The holidays look different for all of us this year. Here at Christ House, we have tried to continue some traditions, while adapting others for the safety of patients and staff. The holiday celebrations started with this year’s Patient Christmas party, where patients enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies while listening to case manager Bill Hepler play Christmas carols on the piano. The event culminated with the distribution of new sweaters for each patient (thanks to Burke Presbyterian Church), and a few rounds of bingo.
Just last week, the Kairos member and staff Christmas party was held via Zoom. Even though Kairos members and staff joined from their own homes around the city, organizers made sure to incorporate engaging activities throughout. Caroling, the lighting of the candle, and a visit from Santa and the elves helped to spread joy and a feeling of togetherness for all in attendance.
So far this December, our Patient Activities Coordinator has organized patient walks, tree decorating, ornament wood burning, bingo, card writing, and other crafts. Many activities allow patients to express themselves through art, which is truly inspiring to witness. Even the simple act of sitting together while writing or playing games creates a sense of community that is perhaps the most valuable aspect of patient activities here at Christ House. Healing is easier when you’re not alone.
While writing cards to their loved ones earlier this week, some patients and staff members reflected on what the holidays mean to them. Many mentioned family, music, food, and joy. “It’s been peaceful here,” one patient noted about his time at Christ House this December. Another patient shared that the holidays are all about his children, “I love to see them happy and smiling. They bring out the kid in me.” He spent the afternoon making a card for his daughter with a hand-drawn bear on the front – her favorite animal.
Many of us have lost loved ones this year, which can change our feelings of joy around the holidays to feelings of sadness and loss. As we approach the end of 2020, these brief moments of connection with one another bring us comfort. Christmas at Christ House will not look the same this year, but our patients will continue to receive comprehensive and compassionate health care. We will continue to spread joy by providing healing and hope to those who come through our front door. And we will continue to be grateful for the support of our community through this unprecedented year.
We’d like to express our thanks to the following individuals and organizations for ensuring our patients received gifts this year, as well as to all those who contributed to our Amazon Wish List:
4600 Connecticut Avenue Condo
Burke Presbyterian Church
Charles Koch Institute
Edlavich DC Jewish Community Center
Florence, Katherine & Friends
Friends Meeting Place of Washington
Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Sigma Gamma Rho
St. Raphael Catholic Church
Women’s Mission Society of Calvary Baptist Church
We cannot thank you all enough for supporting our mission.