With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the fun holiday themed parties that you want to plan for your residents. Here are 6 ideas from notjustbingo.com to get you started.
1. Gingerbread House Party
Celebrate Gingerbread Decorating Day (Saturday, December 9) or Gingerbread House Day (Tuesday, December 12) with a fun gingerbread house contest for your residents. Divide residents into teams to compete to see who can decorate the most beautiful gingerbread houses.
For the competition, be sure to use gingerbread kits that come with all the supplies for decoration. If you find that gingerbread cookie kits are too messy for your residents, then consider using a foam gingerbread house craft kit that comes with self-adhesive foam decorations that your residents can easily stick onto the gingerbread houses.
If you’re planning the party during the weekend, then invite the grandkids to get involved too! Set up a coloring station at the party and invite residents and their grandchildren to color gingerbread scenes using crayons, glue sticks, and glitter glue.
A third option for your gingerbread house party is to set up an area where residents can make gingerbread ornaments by stitching pre-punched felt gingerbread men and women. Encourage residents to hang their finished ornaments on their trees or give them as gifts to family members.
2. Silent Night Party
Take advantage of this season of beautiful holiday music by arranging for a Silent Night party, in which your residents sing Christmas carols. Serve holiday cookies and eggnog as you invite residents to sing along to a senior Christmas karaoke CD in your Activity Room.
Another option for your more mobile residents is to take your party on the road. Pass out lyric sheets to residents and guide them throughout your facility to sing Christmas carols for your bedridden residents.
A final fun option for your Silent Night party is to schedule a special Christmas performance, in which you invite family members to hear your residents sing. Recruit teams of residents to perform different songs for the special event, which can be set up as a holiday fundraiser where you sell tickets to the performance to raise money for a local charity.
3. Christmas Cookie Swap Party
Divide your facility’s Baking Club into small groups to spend a few hours baking different types of holiday cookies. If your facility has different wings or neighborhoods, then invite each area to bake their own holiday cookies to swap and share at your annual Christmas cookie swap party.
Another option for the event, especially if your facility does not have many residents who like to bake, is to provide plain sugar cookies for residents to decorate with holiday candies and icing. Consider hosting a competition to see who can decorate the best holiday cookie, and have your facility’s administrators judge the competition.
4. Festival of Lights Party
Celebrate the Hanukkah season with a fun Festival of Lights party for all your residents. Use the party as a way to educate your non-Jewish residents about Hanukkah and its traditions. Coordinate with Dining Services to provide potato latkes and other fried foods for residents to sample. During the party, invite your Jewish residents to discuss their holiday traditions with the other residents, like how to play the dreidel game. In fact, recruit a few residents to help create and decorate a dreidel out of clay and use it to play the game.
Another option is to host a Hanukkah baking activity and invite residents to make a few traditional Hanukkah desserts like Hanukkah donuts (jelly-filled donuts called sufganiyot) or rugelach (cream cheese pastry with a filling of nuts, chocolate, or fruit). Provide residents with aprons to color and pastry hats as you teach them how to make these traditional Jewish treats for Hanukkah.
5. Gift-Wrapping Party
Collect lots of empty cardboard boxes for your residents to wrap during a fun gift-wrapping party. Pass out gift-wrapping paper for residents to wrap the boxes and tie with ribbon before setting them under your facility’s Christmas trees for added decoration.
6. Christmas Tree Lighting Party
Create invitations to pass out to residents to invite them for your facility’s annual tree-lighting ceremony to mark the beginning of the holiday season. Beforehand, recruit residents to help you decorate your facility’s trees with ornaments and lights. Then invite residents to wear their holiday sweaters to the party, where you’ll serve hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. At the start of the party, have your administrator “flip the switch” to show-off the beautiful decorations, and if you have outdoor decorations, turn them on as well.
During the party, arrange for walking tours to lead residents through the different parts of your facility that are decorated for the holidays. As a fun fundraiser, charge family members $1 for the walking tour, and donate the proceeds to a local charity.
Find more ideas from Notjustbingo on the S&S blog here.
About Not Just Bingo:
Not Just Bingo is an online resource of fun, senior activity ideas for activity professionals of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They have been providing fun activity ideas online since 2009, and continue to assist activity professionals across the country by creating meaningful and engaging activity ideas for their residents that go “beyond bingo.” Not Just Bingo feels privileged to help activity directors better the living experiences of their residents while demonstrating that a senior’s quality of life can actually improve when they move to a nursing facility!
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