Top tips for your stay at hospital this festive season

16 Dec 2022, 10 a.m.

Entrance to Great Ormond Street Hospital with festive decorations

We understand if you’re in hospital over Hannukah and Christmas things might be a little different.

To help spread some festive magic, our Play Team have shared their top ten tips for your stay at hospital this festive season.

1. Create your own decorations, cards or crafts

Crafts are a great way to get you into the festive spirit, and can be made using simple resources. Some might even be able to incorporate hospital related materials.

YouTube always has lots of wonderful ideas for inspiration, and can show you how to make things step by step.

Drawing of a child and their dog at the hospital entrance

Festive designs on the hospital entrance

2. Decorate your room or bed space

Not only are crafts fun to make, but you can use them to decorate your room or bed space to help get you into the festive spirit.

You can also bring in decorations from home. If you have a resident Elf on the Shelf keep a look out - the Elf can get into all sorts of mischief at the hospital!

Before decorating, please check with your ward team which decorations you are allowed to put up and where to place them to ensure there are no infection or fire risks.

3. Make some memories

If your child is spending their first Christmas in hospital, try to create some memories or ornaments such as hand/ footprints into Christmas themed images for “My First Christmas”, or “My First Christmas in Hospital.”

Christmas cards made at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Christmas memories at GOSH by Thea, age 1

4. Have a sing along

Sing hymns or Christmas songs, or sign along using Makaton. If you’re feeling creative, you could even write your own song with the Music Therapist.

5. Ask family and friends to send in a video message

Ask friends and family to help spread some festive spirit and record and send a video message. Merge these into a video compilation and make your own collection of festive wishes.

6. Take part in festive activities

There may be the opportunity to visit Santa, or take part in other themed events. There are also lots of virtual activities you can take part in outside of the hospital too.

Speak to your Play Team to find out what may be available.

Therapy Dog with wearing Reindeer antlers

Otis the Therapy Dog visits the wards

7. Plan an alternative day of celebrations

If your child is feeling sad about not being at home for the holidays or you want to celebrate with family also, perhaps try and plan an alternative day for celebration for when they're home. This way they don’t feel like they’ve missed out, and it means twice the festivities!

8. Watch some festive movies

Lots of time being spent in a hospital room means more time to watch movies! Some of our Play Team’s festive favourites include Elf and Home Alone.

9. Post a letter to Santa

If you’re writing to Santa, let him know where you’re staying this year.

To send these to Santa’s workshop, look out for post boxes on some of the wards, or ask the Play Team where you can send it.

A post box for letter to Santa on a hospital ward

A post box for letters to Santa

10. Don’t put pressure on yourself

Although the festive season might be different this year, don’t put pressure on yourself to make it the most magical season. The team at the hospital will do their best to make it as nice as possible for you.

If you can’t buy presents this year, at GOSH we often have donations that can be gifted to children. If you are concerned about anything speak to a member of the Play Team or ward staff.

Athletes to mentor children and young people having treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital

In a new partnership with Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, world class athlete mentors will support children and young people having treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Celebrating International Nurses Day

Great Ormond Street Hospital joined healthcare organisations all around the world in marking International Nurses Day 2024.

GOSH Surgeon Paolo De Coppi makes first TIME100 Health List

Professor Paolo De Coppi has been added to TIME's inaugural TIME100 Health List of the 100 most influential people in global health this year

Joint GOSH and UCLH service named as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence for Children

After a detailed review process across the UK, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission has announced that our joint GOSH/UCLH service has been designated as a Centre of Excellence.