The Holiday Project

The Holiday Project is an independent non-profit organization managed by volunteers nationwide. They organize visits and gift-giving to people confined in hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, prisons, and other institutions during Christmas, Chanukah, and other holidays throughout the year.

Visit the national Holiday Project organization's website.

The Holiday Project began through the work of graduates of the est training. The first Holiday Project visit occurred on Christmas Day, 1973 in San Francisco, California. Since its incorporation as a non-profit public benefit organization in 1980, more than 180,000 volunteers from every social, and economic background visited more than 1,500,000 people around the United States.

The real story of the Holiday Project lives in the lives of the experiences of each individual who participated. It lives in the face of an old man, beaming as a small child hugs him. It lives in the misty eyes of a woman recalling her youth. And it lives in the way the volunteers speak about their lives. "We gave gifts and sang, but the songs and gifts were just an excuse for us to be close" ... "Now every year I visit with The Holiday Project. It makes my holidays how I always want them to be."

The Holiday Project also lives beyond the confines of the hospitial room or nursing home. It is embodied in the lives of the families and friends who participate year after year. Many say their experience of the holidays and of each other is more fulfilling and carries through into their day-to-day pursuits. As one volunteer put it "The Holiday Project is for all of us. The people we visit give us as much as we give them."


holiday project

Holiday Hospital Project


Making the spirit of the holidays real.

The Holiday Project expanded each year since graduates of Werner Erhard's est training created it in 1971. In 1979 volunteers in 75 cities visited 81,000 patients in 613 hospitals and convalescent homes. The following year, the project expanded to include people in prisons and juvenile homes.

children making holiday decorations


The Holiday Hospital Project is about making the spirit of the holidays real by expressing your love and joy with others.

From the est Graduate
..Review, January 1980


A Beautiful Holiday

"There has never been a more beautiful Christmas." That was the consensus among graduates and their friends who participated in the 1977 Holiday Hospital Project.

The project has continued to grow in the six years since Werner Erhard initiated it: This year, more than 18,000 people participated in 46 cities, by sending in donations ($46,631), by buying and wrapping gifts, and by delivering gifts to 43,000 patients in hospitals and convalescent homes on Christmas and Hannukkah.

In thanking the graduates who participated in the project, Werner said, "The real gifts you give are the love and joy you express, the relatedness you share as 'family,' and the place you come from that each of us matters in the world. It's clear that we are in partnership in creating the world working. Your graciousness and humanity are inspiring." - From the February, 1978 Graduate Review.


The Holiday Project Visits Lonely, Elderly - The West Side Spirit

Letter from a Holiday Project Volunteer

Homeless Kids Manage To Smile - San Diego Union 1979

Werner Erhard Charitable Organizations



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