Santa will be visiting sick children, chimneys and security guards notwithstanding, and hospitals will be doing their best to ease their pain with presents and festive menus on Christmas Day.
At Wellington Hospital, patients will be able to choose either glazed champagne ham with pineapple sauce, roast lamb and gravy, or spinach, pumpkin and feta parcels. Dessert is Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, or jelly and icecream.
Children's Hospital clinical nurse specialist Sinead McCarthy said staff tried to make the hospital feel like home. A senior doctor dressed up every year, often as a penguin, and led a choir of medical students in Christmas carols.
The Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation organised decorations and presents.
"We always make sure the children get a present to wake up to. It can be anything from your Lego to your dollies, or your board games, and teenagers might get nail polish.
"They are sick children, but I think for one day they are able to forget that."
Staff at Whanganui and Palmerston North hospitals are expecting to serve about 340 Christmas lunches, including roast lamb and turkey with homemade stuffing, gravy and roast vegetables.
For afters, there's steamed plum pudding with brandy sauce, or pavlova with berry sauce.
Hutt Hospital patients will get the choice of roast turkey or vegetable samosas, served with roast potato, minted peas and carrot rings, and Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.
In Gisborne Hospital, patients will get roast turkey, pork, or asparagus quiche on Christmas-themed trays decorated with a harakeke (flax) flowers.
Lunch arrives with a Christmas cracker and fruit mince pie, and there's an after-dinner mint with the evening meal.
At Waikato Hospital, patients can choose from roast turkey with cranberry sauce, apricot and walnut stuffing, roast lamb with mint sauce and new potatoes, minced lamb, or fresh vegetarian lasagne topped with mozzarella cheese. Dessert is either mini pavlovas and cream with fresh berry sauce, Christmas pudding or icecream.
Food services manager Wendy Dodunski said the extra cost of this menu was nominal, and worked out to be about the same, as there were typically fewer patients in hospital on Christmas Day. "It is important we make it special."
- The Dominion Post
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