This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.
As the song goes, the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year!” For my family and I, this usually holds true. But what happens when it’s not? Unfortunately, a good friend of mine lost her mother to cancer (at the young age of 57) just a few months before Christmas and her pain was truly palpable. Watching my friend, her husband and their four beautiful daughters suffer such a great loss made me wish that there was something I could do to help them enjoy the holidays. Struggling to provide a “normal” Christmas for their daughters while dealing with grief and medical expenses was proving to be challenging for this sweet family so I was truly blessed when chosen to be one of Aflac’s Holiday Helpers!
The ripple effect of the financial burden caused by an unplanned health event can be especially compounded around the holidays and is the inspiration behind the #AflacHolidayHelpers program. By reaching out to families who may have needed help getting into the holiday spirit, decorating their homes, preparing holiday meals or shopping for loved ones, Aflac wants to help with the things most families take for granted but can be significantly impacted by out-of- pocket costs associated with an unexpected health event.
Understanding that this financial burden can cause stress during the holidays, Aflac provided me with a grant to bring some holiday cheer to Kristi and her family. Her mother truly loved the holidays and always made sure the magic of Christmas was alive in all of her grandchildren by decorating gingerbread houses, fulfilling Christmas wishes and instilling the true meaning of Christmas by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day. So, I thought it fitting to use my grant to help create special family memories for Kristi and her four young daughters.
I planned a special day I hoped they would enjoy but kept the details a secret. The anticipation on their faces when I picked them up from their home was totally and completely worth it! The following 20 minute ride was full of guessing games, laughter and excitement. Pulling up to the first surprise elicited squeals of joy when it was revealed that they would all enjoy Hot Chocolate Pedicures from a local luxurious spa. We spent the next two hours drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music and being pampered with cocoa scrubs, cocoa oil, hot stone massage and beautiful painted piggies.
Before heading to our next secret location, Santa’s helpers arrived with special gifts. A little bird told Santa that the girls really wanted a certain gaming console for Christmas and he delivered in a big way! Santa did not forget Kristi and her husband and surprised them with gift cards for massages and home improvements. With that, we packed the sleigh and started on our way to the next surprise.
Pulling up at a historic hotel in New Orleans dressed in it’s holiday best, the girls knew exactly what that meant….we were going to a Teddy Bear Tea! The lobby of the hotel is spectacular and immediately puts you in the holiday spirit. Kristi shared with me that her Mom always wanted to take her granddaughters to this Teddy Bear Tea so the experience was absolutely perfect. We dined on delicious tea party finger foods, drank tea (and more hot chocolate), took pictures with Santa and left with a collectable stuffed teddy bear.
With our bellies full, we packed into the car and started our journey home. It was great to hear the girls talk about the fun they had and hear everyone laughing and just simply enjoying being together. I was truly honored to be able to provide some Christmas magic during this difficult time for Kristi and her girls. And while nothing can replace her Mom, I hope I was able to provide new family memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you, Aflac, for allowing me this incredible experience. One of the perks of this blog is connecting with companies who truly have a heart. Aflac knows that the holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for people without supplemental insurance who may be dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident or health event. That’s why Aflac pays cash when policyholders are sick or hurt so they can focus on recovery. Make sure to check out Aflac’s new ad, “Ski Patrol,” which takes a light-hearted approach to highlighting how life often throws you the unexpected that can ultimately impact you and your family’s lifestyle. To learn more about Aflac, visit www.aflac.com/lifestyle
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Z161385B Exp 1/18.