Christmas is a special time of year for family and friends to come together and celebrate the holiday season with gatherings and traditions.
However, as paramedics, we often see people in the saddest, most desperate times of their lives. In most cases, a working paramedic’s interactions with the public usually means that someone’s family member is sick, injured or experiencing a crisis situation. And that can happen at any time of the year.
That may be why during the holiday season, Eastern Health’s Paramedicine and Medical Transport (PMT) team delights in spreading a little joy to the people and the communities we serve by participating in the Santa Claus parades across the region, a tradition we all look forward to each and every year.
For the past 10 years, our PMT division has participated in numerous parades in various communities along the Eastern Avalon – Torbay, Flatrock, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, CBS and St. John’s. As a department, it brings us great joy to be able to walk unified together and to experience the happiness and excitement on spectators’ faces.
For us, the parade is a time when we get to see the public out in their communities in high spirits, happy to see us and enjoying all the parade has to offer.
Over the years we have taken great pride and delight in building creative floats to parade through our communities. There are many that we remember with fondness, such as The North Pole – complete with Santa’s workshops and elves; Christmas in the Harbour with mummers and Purity syrup; Christmas from Newfoundland to New York; A Disney Christmas; and Christmas on Sesame Street.
As a team, we involve our families in planning for the parades. “I remember being pregnant with my first child the first year when we did the North Pole float and now, years later, my children are seven and eight years old and look forward to this tradition of building the float every year” said Danielle Christopher, quality and learning facilitator with the PMT Team at Eastern Health.
The Saturday before this parade has now become a tradition that all our children look forward to. We all get together, finish up the float, enjoy some pizza and cookies and the kids write their letters to Santa. As a group we look forward to coming together and it brings us closer together as a work family
This Christmas, we were very excited to once again participate in the annual downtown Santa Claus Parade. In the weeks leading up to the parade, a lot of work went into the construction of the float. The plan always starts with a vision, and this year we spent a lot of time together building, painting, and decorating.
The theme of the float was simply “Christmas.” To come up with the theme, as a group we began thinking about Christmas and what Christmas means to us. Throughout our discussions it seemed each idea had a common theme – family and friends. As a child, the main focus of Christmas is the pure excitement and magic of the season and the anticipation of Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. As children grow into adults, the excitement once felt as a child evolves into the feeling of Christmas, the feeling you get when you spread a little joy to others.
As we were out in the Downtown Santa Claus Parade this year, we probably saw a lot of your faces along the route. There were songs sung, stories told, traditions shared. You might have even noticed our special four-legged friends walking along with us, we were happy to include 12 of our PMT group’s dogs who were dressed in red capes to go along with the Christmas theme. We are also happy to share that we won second place for best float under 20 feet!
It’s these types of gatherings that make us believe that the magic of Christmas never ends no matter how old you get. Happy holidays from the Paramedicine and Medical Transport team and all your health-care providers at Eastern Health.
This story was written by Danielle Christopher, quality and learning facilitator, and Donovan Hann, primary care paramedic, both employees of Eastern Health’s Paramedicine and Medical Transport team.