Hospitals celebrate Christmas cheer with newborns ‘stocking stuffer’ tradition

Dec 22, 2023, 3:31 PM

(photo: Intermountain Health)...

(photo: Intermountain Health)

(photo: Intermountain Health)

RIVERTON — This time of year, Intermountain Health Riverton Hospital sends families home with unique stocking stuffers.  This hospital  has a tradition of putting babies born in December into Christmas stockings.

“So the holidays here at Riverton are really fun. When we opened in 2009, our labor and delivery team came together and wanted to do something special for the families that delivered here at Riverton. So what they did is they decided to create big stockings that we could fit the babies in,” Amber Nielson, nurse manager for mom and baby, said.

Jeanna Whipple has worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery for 30 years.

“Oh my goodness childbirth is the best,” she said.

Whipple was there at the opening of the Riverton Hospital when the tradition began.

“So when we first started here our manager came, Tiffany Spencer was her name, she came to us one day and she said, ‘we’re going to sew stockings for everybody born in December,’ and we did,” Whipple said. “…We all came in, we cut them up, everybody took some home and sewed them up. Everybody that was born in December got a stocking and the babies get put down in them when they get taken over (to the mothers) – it’s so cute.”

For the first few years, the nurses volunteered their time and sewed all of the stockings themselves. They tried to get them all ready by the end of November to be prepared for the busy December season.

“I bet we sewed about 150 because I think we expected about 100 births,” Whipple said. “It was really fun too, I was like, ‘This is a really fun tradition.’ We kind of all came in and we were cutting them out together but we would take them home and sew them separately, whoever had a sewing machine.”

Now the stockings are purchased, not sewn by staff, but the stocking tradition carries on.

“So with our increased volumes, of course, it’s really hard to sew stockings every year plus COVID, that kind of but a cramp on everything. And so we now purchase the stockings but we still continue with the tradition,” Nielson said. “We thought it was very important for our families that deliver here during this time of year.”

“So we do like an hour and a half two-hour recovery after the baby is born and then when it’s time to move them over to the mom/baby side, we give them their stocking,” Whipple said.

Riverton isn’t the only hospital with traditions to spread holiday cheer. Other hospitals including Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden and Intermountain Medical Center in Murray offer special Christmas photos in the neonatal ICUs.

(photo: Intermountain Health)

Santa poses for photos holding the preemie babies and those photos are given to parents as a keepsake.

“Having your baby in the neonatal ICU can be difficult for parents any time of year, and it’s especially true during the holidays. The Santa photos are a fun way to make the best of having your baby in the hospital,” Alice Casper, nurse manager of the neonatal ICU at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, said.

Both Whipple and Nielson lit up when they spokes about the babies and what it meant to those families.

“It really is a nice tradition, Christmas is always such a great time of year anyway and I think the fact that you have  a December baby just makes it extra special,” Whipple said.

“I think every year. We just look forward to it. We know stocking season is coming and it’s fun. We love it,” Nielson said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

FILE (Chopper 5)...

Eliza Pace

Free, family-friendly 4th of July celebration to be held at the Gateway

The Gateway is preparing to host a 4th of July celebration complete with live music and fireworks. 

2 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises Utahns with free gas cards and bro hugs at Sugar House Park

It's Wednesday, which means Casey Scott was surprising a few lucky Utahns with $50 gas cards, Sinclair Oil prize packs and bro hugs! Today, Casey was running around Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City.

3 hours ago

A man and young girl were injured following a motorcycle accident on Tuesday....

Eliza Pace

19-year-old man arrested in connection to Salt Lake City homicide

A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing 30-year-old Nico Christopher Patino in May.

3 hours ago

Police arresting the suspect in a double homicide in St. George on June 19, 2024....

Josh Ellis

Two people shot, killed in southern Utah home; suspect taken into custody

Police say two people were shot and killed and officers issued a shelter-in-place order as they search for a suspect who is considered armed and dangerous.

11 hours ago

FILE (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)...

Debbie Worthen

Justice Department report alleges Utah in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act

A Justice Department report released Tuesday suggests Utah is segregating youth and adults with disabilities.

19 hours ago

An update from the Utah Women & Leadership Project addresses sexual harassment complaints across th...

Alexandrea Bonilla, KSL NewsRadio

Report finds fewer Utah workers experiencing sexual harassment

An update from the Utah Women & Leadership Project addresses sexual harassment complaints across the state and concludes Utah is seeing fewer sexual harassment reports.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Hospitals celebrate Christmas cheer with newborns ‘stocking stuffer’ tradition