NICU Gift Bags for Christmas
So I thought I might just post this for many who are considering doing gift bags for families in the NICU over the holidays. Spencer was born on Black Friday 2009 and we weren’t released until 64 days later so spent Christmas and New Year’s in the NICU (and yes, that’s Spencer in the picture in the stocking). We had a few former parents bring us small gift bags by and it meant the world to me. It felt special that they had taken their time out to do this for us, and the following Christmas, I contacted the NICU to see if they were doing it again so that I could contribute. Unfortunately, they weren’t doing them, so I couldn’t let that happen!
I contacted the other parents I had become friends with in the NICU and they were in to helping created some gift bags! Since Spencer’s birthday was at the end of NOV, for his 1st birthday we asked for no gifts for Spencer, but items we could donate to the parents in the NICU. Our friends and fellow preemie parents hit up Costco and we were well stocked! We had gourmet hot chocolates, gourmet candies, notepads, granola bars, hand lotions, lip balms and even a few local companies donated discount coupons. I also created and included the preemie sized t “Ho Ho Home please!” for each baby and an IAPT discount coupon. Several of us typed up our stories with before/after pictures and included those in the bags for a little dose of hope as well.
Another of the mom’s and I went up and hand delivered each bag, met many of the parents and I was lucky enough a mom let me hold her beautiful little girl…this was her second preemie and she new the routine well. I felt so blessed to hold such a beautiful little miracle once again! This year the Family Support Group is doing the bags, I am donating shirts/coupons and have also suggested they go to local restaurants to see if they can get some donations of gift cards or discounts. Maybe even see if friends want to donate gas cards for those that have to travel a long way.
And for those in the NICU, a friend blew up the picture of Spencer in the stocking and took it to the mall and had Santa hold the 8×10 picture so that we could indeed have a picture of Spencer with a mall Santa his first year!! Went to the same Santa the next year with Spencer, what a difference!! It’s hard being in the NICU anytime, but especially hard over the holidays when you want nothing more but to be around your own tree with your family, rather than an isolette in the NICU. I can tell you from experience, the first Christmas home is just that much sweeter!
Happy Holidays to all, and thank you to those that are paying it forward!
If you are doing gift bags for your NICU, please feel free to include a discount coupon to It’s a Preemie Thing in each one! Just click on the following link: Christmas 2012
Handful of Hope delivers items to the DuBois NICU and here are some ideas from them! What about journals and pen sets. (Great for moms to record those precious first moments). Storybooks for the parents to read to their babies. Hand sanitizers. Toothbrush, tooth paste, disposable razors (all of my preemies were emergencies and I literally only had the clothes on my back…could be the same for other moms). Puzzle books like seek and finds or crosswords for the parents to pass the time in case they can’t hold their little ones. Reusable water bottles (our NICU had an ice and water dispensing machine in the parents’ lounge). Coffee mugs with individual packs of hot cocoa. Individual packs of snacks (cookies, chips, etc.) so the parents don’t have to leave their little ones side for a snack.
Feel free to leave even more ideas in the comments below!