Imagine being sick and scared and away from your home, your family, and all the things that are yours over the holidays? Tough, right? Now imagine being all those things and being a kid too. Somehow, that seems to make it that much worse.
Every year, I try to put myself into their shoes and wonder if there is a way that we might bring some smiles to the faces of some kids in the hospital over the holidays. I have always believed that it is important for my son to be conscious of the fact that there are others who might not have it as good as him, for whatever reason, especially over the holidays. We’ve talked a lot about kids whose parents might have lost their jobs, or have jobs but not much left over money to buy extras like Christmas presents, or a tree or things that make Christmas, well, Christmas. We have always gone shopping to pick out a couple of toys to give to the food bank or Christmas bureau, because it is good to think beyond yourself and try to help others when you can.
The thought of this has always been difficult for him, tender-hearted as he is, and this year has been no exception. When I asked him what he would like to do for kids who might be spending their Christmases in Sick Kids hospital away from their families, he was quite sad at the thought. I asked him what he thought might make that holiday a bit more special for them and he immediately said “some new books” for them to pass the time with while they are in bed. I thought that this was a great idea! Not every very one is always feeling up to playing, and it is hard to pick put toys for kids you don’t know. Just ask any parent who has ever been to a birthday party. Seriously.
Now, as books are such a personal preference, they can be pretty hard to pick out for others too. Plus, we didn’t want to send something heavy in the mail to Sick Kids, so we decided to go and get some gift cards for Chapters bookstore or Indigo online. This will allow the recipients to get a new book for their e-reader if they have one, ask a parent or friend to pick up something in particular for them or maybe even choose to get an activity book for their stay or for when they get home and are recovering.
We thought it was a cool way to give back and bring some smiles to the faces of some of the patients at Sick Kids hospital. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to do, and there truly is something for everyone. If you would like to join us in making Christmas a little brighter for kids who are in hospital over the holidays, you can find the SickKids donation guidelines here.
Does your family have a particular cause or place they like to support during the holidays? How do you give back?