The Christmas season is here and we’ve got a new round of cheer! Get your community into the holiday spirit with these 10 Saint-Nicholas-themed activities for your residents this year. This list features ideas that are all classically Christmas! You will find inspiration from ornament making to even skiing to get our loved ones out and about during the winter months, socially-distanced of course.
Holiday Ornaments invite your residents to get creative and help decorate your community with their own creativity. Residents can choose to create any type of ornament, from painting unique Christmas baubles to making an easy ornament with a picture of their family inside. Even wooden coasters can be used as ornaments with a glued-on design and a string passed through. You'll find easy-to-make ornament kits at local craft stores as well as online craft stores like Oriental Trading.
Check out the original idea here.
Quilling is an art form that starts with rolling a strip of paper into a coil and then pinching the coil into shapes that can be glued together. You can buy very inexpensive quilling pens or tools from an online supplier and cut up paper stock into 5 mm strips to get started.
There are plenty of youtube videos on the subject too, like this one about making a heart-shaped quilling design for beginners.
Quilling is the perfect way to get festive with all residents!
Bingo is an all time favourite of residents’. Bringing a Christmas theme to the activity is an intuitive way to bring festivities to your community. Bingo can be hosted as a social-distanced live event, in person but with residents in their rooms, or online through computers and tablets! The numbers can be Christmas-themed.
Classic Christmas Carols reunions are on hold this year to keep singers and loved ones safe. But that doesn’t mean your talented residents shouldn’t sing to their hearts’ content! A great activity and gift idea for this Christmas season is compiling a Christmas Carol album sung by residents. The activity can be as easy as asking residents to find their favourite carol and sing it into a smartphone! Once recorded, the recordings can be compiled in a folder on a computer and shared with residents and their families.
Here’s a list of 30 great Christmas carols to get ideas flowing.
Coworkers across the world participate in gift exchanges every season! Why not include your residents in the fun. A gift exchange organized among your residents is a great way to let them know they have support and loving friends this holiday season. It can be kept light and fun, keeping it more of a ‘Secret Santa’ style exchange, where every resident picks out a name among their neighbours.
There is even a version called the White Elephant gift exchange wherein participants randomly pick a wrapped gift from the pile brought in by others. The twist is that anyone can call another’s unwrapped gift as their own instead of picking from the pile if they want to! Learn more about the White Elephant version here.
Empower residents by setting up a giving tree in your community. Let them know they can make all the difference in the world for some this holiday season, even during the pandemic. The way it works is that residents, staff and anyone else can decorate the tree with hats, gloves and anything else that can be donated to a local homeless shelter. These can be used or new articles purchased especially for giving this year!
Raise your hand if you were never taught a gift wrapping technique. Now raise your hand if you’re a pro-gift wrapper and still can’t believe some can’t wrap a gift right. Everyone reading this should have raised their hand at one of those two statements. Residents are in the same situation this Christmas season! If you know a quick and amazing technique for gift wrapping, why not turn it into an activity this year and teach residents your skills. But you’re not a pro-gift wrapper? I hear you. Find a resident in your community who is. They will be the star of the show in showing other residents how to wrap gifts this season. Delivering this how-to is easy as well. Either gather a small group for a live lesson while keeping social distancing, have one-on-ones during a week between teacher and student, or even record yourself or a skilled resident in a digital lesson to playback for all residents that want to learn.
A great idea this Christmas is to take a festive picture of every resident in your community to be displayed in a Christmas tree to commemorate their strength and resilience this year. Physical photos are hard to come by these days, so if you can’t find a camera with film to develop, consider taking digital pictures and printing them off for the activity.
Winter is upon us and that means snow! Residents have been kept inside for a long time this year to protect their health. Why not treat active residents with an active activity that gets them outside? A ski trip, just like the old days, à la social distancing. A bus can be used to bring residents to an equipment rental and trail location. Have residents leave into the trail one after another about ten feet apart, following a staff leader. At the back of the group should be another staff member for ample safety.
To make the bus social-distance friendly, one seat should be left empty behind and in front of every resident. In addition, residents should be seated in a staggered fashion on each side of the bus. Here is a downloadable resource discussing best-practices for making your bus ride social-distance friendly.
Ideas for decorations don’t stop with the Christmas Tree! Have your residents make paper snowflake garlands this holiday season to hang all around your community. They are simple and easy to make, requiring only paper, scissors and thread!
To watch a video on how to make them, check out Pumpkin Emily’s tutorial.
How to make a paper snowflake garland:
We hope you found some inspiring Christmas ideas to try out with residents in your senior living communities this season. Everybody in senior care deserves to be celebrated for continuing to meet the challenge of keeping our seniors and loved ones safe and healthy, but also active and engaged this year. Hopefully you found a few fun filled activity ideas for your community. Every resident’s well-being is at the heart of what we do.
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Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
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.
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