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Holiday Season is Festive and Fun at Craig Hospital

December 26, 2013

The holidays, generally a time when families gather together to maintain traditions, can be difficult when a family member is hospitalized. Craig Hospital creates a festive and fun atmosphere for patients through a variety of activities involving humor, music, food and spirituality.


Approximately 75 to 100 hospital staff, patients and their families donned holiday attire for the hospital-wide Fun or Festive Holiday Sweater Day Dec. 13. The event was sponsored by The Brew on Broadway, which donated $1 to Craig Hospital for every beverage purchased by patrons wearing a festive holiday sweater. The event was started in 2012, when Chris Agresta rallied occupational and physical therapists to participate.

Everyone reacted with laughter and smiles. It was a great day to be at work. You could tell there was a lightheartedness to the day,” Agresta says of the 2013 event.

Funds raised will benefit Craig Hospital’s Therapeutic Recreation programs and its adaptive health and wellness center, the PEAK Center.

For many, the holiday season begins when they hear the first holiday song. Since the early 1980s, Craig Hospital has held a Holiday Sing. Margie Shockley directed and organized the event from its start through 2012. Director of Occupational Therapy Ellen Severe was choir director; Victor Towle was responsible for organizing solo and small groups; and Denise O’Dell helped coordinate the 2013 program.

Holiday Sing ReinPuppy!

Holiday Sing Reinpuppy!

Holiday Sing ReinDog!

Holiday Sing Reindog!

Patients, families and volunteers joined hospital staff for the Holiday Sing Dec. 19. After 10 rehearsals starting in late October, the 20–30 member choir was ready to perform holiday favorites, including “Silent Night,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Jingle Bells” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

Severe says the event is very popular with patients. “We also put it on our TV channel to the floors for those that can’t come down to the gym. We try to make sure patients know we are family, and they are not where they want to be right now, but are going to be soon!” she says.

Another patient favorite was a holiday buffet in the cafeteria, complete with traditional fare and holiday décor. The 2013 event was the last organized by Wes Johnson, who recently retired as director of food services.

A nondenominational service, another long-held tradition at Craig Hospital, was held Christmas Eve. Chaplain Candi Boyd says several volunteers helped the service to run smoothly. She says Christmas can be a difficult time for people to be away from home dealing with feelings of being unsettled about their future and recovery from their injuries.