Beating the Christmas Blues

How a hospital room began to look—and feel—a lot like Christmas

Posted in , Dec 10, 2014

Sally with baby daughter Zoe. Photo courtesy Sally Hall.

Today's guest blogger is Sally Hall who describes one Christmas spent in the hospital and the power of a gift.

I have to admit, while I had heard people talk about the Christmas blues, I had personally never been able to understand them. I mean come on—the birth of the most special baby celebrated with family, friends, cookies, lights and music.

What’s not to like? I even love the cold weather. A chance to bundle up in a big quilt while watching the latest Hallmark Christmas movie? Yes, please! Then there are the candlelight Christmas Eve services and live nativities. I loved it all. I didn’t see a thing to be blue about.

Then in one year, my husband and I lost three parents between us. We went from having both sets of parents just a short drive away to three of them suddenly in heaven and one wonderfully sweet, but grieving mother-in-law here with us.

Forget blue, I was feeling downright gray.

That first Christmas without them is still a blur. I know we had a tree, presents, a turkey and lots of smiling pictures of our kids, but honestly my heart just wasn’t into it. I couldn’t shake the feeling of something—or someones—missing.

My heart was too heavy to be filled with cheer. Then it was over, and I felt even worse. How could I have let my favorite time of the year slip by like that? I was determined the next Christmas would be better.

Sally and baby Zoe.And it was…at first.

I had just given birth to our third child, our first girl. That alone brought so much joy! Her first Christmas wasn’t going to be anything but light and joy!

Or so I thought.

Mid-December I was admitted to the hospital with a very severe infection from my c-section. My baby girl, Zoe, was only 4 weeks old and for her safety we were separated.

I was put into the infectious disease ward and saw my sweet baby and wonderful young boys only through cell phone photos.

I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t stop crying even to give my information to the nurses. I cried constantly, that is, when I wasn’t in a fever-induced, dream-like state.

It was right after a very painful procedure that it happened—I gave up. I was in and out of consciousness, crying in pain even while sleeping and had decided that there was no silver lining this time.

My baby girl’s first Christmas was going on without me, and I was staring at the drab, cement walls of the hospital, struggling to keep my eyes and heart open. As much as my husband didn’t want to leave my side, he had to be both mom and dad. I have never felt so alone.

When I finally did manage to open my eyes, I couldn’t believe what I saw: my friend, a mother of five, during the busiest time of the year, sitting at the end of my bed with a coffee and my favorite magazine.  

I couldn’t stay awake for long, but when I opened my eyes again I thought I was dreaming. I saw Christmas lights and a blurry figure hanging up ornaments all over my room. In my drug-induced state, I honestly thought it was an elf at first!

When my brain cleared a bit, I realized it was my sister-in-law–a very busy mom of four, taking time to make sure it felt like Christmas no matter where I was.

The visitors and love just kept coming. One of my sweet friends even brought a Christmas tree, and another came all the way from Oklahoma just to sit with me.

I still missed my family, but with each visitor my loneliness faded a little. Family and friends brought pictures of my newborn girl, stories and cards from my boys and so much light and joy! 

It was finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas…even in the hospital.

Miracle of all miracles, I was able to give my family a present after all—to be home on Christmas Eve.

While I don’t remember a lot from that Christmas because of my pain level and meds, I will always remember what my then seven year old said when he saw me lying on the couch in front of the fireplace: “Best. Christmas. Present. EVER!”

It may not have been the best, but it’s one of my top five, for sure.

I had gotten so caught up in our family traditions–always being the planner for the holidays, making sure this year was bigger, better and brighter than the year before which was filled with such loss—that I forgot what it’s really all about.

It always comes back to giving.

God giving His Son–knowing what we would do to Him—is bigger than anything I can imagine, but He did it anyway because He loves us more than we can humanly understand.

While proof of His love is all around us, it’s even more evident this time of year. So when I woke up to all my Christmas elves showering me with love in the hospital, I was reminded of the power of a gift.

Whether it be a cup of coffee, a listening ear, some Christmas cheer or messages from home, those gifts brought me out of my funk and back into the true Christmas spirit.


Sally Hall is a part-time freelance writer, full-time wife, mom and homeschooler and a foodie at heart living in North Texas.

She has written for a series of women’s travel books, homeschooling publications, international ministries and is currently finishing her own book. Follow her random musings over on her blog


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