The Harris County Medical Society Hosts 43rd Annual “Touch, Smell and Hear” Holiday Event
On Monday, the Harris County Medical Society Alliance (HCMS Alliance), a group comprised of spouses of Harris County Medical Society members, welcomed 400 children with physical and mental challenges, along with their families and teachers, to the 43rd annual “Touch, Smell and Hear” Holiday event at The Health Museum: John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science.
“We are the wives of the Harris County doctors and we started this event to bring the joy of the holidays to these children,” said Barbara Butler, HCMS Alliance event co-chair. “Many of these kids don’t have an opportunity to go out on field trips regularly, so this is a wonderful opportunity for them.”
The annual event was originally created to provide children with physical and mental challenges an opportunity to experience the holidays with their senses, and the tradition has continued for over four decades. To achieve this, members of the HCMS Alliance and volunteers from Memorial High School decorated the Health Museum with Christmas trees and holiday decorations that evoke the senses. Bubble-blowing machines were put up throughout the space for the children to play with as well as textured ornaments, wind chimes and scented pine cones.
“Every year we try to think of new activities we can provide for them to keep them busy and entertained while they are here with us,” Butler said.
In addition to the wonderful decorations, children also experienced the sense of hearing through a live choir performance and puppet show, a new addition this year. All of the children also had an opportunity to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, and they were eager to give them hugs and share their wishes for the holidays. Each child was gifted a brand-new teddy bear and a candy cane after visiting with Santa.
Robin Crizer and her students from Thompson Elementary have been making a trip to the “Touch, Smell and Hear” event for the past few years and it has become a favorite among her students.
“I brought 10 students this year and they really loved getting a teddy bear from Santa,” Crizer said.
Participants enjoyed Christmas cookies and juice boxes served by HCMS Alliance members before heading back to school.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to start the Christmas season,” said Butler. “Just seeing the smiles on the beautiful faces of these children is amazing.”