Rockin’ Around the Bhava Tree: How We Spend the Holiday Season

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By Mallika MitraDecember 8, 2016

Pass through the doors of our office, head up the stairs, turn around and there you’ll see it: a one-of-a-kind, snowflake-adorned, glittering Bhava tree. It may be constructed of paper and taped to our wall with a cardboard tree topper surrounded by cotton snow, but hey — you can’t deny we’re crafty.

At the foot of the tree, you’ll find boxes of crayons, colored pencils, dolls, stuffed animals and more. Although I don’t doubt some Bhavans could take a well-deserved break with Play-Doh and and LEGO bricks, the toys aren’t for us. This holiday season, we’re having a donation drive for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The toys will be used as part of patients’ treatment plans and as gifts following their procedures or to celebrate a special event (birthday, holiday, end of treatment, etc.). The hope is that these toys can help put infants, children and young adults more at ease during their time at the hospital. Next to the tree, you’ll find a wishlist naming preferred gifts for children of all ages as well as a jar for cash donations. We’ve achieved our goal of $500 worth of donations, and we’re still going.

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A few weeks ago, you could have wandered into one of our meeting rooms to find Bhavans working meticulously to draw snowmen or spell out “JOY” in bubble letters, surrounded by stickers, glue, cardstock and twine. Each of us made a card — or 15, depending on whom you ask — for Send A Smile 4 Kids. This nonprofit organization delivers donated handmade greeting cards to children’s hospitals across the country. Partner hospitals then use these cards to send an uplifting message to their patients and allow kids to send them to family or friends they’re missing. Some of us used Buzzfeed- and Pinterest-inspired styles and some wowed with originals — who knew you could make a reindeer out of ribbon? We may not have gotten around to using the Play-Doh and and LEGO bricks, but we definitely had a blast.

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Between sync calls and brainstorming sessions, Bhavans made gift-giving and card-making a priority this holiday season. Sometimes we have a serious conversation with coworkers about developing a pitch-worthy press release. Other times, we have a serious conversation with co-workers about buying Hot Wheels vs. Beanie babies. That’s just how we roll during the holidays.

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Mallika spends most of her time happily behind her computer at Bhava. But sometimes, you can find her reading, not reading maps while hiking and playing with other people's pets.
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