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8 Ways to Celebrate With a Friend Who Is in the Hospital During the Holidays

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Sometimes hospital stays overlap with the holidays. A hospital is about the last place people want to be during the holidays, and it can be hard to celebrate when you’re stuck in the hospital.

If your friend is in the hospital, you may want to know how to incorporate your friend into the holiday activities, since they can’t be home with you or their family. To make your friend feel included in the holiday festivities, you can bring some of it to the hospital. The setting may not be ideal, but you can still enjoy some holiday fun with the person you love.

1. Decorate the hospital room

Hospital rooms can be cold, both in temperature and in aesthetic. Decoration is a big part of the holidays, so why not bring it to them? You can look up a tutorial to DIY some decorations if you’re the crafty type. If your friend is feeling up to it, you could even do some simple DIY projects together. You can make a chain of paper snowflakes to hang on the wall or make a wreath with a foam donut and some fabric.

If crafts aren’t your thing, you could bring a mini, fake Christmas tree to put on a bedside table or maybe a battery-powered menorah, since candles aren’t typically permitted in the hospital.

Our picks: LED Electric Menorah ($24.99) or Mini Tabletop Christmas Tree ($24.99)

2. Bring a holiday movie and DVD player

There’s no shortage of holiday movies to pick from. There are classics like “A Christmas Story” and modern favorites like “Elf.” Make sure to bring a DVD player or laptop in case the hospital doesn’t have the right accommodations.

A Christmas Story and Elf

Our picks: A Christmas Story ($7.77) or Elf ($8.99)

3. Knit them a hat or scarf

Again, if you’re the crafty type, use that to your advantage and make something personal for your friend. The hospital is never warm, so a hat or scarf can help your friend stay comfortable. It’s also something they’ll be able to use once they’re out of the hospital.

Our pick: Red Heart Soft Yarn in grape ($8.35)

4. Buy them a good blanket

In the same vein as a hat or scarf, a good blanket can help your friend feel cozy. Plus, hospital blankets tend to be thin and scratchy. A throw blanket that’s soft is a nice way to make your friend feel at home. There’s even some blankets out there that are holiday themed.

Blanket on chair

Our pick: Plush microfiber throw blanket ($15.99) 

5. Bring a holiday favorite meal or treat

Your friend may not be able to eat a favorite treat in the hospital, but if they can, food is a sure way to say “Happy holidays,” especially when he or she is tired of hospital food. You can bring holiday-themed cookies or decorate your own. Whatever home-cooked food your friend likes to eat outside of the hospital could help them feel more at ease.

Our pick: Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit ($19.99)

6. Buy something to fill their time

This one isn’t so much holiday-themed as it is a way for your friend to focus on something other than being in the hospital. A book of crossword puzzles, a book you think they may enjoy, or an adult coloring book are all ways to pass the hours by. You could even make a list of your favorite apps and games and share it with them (here are our Mighty community’s favorite games to play on your phone).

Everything Is Awful by Matt Bellassai and a coloring book


Our picks: “Everything Is Awful: And Other Observations by Matt Bellassai ($16) and “Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs” by Dan Morris ($4.99)

7. Bring a holiday tradition from home

Many traditions your family and friends enjoy could be brought to the hospital, so your friend isn’t missing out. Bring a set of matching pajamas or put your Elf on the Shelf in the hospital room. You could even create a new tradition.

Our picks: Ekouaer Christmas Pajama Set for women ($31.99 to $39.99) and The Elf on the Shelf ($29.95)

8. Be there in any way they need

There’s no harm in asking your friend what they need, and it’s typically appreciated. Instead of guessing what they want or need, ask them or suggest ideas for the two of you to do, and let them decide. His or her energy level may not be what it typically is, so let them decide the pace of your time together. Sometimes, all they need is a friend to be there.

Originally published: December 15, 2017
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