A History of Holiday Celebrations

While the winter holidays are a festive time of year, they can also be very challenging for individuals and families undergoing cancer treatment. Dana-Farber has always tried to make the season a little brighter for its patients and staff.


presents donated to Dana-Farber in the 1960s

Since Dana-Farber’s 1947 founding, young patients in treatment have been cheered by presents like these — delivered to Dana-Farber in the 1960s.

Dan Murphy selling Christmas trees for the Jimmy Fund

For 40 years, Daniel Murphy (here with his wife and a grandchild) and his family sold Christmas trees and wreaths out of their Randolph, Mass., yard, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber – where Murphy’s son, Dan III, was successfully treated for cancer at age 6.

Red Sox and Wally visiting Dana-Farber

Players and coaches from the Boston Red Sox, along with mascot Wally the Green Monster, visit patients at Dana-Farber during one of the first stops on their annual Holiday Caravan.

holiday singers

For many years, the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has brought in Boston-area performing groups to brighten the holidays for patients, families, and staff.

Holcombe Grier, MD, as Santa

The Jimmy Fund Clinic holds an annual Winter Wonderland party for pediatric cancer patients and their families. On many past occasions, Holcombe Grier, MD, played the part of Santa.

ballet dancers at the Yawkey Center

A young patient gets a special holiday treat, meeting dancers after watching them perform scenes from The Nutcracker at Dana-Farber.