It would not be Christmas at Dunstan Hospital without the creative and competitive Christmas tree decoration contest in the foyer.

Central Otago Health Services chief executive Kathryn de Luc said this was the third year in which different departments of the hospital had chosen a theme and decorated trees, which are then voted on by visitors and on Dunstan Health’s social media.

Dr de Luc said the decorations showcased the inventiveness of the hospital staff.

‘‘Every year they come up with new things and new ideas, often related to their actual work environment.’’

A remembrance tree quickly filled as visitors who had lost loved ones throughout the year wrote and hung cards to commemorate them.

An entry from the hospital doctors plays on their known affinity for coffee, and is titled Dr Caffeinated. It is hung with coffee-related decorations, including a coffee intravenous drip.

The trees are a lighthearted contest between the hospital departments, in a year Dr de Luc said had not been easy for staff or anyone working in the health sector.

‘‘I am really grateful for all our staff for their contribution this year. They have stepped up in every way possible when we have been really, really busy with Covid and other patients.

‘‘They have stepped in, they have done extra shifts when colleagues are sick and I am eternally grateful to them for doing that.’’