The holiday season is here and we’ve got a new round of cheer! Get your community into the holiday spirit with these 10 holiday-themed activities for residents of all backgrounds. This list features ideas that are relevant to the winter season in general, focusing outside of Christmas-only activities. You can also check out our Christmas-themed list of activity ideas. You will find inspiration from food and beverage ideas to activities that bring snow inside this holiday season!
Jumping into snow and making snowmen might be a little passé for some residents, but that doesn’t mean the winter weather can’t be used to inspire fun activities. There is no better way for all residents to get into the holiday season than by creating their own winter snow!
What you will need to make a snowball are the following:
The steps to combine these are very simple as well. Simply pour the baking soda into a container and slowly add shaving cream while kneading the mixture. The snow will gather its consistency almost instantly. And that’s it.
What’s great about playing around with fake snow like this is that it is also therapeutic for our loved ones. Kneading and manipulating the snow helps promote dexterity and strength in hands and fingers. All the while, residents are being soothed and relaxed into the holiday spirit.
Food is scarce out in the winter cold. Making an ice wreath bird feeder is like giving back to nature for all that it’s done for us. They can be made with any grains or fruits available.
They are decorative and will last quite a while when the weather turns colder. These can be repeated periodically as well, whenever residents feel like making a batch and hanging them outside. Residents will love the idea of feeding little birds as they gather near their windows this holiday season.
Here is the original article talking about how to make ice wreath bird feeders.
Decorative holiday cones can be made from printout templates and can be filled with candies and treats for all to enjoy this winter. Residents can even help make the cones in preparation for distribution throughout the community. Simple and wholesome, surprise cones are sure to create some smiles this season.
Here is the original article talking about how to make Treat Cones with templates.
Make spirits bright with a bus tour of light displays around town, socially distanced of course. Scout out the best light displays in your area in advance to have a selection of sights to rome. Sights could include local neighbourhood light displays to community-organized bonanzas! This is one of the best holiday activities for seniors with mobility issues as well. They can still enjoy the lights tour from the comfort of a cozy bus.
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.
Click here for the original idea!
Residents come from all walks of life, and all have different cultural backgrounds. Why not cultivate this cultural richness to create a fun learning experience. Every week during the holiday season, hold a ‘fireside’ chat around the topic of holiday traditions from different countries and faiths. Provided social-distancing precautions can be upheld, this activity can be hosted in physical space, maybe even beside a real fireplace if available! An alternative is to host the chat via a video-conferencing service with a crackling fire montage as a shared screen. Residents would have their chance to bring up their own cultural traditions every week during this chat.
Whatever means are used to host this activity, make sure to supply plenty of treats and warm beverages! It’s a perfect opportunity to create learnings and fun during the holiday season.
When the weather outside is frightful, holiday movies are delightful. One of the easiest holiday activities for residents is creating a weekly holiday movie series! To protect the health of our loved ones, movies would either have to be played in each resident’s room or the viewing area must be planned with social-distancing in mind. You can mix up nostalgic classics like It’s a Wonderful Life with new favorites like The Polar Express. Another method to get the playlist going is to let residents vote on the movies they want to see! Generate a list through a tool like google forms, teach residents how to vote and let the magic begin!
Not Just Bingo has compiled observance calendars spanning December, January and February for activity inspiration this holiday season. Everyday of the month lists multiple holidays and events occuring on that day, any of which can be turned into an activity. Use this resource on specific days when an activity needs to be scheduled for residents to enjoy!
In the spirit of a gift exchange, have a festive drink exchange to which all residents can participate. The motivation behind this idea is for all residents to share their favourite holiday beverage treat with another and celebrate the season together. What better way to get into the spirit than by gifting a warming and delightful drink! Keep in mind that some residents don’t consume alcohol and to have everyone participating aware of this and of any allergies. Everyone should enjoy this simple activity.
Here is an article with 23 warm drink ideas to get you started.
So maybe most of your residents can’t knit? Don’t worry! There’s still a way for them to make their own big knit blanket by hand, either for themselves or as a gift. Big knit blankets like these are extremely expensive to purchase in a store. Purchasing the yarn and making the blanket is a great way to create an activity for our loved ones and to create a unique keep-sake at the end for the winter months for a much better price. Any yarn of your choice can be used to make the blanket as well.
Here is a video showing a simple technique for knitting a big blanket by hand.
Delicious, fun to prepare, but still quite simple to make, cookies are the ultimate crowd pleaser anytime of year. Sometimes all you need is just one, or six. Residents will love baking these eight cookie recipes prepared by Life Tonic to share with friends, family and staff this holiday season! The best part is these recipes won’t take all day in the kitchen either. Check out their collection of recipes here, from the best classic recipes to some new and fun cookies to have over tea or coffee.
We hope you found some inspiring holiday 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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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 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 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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