can be downright disheartening.
While it would be a challenge to transport an entire Christmas feast to a hospital, a great way to deliver some good eats, good cheer, and the holiday spirit is to utilize the candy-striper blueprint. Grab a cart load it up with holiday fare, and visit patients room by room.
What’s on the menu? Anything bite-sized and everything home-made. Mini turkey pot pies, turkey meatballs, mashed potato balls with gravy dip, stuffing balls with cranberry dip, rolls, hot chocolate, hot cider, eggnog, cupcakes, Christmas cookies, and whatever the patients’ hearts desire.
What is better than decorating a hospital wing, leading a Christmas caroling team, organizing a gift drive, or bringing delicious holiday food to patients? Doing it all at once, of course.
You can plan an all-day or two-day holiday celebration where patients, family members, and hospital personnel can truly participate in Christmas festivities.
The opportunity to get out of that hospital room and socialize with other patients could improve the morale of patients, both young and elderly. Hospital workers who have to work throughout the holiday are afforded a little celebration of their own and deservedly so.
A great example is the Winter Wonderland program where the Jimmy Fund Clinic transforms into a week-long magical holiday celebration geared toward young patients including winter crafts, cookie decorating, and visits from Santa.
Whether you are able to organize a hospital holiday extravaganza or only have time to bring by a couple of stocking stuffers, you have the ability to make a patient’s day. You may even make their Christmas. But just remember, no fruitcake!
Tomorrow for our 11th blog, we’ll share with you 5 jokes you can tell to break the ice at your church outreach event.