Published: 15/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5986 Page 23
Festive panic? Fear not; HSJ has done your homework for you. Simply pull up a chair, grab a mug of mulled wine and let Emma Forrest guide you through the best places to...
...buy Christmas cards
Great Ormond Street has this shopping lark sorted, with nothing less than an online shop at which to purchase your Christmas cards, wrapping paper and presents.
HSJ's personal favourites are the snowflake (10 for£3.75), or the gold foil-highlighted three kings (£3.50 for 10) designs for more traditional tastes.
At the time of writing both were still in stock.
Christie's, the fundraising arm of Manchester's Christie Hospital, also has a selection of cards for sale. There is no mail order service, but the selection can be viewed online, ordered over the phone or bought at selected local libraries. See the website for details, but hurry as some have already sold out.
www. goshshop. co. uk
www. christies. org
www. cardaid. co. uk
Carol singing round the wards on Christmas Eve or the weeks before Christmas is still a feature at many trusts.
Many invite choirs to perform so there is usually the chance of a tune.
But the grandest carol service we have come across is a fundraising event for Papworth Hospital foundation trust tomorrow (16 December, 7.30), featuring carols and readings, in the magnificent Ely Cathedral.
There will be readings by staff.
Tickets are available from the trust's fundraising department on 01480 364237 or e-mail fundraising@papworth. nhs. uk.
By far the most fruitful hunting grounds for celeb seekers are children's hospitals. Although Great Ormond Street declined to confirm this year's celebrity visits so as not to spoil the surprise, Birmingham Children's Hospital confirmed that an annual visit from 'whoever is on at the Hippodrome' (this year's panto is Peter Pan) is virtually guaranteed.
Football fans may be interested to hear that both Aston Villa and Birmingham City players turn up at the hospital with mountains of presents every year.
More of the same generosity can be expected from Liverpool and Everton in the run-up to Christmas at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital.
A Met Office spokesman says snow can be seen anywhere in the country depending, he adds not unreasonably, on what the weather decides to do. 'Last year we had snow in Devon, ' he says, 'although it was gone by Boxing Day.' But the most likely places are the Highlands of Scotland, Aberdeen, the Lake District and East Anglia.
So if you are confined to hospital through illness or work and are hoping for a white Christmas, your best bets include the Caithness General Hosptial in Wick, Thurso's Dunbar Hospital and Aberdeen's Royal Infirmary, City Hospital and Maternity Hospital.