Monday, 9 January 2017

Santa Flight 2016

Some of us might be sitting at home wondering “What exactly is the Santa Flight?”

If you happen to be one of those people, I can assure you, you’re not alone. When I found myself standing in Ms. Gallen’s office about a month ago, I was wondering the same thing.

I was fortunate enough to have had the honor of being chosen to go on the Santa Flight this year, as well as nine other girls in our year. We prepared our Christmas carols and co-coordinating Christmas costumes on short notice, and before we knew it, we were on our way to Dublin Airport. We busied ourselves on board the coach with face painting and rehearsals, which made it seem like only a second before we were staring Dublin airport in the face.

We arrived at the airport with reindeer, holly and snowflakes painted on our faces, with Santa hats on and guitars in hand. Walking through the airport embarrassed some of us momentarily as heads turned in our direction to look at our matching Christmas attire. It wasn’t long until Ms. McHugh had us belting out ‘Frosty the Snowman’ while we searched for our terminal. We had now doubled the size of our audience, but at this point we were positive any attention on us was good; Christmas had come and it was only the 7th of December.

To our surprise, we were greeted by a group of elves, members of the press, a filming crew and a choir. The place was buzzing with anticipation for the children's arrival. ‘Santa’s helpers’ (as was our official title for the day) were only a small piece of the puzzle for the Cityjet Santa Flight. Everyone was enthusiastic about making this a memorable day for the young Temple Street patients and their families.

As soon as the children arrived we were in our places with guitars at the ready to play our Christmas songs. About ten songs later (along with countless photographs) we were ready to get on the plane. On board the plane the songs continued as well as extremely cheesy Christmas-themed jokes. Throughout the flight we kept our eyes peeled for Rudolph’s red nose, which would be the easiest indication of where Santa’s sleigh was. We all looked out the windows, when all of a sudden Santa himself arrived on board the plane. The children were the most excited of all of us to meet him. He spoke to each child and shook their hand, promising to meet them again very soon.

Following the flight, we headed back into the airport where a party awaited us. The children were gobsmacked to see tables full of gingerbread men waiting to be decorated, Santa cupcakes, candy canes and hot chocolate. Santa waited (along with a pile of presents) in the corner of the room in front of a huge christmas tree. The children each got their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and receive an early Christmas present. Meanwhile, myself and my fellow ‘Santa’s Helpers’ continued to sing as well as Face Painting and playing with the children.
By the end of the day we had all made loads of new friends, and loads of amazing memories. Every one of us was honored to have been chosen to go on the flight. The whole way home we talked about the children we had each spoken to and the funny little things they said to us throughout the day. The children were an inspiration to us all. Despite what the children and their families were going through, there was nothing but smiles and laughter from every one of them. It was a pleasure for us to have been able to attend such a beneficial event and we are extremely grateful to everyone who was involved.

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