For the big holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, every effort is made to keep people out of the hospital. However, there are those times when it’s unavoidable. Most hospitals try to have special food that day, and some offer special meals for family and friends.
Thanksgiving is generally celebrated with the four F’s-food, family, friends and football. People have unique customs and ways they like to celebrate the day. It may include attending a football game, watching the Macy’s Parade, preparing a very large meal, sharing what you are grateful for this past year, and spending an evening in front of the fire, playing games, watching movies, or telling stories, including the “remember the time.” If this is sounding a little to “Norman Rockwell,” keep in mind that most people would rather be someplace other than a hospital on Thanksgiving Day. A hospital stay can even make people nostalgic for Uncle Ted’s long-winded stories and Aunt Tessie’s really awful cranberry sauce.
As with the other suggestions for Unique Gifts for Hospital Patients, remember the best gift you can bring is yourself. So when you are planning to visit someone on Thanksgiving, think about how they would normally be spending this day. What aspects can you bring to the hospital for them to enjoy? It may require a bit of creativity, but consider the following:
• If attending the local high school football game is a usual part of Thanksgiving, video the game and watch it together later in the day or over the weekend.
• Watch the Macy’s Parade and football games together. If a movie is more appropriate, consider some of the following Thanksgiving related movies:
- Alice’s Restaurant: \
- Pieces of April
- Home for the Holidays
- Son in Law
- The Blind Side
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- Hannah and Her Sisters
- The House of Yes
- The Ice Storm
- Miracle on 34th Street
• Since Thanksgiving is all about family gatherings, this is a good time to talk about genealogy. Bring a printable family tree, and work on it together or leave it as an activity they can do when they feel up to it.
• Connect them virtually with multiple family and friends Thanksgivings by using Skype and other on-line chat devices.
• Bring favorite Thanksgiving treats-provided they can eat them. Might want to avoid Aunt Tessie’s bad cranberry sauce though.
• Since Thanksgiving is rooted in the history of the Indians and pilgrims, consider some books on this topic such as 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac from National Geographic in cooperation with the Plymouth Plantation
• Paint fingernails or toe nails (check with the hospital staff to make sure this is okay) with special Thanksgiving designs.
• If they like to play board games, bring some of their favorites. There are lots of travel versions available at places like WalMart and even the Dollar Store. If they prefer video games, and like football, bring one of the NCAA football games. Since the 2013 version is coming out, you can probably get a good deal on the 2012 game.