A family who has been stuck in the hospital now for over two and a half months was finally able to celebrate Christmas at home this past weekend.

Since mid-December, Cari-Lynn Thiessen had been in hospital with her daughter, Hallie, as medical professionals attempted to resolve the young girl’s ongoing digestive issues and other related complications.

“We just got home on Friday, which was why Christmas only happened now,” she laughs, “the same weekend as time change!”

Able to joke about the absurdity of celebrating Christmas in March, Thiessen stresses that the time leading up to the delayed holiday was anything but funny. A battery of health problems elongated their stay at the hospital in ways the family had never imagined. As the days turned into weeks and then months, little Hallie was dogged by intestine paralysis, dangerously low blood pressure, and a host of different infections.

Hallie’s disorder, Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease, prevents her from being able to digest food. Initially, she was in the hospital for a small surgery that would insert a feeding tube into her stomach rather than going through her nose as has been the case since she was born.

“But she had every possible extra complication,” Thiessen remarks. “There were some very very scary moments for sure.”

The girls look at a new toyThe girls opened their Christmas presents this past weekend.

Throughout the last few hectic months, Thiessen says their Christmas tree had become a mess, losing many of its needles and ornaments as well as its ability to light up. While Thiessen remained with Hallie at the hospital, her husband Jon and daughter Addison remained at home where the increasingly decrepit tree served as a constant reminder of the ever-impending festivities. To Thiessen, finally coming home to the other half of her family was nothing short of a belated Christmas miracle.

“It’s a little bit weird,” she admits. “It’s almost like we’ve forgotten what normal is at this point.”

There, in front of their bedraggled tree on a plus 6 day with no snow, the family was able to enjoy each other's company and open the presents that had been sitting neatly wrapped up for far too long.

“The girls did not mind whatsoever,” comments Thiessen, “and Santa still found us.”

While it felt good to finally exchange gifts with their kids and experience that holiday joy, she says it almost felt equally good to toss out the old tree.

“We waited about an hour after we did presents to finally say ‘okay, the tree is going right now! No more!’”

Unfortunately, Hallie’s health issues are far from over. Thiessen says she will be back in the hospital with her daughter in a few weeks' time, as doctors try to teach her body how to properly process food. Until then, however, they will be enjoying some much-needed rest.