NICU Gift Bags – Christmas 2013
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!
For Christmas 2010 I contacted the other parents I had become friends with in the NICU and they were excited to help create 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-shirt “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! Christmas 2011 and 2012 I wasn’t allowed to deliver the bags, so just dropped them off to the front desk, and they delivered them all for me. Still felt good to deliver some cheer so planning on continuing for 2013! Crazy to think this will be Spencer’s 5th Christmas, but he will just turn 4 in November.
And for those still in the NICU, for a great holiday idea…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 (2010) 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!
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! They still look good in black/white. Just click on the following link: Christmas 2013
Some ideas for your gift bags: Journals and pen sets – Storybooks for the parents to read to their babies – Hand sanitizers (with aloe) – Toothbrush, tooth paste, disposable razors – 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 – Coffee mugs with individual packs of hot cocoa or coffee (ask a local Starbucks or coffee shop if they can donate anything). Individual packs of snacks (cookies, chips, etc.) – chocolate, makes anyone smile – small hand lotions – lip balm – small mirror (when you’re doing Kangaroo care, I had a small mirror I could see him while holding him) – preemie socks/hats.
Feel free to leave even more ideas in the comments below!
So if you want to donate to the Evergreen NICU in Kirkland, WA, let me know…already working on their bags as that was where we spent our first Christmas!!