At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we do our best to make the holidays special for patients and families. Here is a small sample of what we did during the recent holidays across CHOP.

Santa Squad

Santa Squad Rein-Dog Morty and his human Marcy Derin joined Newton Buchanan (Santa), Stefanie Groff (Mrs. Claus) and Susan Axelson (elf) as one of nine Santa Squads around the hospital on Dec. 21.

“Newton, Susan and I sang to and held almost every baby in the Cardiac Unit,” says Groff. “I learned that our families love Christmas — whether they celebrate it or not — because of the kindness that comes with this time of year and the reminders of the simple gift of time or a song.”

Holiday Spirit in King of Prussia

Kristin Greene, MS, CCC/SLP, shared how her coworker, Christine Klimowicz, MA, CCC-SLP, volunteered at the Main Hospital’s Snowflake station, “but this year she found a way to bring cheer to our site more directly.”

Klimowicz collected hundreds of toys in donation boxes on each floor of the building, from individual donors as well as larger donations from local businesses. During the week of Dec. 19, she distributed the gifts to the providers at King of Prussia to share with their patients.

“The children were so elated that many of them proudly showed off their gifts during the entirety of their appointments,” Greene says.

Joy in the Primary Care sites

Social Work and Spiritual Care partnered with Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy for a second year to make sure children in the primary care sites also received donated toys. This collaboration allowed some of the neediest of families have a brighter Christmas.

“It has become popular and a gratifying experience for not only families but also staff,” says Laura Palacio, LSW, social work supervisor.