Start Planning Now for Holiday Visits

by Freddy Groves


It’s not too early to start planning a holiday party for local veterans

in hospitals, nursing homes or rehab centers. The first step is to look

at your resources. Are you in a veterans service group? Or will you be by



Call the intended location about hosting a holiday party. Inquire about a

date in December and its setup. Is there a dining room where you can hold

a party? Or will you be going from bed to bed in a ward? How many beds?

Decide what you can afford to do. A box of small gifts for each veteran —

complete with tissue paper, holiday wrapping paper and a bow — is ideal.

If that’s not possible, host a pizza/snack party. Estimate costs now so

you’ll be prepared, and start taking cash donations from your group. Get

your friends and group members to start collecting shoeboxes, the ideal

container for gifts.


Ask medical staff for suggestions for the gift boxes, but consider puzzle

books and mechanical pencils, handheld games, military caps or T-shirts

(call local recruiters), pens and stationery, thick socks, handkerchiefs,

small calendars, phone cards, $5 hospital canteen coupons and small

baggies of holiday candies and chocolates.


If you’ll have a space for a party, arrange for decorated tables. Ask what

the facility can provide to save money. Use a portable CD player with

holiday music and have a Christmas carol sing-along. Even better: Invite

someone you know who plays an electronic piano. Find a Santa suit and

someone to wear it.


Enlist helpers from your group of retired military. If you have active

military contacts, contact them too. Remember: The best gift you can give

hospitalized veterans is your presence and your ear.


Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions,

but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to


(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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