For many people Christmas is full of traditions. Everyone approaches the festive period in their own special way, putting their unique spin on how, when and why to do things and hoping these traditions are passed on through generations. Last year a new Christmas tradition was started at Altodigital called the “12 Days of Christmas”.
In essence the “12 Days of Christmas” is a toy donation and delivery program aimed at children’s hospices across the UK, over a twelve day period in December. However, this description although accurate, does not really do justice to the wider cause of why we now choose to do this each year.
Speaking of traditions seems so trivial when you think that for thousands of families across the UK, rather than wondering what traditions they can introduce to their Child on Christmas Day, they are simply wondering whether their Child will be able to spend Christmas Day at home. In many heart-breaking situations families are faced with the unimaginable realisation that it may be their child’s last Christmas, driving them to try and make it as special and magical as they possibly can.
The importance of a children’s hospice to these families is beyond comprehension. In describing their own services Children’s Hospice South West use these poignant words, “For so many families the luxury of being able to sit around a table and enjoy a hot Christmas dinner is only possible when they stay with us. The challenges of caring are scooped up by our care teams, allowing the whole family to enjoy this special time together, relax and create precious memories.”
Helping to create these precious memories and magical moments for these wonderfully brave families is the driving force behind why we do the “12 Days of Christmas”.
Choosing the hospices is always a challenge as they all do such a fantastic job, so the majority of the choices were left to our regional offices. Each office chose a local children’s hospice and a few more were chosen personally from other individuals across the business. In the end a list of 13 children’s hospices was decided on. These were as follows:
Martin House Children’s Hospice
Keech Hospice Care
Claire House Children’s Hospice
Children’s Hospice South West
Naomi House Children’s Hospital
Chestnut Tree House
Jigsaw Cumbria Children’s Hospice
Little Havens Hospice
Shooting Star Chase Hospice
Haven House Children’s Hospice
Demelza Children’s Hospice
Providing gifts that would create lasting memories was imperative, so a mixture of board games, boys, girls and unisex toys were sourced and boxes were filled with the large variety of toys.
To ensure staff and parents were able to hand pick the most appropriate toys/games for each child the gifts were left unwrapped, but wrapping paper, tape and tags were provided so that the wrapping could be done upon selecting the toy, and the children still got that sense of Christmas magic when opening their personalised gifts.
Below are a couple of the heart-warming images we have received in return…
Jigsaw Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice
“The presents will allow us all to have hours of fun and there were lots of happy laughter and squeals of excitements when we received the presents.”
Haven House Children’s Hospice
Altodigital CEO James Abrahart and his wife Jacqui, originally came up with the idea for the program in 2014, and this year had the privilege to personally deliver the gifts to two of the hospices:
Little Havens Children’s Hospice
James and Jacqui with some of the staff at Little Havens
Richard House Children’s Hospice
James and Jacqui making the first delivery of the “12 Days of Christmas” to Richard House
“Being involved in such a tremendous cause is humbling to say the least and really brought to life the amazing work children’s hospices across the UK do on a daily basis. The care and attention they give to the families in their care is truly remarkable.” James Abrahart, Altodigital CEO.
As part of this year’s “12 Days of Christmas” we also included a charity that Altodigital have been involved with for a number of years – Promise Dreams, who make the dreams come true of terminally ill children and their families across the UK. Promise Dreams made us aware of 60 families who we could send gifts to and a total of 300 toys and games were sent equally to these households, to help put smiles on the faces of their incredibly brave children on such a special day at such a difficult time.
“Our families are absolutely over the moon with their deliveries – it’s really brought some magic to their Christmas so thank you so much.” Amy Johnson, Promise Dreams.
John Mackin pictured above (centre) making a delivery to Demelza Children’s Hospice was the logistical mastermind that enabled 1300 presents to reach 74 different destinations in a period of 12 working days.
Our hope is that through these gifts there will be a period of time this Christmas where families who are having to go through such pain and hardship will have the opportunity to laugh and smile together, and create memories that will last forever.
From everyone associated with Altodigital, we wish you and your families’ joy and happiness throughout this festive period