It's the holiday season! Granted, 2020 isn't going to be a normal holiday season between pandemic-induced budget cuts, visitor restrictions, PPE requirements and social distancing guidelines. With many activity coordinators furloughed, there might care staff looking for Christmas activities that can be orchestrated last minute. Here's our selection of quick, easy, affordable activities to bring festive cheer to your care home this year!
Festive Felt Garland: Buy a bunch of twine and felt fabric (or use up old scraps). Cut into 1/2 inch sections about 5 or 6 inches long. Pass out to residents in your nursing home and have them tie on the felt pieces to create festive felt garland like this. It will be something to brighten up their room! Alternatively, you could combine everyone's together to make massive garlands and string them up in the halls.
Pomanders: Sticking cloves into oranges makes for a great sensory activity. Additionally, the scents tie in aromatherapy and reminiscence therapy.
Recycled Magazine Trees: Serve up some eggnog and get to crafting. Residents can easily create a forest of these tree decorations by using old magazines. This is easy to do while having a chat or watching a movie, too.
Cookie & Hot Cocoa Bar: Make big batches of hot chocolate head of time. Have lots of different topping options set out (marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, sprinkles, shredded coconut, white chocolate chips) and have residents make their own special concoction. Then have Christmas cookies ready for them to snack on OR plain sugar cookies and supplies for them to decorate their own.
Pizza Stockings: These adorable pizza stockings are an easy activity to throw together. You just need pizza dough, a stocking cookie cutter (you can free-hand, too) and toppings! Alternatively, you could make pizza trees or wreaths. Have the dough cut out for each resident so they can come and decorate. Have the kitchen bake the pizzas as they're finished and enjoy!
12 days of Christmas Movie-thon: Pick 12 holiday flicks and screen them for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Don't forget the popcorn! If looking to make this a COVID-friendly event, you could have residents book their seat in advance (limit the number of people in the cinema room) or have them watch from their rooms.
Luminary Walk: To make luminaries all you need are paper bags, battery votive candles and something to anchor the bags (sand, rocks, rice). Create a festive walk for residents to take through a courtyard or even indoors. If you have the time and means, you could add other Christmas light decorations. Another idea is to give residents a paper guide with question prompts or a holiday poem for them to reflect on as they enjoy their pretty stroll.
Community New Year Resolutions: You could schedule a group discussion or set up a post box in the home so that residents can submit their ideas. The important thing is that you include the residents in setting goals for the upcoming year. This makes them feel like they're thoughts matter and they get to have a say in the care home's decision-making process. Ask questions of your residents. Learn from them about what they want to achieve individually and as a whole!
Holiday Photo Shoot: Can you manage to whip up a cheerful, Christmas backdrop against a wall? Then host a holiday photo shoot! Put on some Christmas tunes, designate a photographer and make sure there's a selection of photo booth props for residents to use. This is a fun, light-hearted activity that will have everyone smiling. Afterwards, print off your snaps and make them into a photo tree for all the residents to giggle at!