Christmas Tree Lighting at Children’s Medical Center Plano

On the evening of Dec. 1, a crowd of all ages gathered outside Children’s Medical Center Plano, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa. When the big guy finally turned the corner, he was carried not by a sleigh and team of reindeer, but by a sirens-wailing, lights-flashing Plano Fire Department fire truck. The crowd oohed and aahed with delight.

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Santa arrives on a Plano Fire Department fire truck // photos Jennifer Shertzer

Being sick during the holidays is no fun. So Children’s Medical Center Plano, since opening in 2008, has hosted an annual Christmas Tree Lighting to bring joy to the faces of its young patients, as well as hospital staff, volunteers and their collective families. The event is completely free, and both inpatients and outpatients can attend with their families. One goal of Children’s Medical Center Plano is to be an ally for families not only when kids are sick, but when they are also well. This Christmas event is just one way the hospital aims to make life better for children.

The scene just inside the hospital’s main entrance was bustling, with nearly a dozen stations set up providing different Christmas-themed activities and a throng of children circled around each stop. Members of the Legacy Chapter of the Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center were out in full force to volunteer at the event, leading the craft stations and doling out Reindeer Food, a mixture of pretzels, crackers and marshmallows. Members of the Plano Fire Department handed out red plastic helmets and sticker badges to future firefighters. The Funnyatrics clowns blew bubbles and provided general merriment.

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After Santa arrived, he lit the giant Christmas tree outside with the help of a young patient and then headed indoors to receive the Christmas wish lists of every young child in attendance. After photos with Santa, each child in line received a free stuffed toy provided by Petsmart.

The Christmas Tree Lighting event provided a memorable night for these families and a few hours where no one thought about illness. As one mother said, “My daughter has been here for two weeks and this event has meant so much to her and my family. Thank you for doing this for us.”

More photos from the event / Click to enlarge:

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