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Hip2Save This Holiday: Musical Traditions

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Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post Submitted By Reader DeeDee…

A number of years ago, my husband and I decided to add a new tradition to our Christmas festivities. We wanted to do something special that our kids would enjoy, and at the same time put the focus back on the real meaning of Christmas – giving rather than receiving.  Since our family is fairly musical, we decided to go to a local nursing home and bring a little Christmas cheer to the residents by putting on a musical program.

Our 4 kids, ages 3 to 12 at the time, were unsure what to expect but became more and more excited as the day of our program drew near.  That night, we sang as a family and played a variety of instruments, even involving our little 3 year old in the singing of “Jingle Bells” and “Away in A Manger”.  The elderly people in attendance sang along…many of them out of tune…clapped to the familiar melodies, and then gave my children many handshakes, hugs, and choruses of “THANK YOU!” before we left that night.  Afterwards we surprised our children by taking them out for ice cream to thank them for giving of themselves so selflessly. It was a wonderful evening that touched all of our hearts and left us with cherished memories for years to come.

Years have passed by, but we still continue this family tradition.  Every year my children look forward to going to the nursing home to sing and perform for these precious people.  I think through this small act of service, my children have learned that it is definitely more blessed to give than to receive, and to me….this is what Christmas is truly all about.


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24 Hip Readers Commented

  • Debbie says:

    Thank you for sharing such a good Christmas story!

  • LoriSaves says:

    So I have to say it- the TRUE meaning of Christmas? The birth of the Savior. Not “giving, instead of receiving”

    So many people forget that, and take Christ out of Christmas :)

    • Cari says:

      Not everyone is a Christian….

      • Laura says:

        Christmas has and always will be about Christ regardless if people acknowledge Him or not.

        • Cara says:

          Well…that’s not actually true (and I say this as a Christian, for the record). The ancient Babylonians celebrated their god Isis on December 25 long before the birth of Christ. It involved parties and gift-giving — sound familiar?
          In Rome, the Winter Solstice was the big thing as well as a Yule festival in Europe celebrating a sun god.
          Christmas in the sense we think of it was begun in 350 AD by Pope Julius I — a theory of why he picked December 25 is to make it easier on people to convert, since they wouldn’t have to give up their traditions.
          So yeah, let’s not rewrite history to make Christmas “always and ever about Christ” — simply not true.

          • Sara says:

            Cara, (and I also say this as a fellow Christian as well) you ROCK! Thank you for sharing your knowledge in such a tactful way. I think there are many people that don’t realize this, and I hope your comment enlightens some! Merry Christmas.

    • Lisa says:

      Lori, my family is as much into all the typical Christmas stuff as everyone else. However, your comment made me think about the conversation I had with my 11 year old daughter a couple days ago. We were talking about Christmas and how we teach our kids to believe in Santa, which is crazy because he’s not a real person. She went on to say why do we put up a tree in our house and buy all these gifts of for each other…seems like it doesn’t have anything to do with the “real meaning of Christmas”.

    • La says:

      Come on, Lori. This is a great story! And, if you really want to get technical, “the Savior” was not born on Christmas.

  • Farrah says:

    What a blessing!

  • Marie says:

    How neat that you have such a musical family!

  • Sandy says:

    God bless your family!!!! We need more like yours:) Ours is not all musically inclined, but we tried! I know the residents love visitors of any kind, any time. Thank you for giving!

  • Amy Hager says:

    I went to college with her and her husband! They are truly wonderful people! Thanks DeeDee for reminding me of what Christmas is really about! Miss you dearly!

  • Cara says:

    How great!
    When I was in high school, our high school choir used to go sing in several nursing homes before the holidays every year — we always all really looked forward to it and loved seeing people’s faces light up and getting handshakes and hugs from them afterwards.
    Now that my grandma is in a nursing home-type residence, my mom plays the piano there on at least a weekly basis, and she says it’s amazing how transforming music is — one elderly resident was doing The Twist last week!
    And this video just shows the power of music played in a nursing home:)
    (If you don’t trust my link, just search The Piano Guys Charlie Brown theme on YouTube — I promise you won’t regret it;)

  • Friend says:

    Aww, that brought tears to my eyes! My grandparents used to play at nursing homes and we would dance and dance! What a sweet thing to do!

  • Maysie says:

    That is so heart warming :)

  • Jean says:

    Our church and also my 4H club did something similar to this each year. The residents really enjoyed it! A few other times we took pets (dogs) to the nursing home and the residents loved petting them. I don’t think some of the residents get many visitors so they appreciate having guests come in. DeeDee, it is very nice what your family does…makes me want to try that again where I live now…

  • Ashley57 says:

    Good for you! I love hearing this kind of story.

  • Carole Baker says:

    That is SO SWEET Collin! I’m glad I popped by to lurk and see what you’re up to. I love it!

  • Jill says:

    This is awesome. Thank you for being such sweet people and loving others who don’t have much visitors. Wish I could play an piano or sing! :)

  • Holly Marie says:

    This is too precious and so great! Cannot wait until I have kids one day!

  • Joy says:

    Great gift to give and more important to receive DeeDee. Your children will get more from sharing their God given gifts to those in nursing homes than they will ever imagine. I work w/ the elderly and some of my clients are in senior living. Many activities that involve music; crafts; etc…etc.. the pepole charge a fee for. Small fee but still charge. So when I see a family like yours that does this from the goodness of your hearts.. It just blesses my heart even more. We get volunteers all the time, but I wish we got more like yourselves. Even though my senior living communites are made up of wealthy members.. that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy some volunteer music once in a while..I still think a gift like this would be so AWESOME! One of my clients I work with 3 days a week.. she can’t remember what I told her 5 mins. ago or my name..but play some songs or singing old classics..and she will sing right along and tap her feet.. I just LOVE it.. God be with you and your family during this holiday season. “I Thank your family for what you do”. After 9 years of working with elderly as a job, I know many of the oldies but goodies myself. I find myself humming them in my car or shower..it’s cute. I mean.. “Bicycle built for two”, Don’t sit under the apple tree”..”take me out to the ball field”.. ..omgosh.. the list goes on and on.. Imagine me in my mid 40s singing these tunes all the time now. Thanks for sharing the pictures too.. Merry Christmas. And to those that ALWAYS bring up the Christ and Christmas issue every single year.. just enjoy the story that folks like DeeDee share people.. Thnx..

  • Melissa R says:

    My loved one is in a nursing home…the residents love music and children! I encourage anyone with musical abilities and/or children to volunteer to entertain/visit with the residents all year long. *YOU* will be glad you did!

    Even if you aren’t musical, you could take some small gifts from your stash to share with them. (Trial size lotions, lip balm, tissues, trial size shampoo, etc.) You’ll make their faces light up!

  • Laura says:

    I am a nurse in a nursing home. I am very appreciative of families and groups that do this type of thing. It really is enjoyed by many of the residents. Even people with very advanced dementia are often calmed by music (especially familiar songs like Christmas carols).

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