If you have a friend or family member in the hospital during the holidays, there are numerous ways to help brighten his or her spirits and spread some holiday cheer (with pre-approval from the hospital staff, of course):
- Help relieve the patient’s stress. If your family member is concerned or worried about tasks that he or she usually performs around the holidays, offer to help. Purchase presents or address holiday cards for the individual (you may even be able to shop online or work on cards together at the hospital).
- Decorate the patient’s room with a small tree, menorah, festive blanket, New Year’s hats, or even some drawings from children in your family.
- Bring the holidays to the hospital. If your loved one is receiving cards and presents at home, bring them to share. If you’re giving a holiday present, consider something that may be of use in the hospital, like a book or warm socks.
- If allowed, bring your loved one special treats or meals that he or she associates with the holidays. In addition, hospital cafeterias often provide special holiday meals that are offered to patients and visitors.
- Bring holiday DVDs or music to watch and listen to together in the room.
Most importantly, remember that your loved one is in the hospital to heal, so don’t overwhelm him or her. Typically, you’ll want to keep your visiting time short to allow plenty of time for rest and sleep, which is critical to recovery.