Our goal is to make visits to people in nursing homes, hospitals and other residential institutions an integral part of America’s holiday experience.
The first Holiday Project visit occurred on Christmas Day, 1972 when eight people joined together in San Francisco to visit patients at Laguna Honda Hospital. Afterwards, as the volunteers enjoyed lunch together, they decided they would do it again the following year and ask others to join them.
This year, The Holiday Project celebrates our 51st year of organizing visits. When we began, very few people, especially those who did not have family in facilities, visited people who lived there. Sometimes, staff at these facilities did not even want visitors. One volunteer recounts her experience of a Christmas Day visit to Bellevue Hospital in New York City:
“The third time I made the request, the man I spoke to finally gave in but he said, ‘Only if it does not interfere with me watching the football game.’ On Christmas morning, about 20 of us arrived and... we split into small groups and started going room to room with our songs, small gifts (that we were told had to be unwrapped), and big smiles. ‘What’s going on?’ we heard from the TV room as staff members came to see what had caused a commotion. The patients were talking and singing and … smiling! By the end of the visit, the man I had originally spoken to came over to me and apologized for his reluctance. He told me this was the best Christmas he had ever seen at Bellevue and asked us to come again.”
Through the years, our volunteers have visited with more than a million and a half people. Our motto, “You’re the gift!”, symbolizes our gratitude to our volunteers who achieved this accomplishment.
Join The Holiday Project for a visit to a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. Cards and gifts are also being accepted.
COVID-19 restrictions may apply. Virtual visits are possible at some institutions.
Please contact us for more information: