My sister is a nurse on the neurology floor at Boston Children’s Hospital and this year she and her roommate are working on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Last week they went shopping for Christmas outfits that they can wear to cheer up their patients. They came back with Christmas-colored striped socks, elf shoes, reindeer headbands, and a pouch to fill with candy canes to give to their patients. At first I laughed thinking of them parading around the hospital in these outfits but then I thought of the entire floor filled with kids and how sad they would be to not be in the comfort of their homes at this time.

This got me thinking – what do other hospitals do for their patients around the holiday season? The answer is A LOT. It is no one’s wish – especially kids – to be in the hospital around or on the holidays and hospitals throughout the country are doing what they can to make patients comfortable and cheerful during this holiday season. Below is a list of four hospitals doing unique things for their patients:

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital: 160 3-foot artificial trees were delivered to 160 patient rooms at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital through the Tiny Trees initiative. The program was started by Melissa France, mother of a leukemia patient treated at the hospital, to show her appreciation to the staff. A majority of the trees donated come decorated with a theme such as Frozen, Matchbox Cars and Spiderman. The goal is to give the patients of the oncology wing a sense of normalcy around the holiday season.

Utah State Hospital: For nearly 70 years, the hospital has been participating in its Forgotten Patient Christmas Project. The program is designed to brighten patients’ spirits while celebrating the holidays in the hospital. Sponsors are recruited by the program. Each receives information such as clothing sizes, hobbies and interests as well as any patient requests. Sponsors are free to purchase whatever they’d like to give whether it’s on the list or not. They then deliver the packages to the hospital and volunteers sort and label gifts and stockings which are delivered and enjoyed by patients on Christmas morning. The goal is to give every patient in the hospital a special delivery – and a smile – on Christmas.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital: Kids spend plenty of time writing their Christmas list for Santa but how many get the opportunity to actually see and talk to him? The Santa program was developed seven years ago by Cisco Systems to provide some holiday cheer to patients and their families during their hospital visit to UC David Children’s Hospital. This year patients and their families gathered in the Survey Center, Pediatric Infusion Room, Pediatrics Unit and the Pediatric ICU to talk with Santa on a TV about their Christmas plans, the North Pole and what they want for Christmas. Patients who could not join got to chat with him using an iPad. Watch here.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Children’s of Los Angeles’ unique Holiday From the Heart Program serves the families of patients who are financially unable to provide for themselves and their children during the holiday season. There are several ways volunteers can become involved including Gifts for Patient Families which allows sponsors to purchase basic essentials such as toothbrushes, gas cards, and diapers. Another option is Sponsor a Family which allows a volunteer to “provide a holiday” for a whole family, whether they shop for a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas gifts.

There are many more hospitals that are making this holiday season special for their patients. How will you make the holidays special for those around you?