Activity Ideas

10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: Holiday Edition

November 3, 2021

This month, we’re looking ahead to December with holiday activities galore! Elves, Fires, Holiday Movies, and more! What seniors living community doesn’t love getting festive during the holiday season? 

  1. Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf is a new Holiday tradition for many families. Parents place this small, flexible elf doll in a different spot each day in December. Why should kids get all the fun? Try these Elf on the Shelf holiday activities for seniors:

  • Elf Scavenger Hunt. Purchase multiple elves and place them throughout your community. It’s a fun way to ensure residents know about your amenities. Place elves in your fitness center, game room, library, or other areas of interest along with information about the amenity or program schedules.
  • Find the Elf Contest. Place the elf in a different spot each morning. The first senior (or seniors) who spots the elf, brings it to the recreation manager for a daily prize. Then, that senior helps the manager hide the elf the next day.

Elf on the Shelf is also a perfect opportunity to bond with visiting grandchildren, too.

Image via Taste of Home

  1. Secret Santa

To encourage your residents to meet new friends, launch a secret Santa program. Residents are given another randomly selected resident. Then, they anonymously leave one small gift each week. If a gift is too much to ask of residents, you can do a Secret Santa note exchange. In late December, hold a secret Santa “reveal” party where seniors can mingle and meet their new friend. 

Image via Chatelaine


  1. Fireside Holiday Meet Up

Getting cozy by the fire. It’s a simple yet beloved holiday tradition. Plus, holiday activities for seniors feel more festive when held fireside. Don’t have an actual hearth? No worries. You can still create the same effect:

  • Put in a DVD of flickering flames
  • Set out a crockpot of mulled cider. The seasonal scent evokes feelings of comfort and joy.

Fireside holiday activities for seniors include:

  • Knitting Club. Seniors can work on knitting projects for loved ones. 
  • Story Share. Give seniors 5-7 minutes each to share a favourite holiday story. Set out a timer so everyone has time to share.
  • Holiday Traditions. Hold a weekly fireside seminar so seniors can learn about holidays from different countries and faiths. Senior residents themselves can host the “fireside chat” and even share instructions on making a Kwanzaa display.
Image via Town and Country Magazine

  1. Holiday Movie Night

When the weather outside is frightful, holiday movies are delightful. Create a weekly holiday movie series – it’s one of the easiest holiday activities for seniors. Turn on nostalgic classics like It’s a Wonderful Life as well as new favourites like The Polar Express. Or, let residents vote on the movies they want to see.

Image via Today

  1. Door to Door Carolers

Imagine the joy when a resident opens their door to smiling, singing faces. Get a group of your residents together who have an interest in singing or choir and go door-to-door singing carols to residents and staff.

Image via MedicineNet

  1. A Visit from Santa

Santa can still bring us so much joy. So why not invite Santa into your residence! You can serve hot chocolate, play carols and take photos. If your senior residence allows pets, let Santa pose for photos with their beloved companion.


Image via Edmonton Journal

  1. Giving Tree 

Seniors like to know they can still make a difference. Empower them by setting up a giving tree in your lobby. Residents and visitors can decorate the tree with (new) hats and gloves to be donated to a local homeless shelter or add gifts under the tree to donate to The Salvation Army.

Image via World Vision 

  1. “Wrap Up” Event 

Gift-giving is an important holiday tradition for many seniors and sometimes they need a little help – and extra supplies like tape, ribbon, and wrapping paper. Get your residents and staff together for an afternoon and help your residents wrap their gifts and write their holiday cards. As everyone wraps together, residents and staff can bond over favourite holiday stories.


Image via A Place for Mom

  1. Christmas Lights Tour

If your community has access to a bus or van, take your residents on a tour of local homes that are decorated for the holidays. Residents will enjoy taking a short trip to enjoy the decorations and the beautiful twinkling lights. Make it cozier by offering some hot chocolate and baked goodies.

Image via Viator

  1. Bake Gingerbread Cookies

Nothing says the holidays like Gingerbread. And the best part, it’s just so darn tasty. Get your residents together and bake some gingerbread cookies together. Purchase some supplies to decorate Gingerbread Men: mints, sprinkles, icing! This will be a great activity to bring people together and enjoy something delicious at the end. Here’s a recipe to help you get started.

Image via Taste of Home

Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Get more inspiration with 10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: December Edition and plan for the next holiday with 10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: New Year's Edition!

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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