Whether you’re a doctor, a nurse, or a patient, it’s safe to say the hospital may not be your idea of the perfect holiday destination. Spending Christmas at the hospital isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. Here are some ways to make any place, even the ER, feel like home for the holidays.
In my experience, a little festivity can go a long way. To warm up the hospital for Christmas, decorate with things that remind you of home, or start a new tradition in your unit. For example, this office Christmas tree made entirely of rubber gloves:
It may not be a traditional Christmas, but with decorations like this, a new twist on a classic can evoke a lot of smiles and laughs.
If you can, take some time the night before to cook or bake something special. It’s no secret that Americans love holiday treats, but even the act of baking or cooking has the potential to lift spirits. According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, backing and cooking can decrease stress and depression and increase feelings of happiness.
If you’re not able to bring baked goods or homemade food into work, bring some pre-packaged treats. I would personally recommend chocolate—it does wonders for the brain’s happy center.
Nothing says “I love Christmas and I don’t care who knows it” like a good ol’ ugly Christmas sweater. You might be limited to what you can wear, but dress it up if you’re allowed; wearing something out of the ordinary can help make the day feel special and exciting.
If you’re a patient, snuggle up to a Christmas movie in some cozy, holiday-themed pajamas. If you’re working, see if you can get away with red and green scrubs, elf or reindeer accessories, or a full-on Santa costume. The itchy fake beard will be worth the smiles.
No one said it better than Buddy the Elf himself: “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” If the hospital environment has you feeling blue, gather up some friends and coworkers, and sing a song or two.
Singing Christmas carols is a time-honored tradition, but carols can act as much more than just a pleasant holiday ritual. Singing, particularly in groups, has been scientifically proven to be a very powerful mood booster. According to research compiled by Huffington Post, group singing releases oxytocin and endorphins that result in “heightened states of pleasure, bliss, bonding and love.” This can make you happier, healthier, smarter, and even more creative. Singing Christmas carols is sure to be great for lifting moral and brightening spirits, even in the most somber of situations. My personal carol recommendation? “Welcome Christmas” by the Whos down in Whoville
Wherever you are, however you’re celebrating, we wish you a happy holiday season.