Giving the gift of magic this Christmas

Every year I wax lyrical about how much I love the holiday season. I love Christmas and New Year’s, and I love all the activities and traditions that go along with this holiday season. Christmas is a time for spending with family and loved ones, and staying close to home, relaxing and curling up together, eating good food and exchanging gifts. It’s got a special magic all of its own, one that we wait all year to feel.

Last Christmas I was privileged to spend in our local children’s hospital with one of my own children. I know most people wouldn’t call it a privilege to spend the holidays in the hospital, but let me tell you, the staff and volunteers went out of their way to make the season magical for all of the children who were there. Decorations abounded, carollers sang, Nurse Dave hung baubles in his beard, and yes, Father Christmas visited – on Christmas morning, each child woke up to brightly wrapped gifts from Santa. It was one of the most magical Christmases I’ve ever experienced.

This year, I’d love to encourage you to contact your local children’s hospital and see if you can help to make Christmas magical for some of the children and families who aren’t able to spend the holidays at home. Be guided by their needs, as they know best what will make a difference to the children in their care and may have specific (and necessary) criteria for donations. But know that if you are able to contribute, you’ll be creating the kind of Christmas magic that is not only seen, but felt with the heart.

To all the children, and most especially those in hospital this Christmas, I hope it’s magical.

P.S. Did you know that a national outbreak of whooping cough has just been declared? 1,315 cases have been reported since the beginning of 2017, and as Christmas and New Year’s are coming up, it’s important that you are extra-vigilant as you and your family gather to celebrate, in order to protect young babies. Most adults who have whooping cough don’t realise they have it, but it is incredibly contagious. Babies under the age of one are the most vulnerable, as they won’t have received all of the immunisations needed for full immunity. The best way you can protect your baby is for pregnant women to receive their free whooping cough immunisation between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy, and to take your baby for their free immunisations when they are six weeks, three months, and five months old. When I was pregnant with my youngest child, I received my whooping cough immunisation at 28 weeks, and I’m so glad that I did. When I was in hospital with one of my children last Christmas, there was a baby with whooping cough there, and it was awful to witness. Please talk to your GP or LMC about whooping cough and any concerns you might have about the immunisation. 

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