Nursing home Christmas activities

Written by jennifer uhl
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Nursing home Christmas activities
Bring the spirit of Christmas into a nursing home with holiday activities. (Getty Thinkstock)

You can bring life and excitement into a nursing home during the holiday season with Christmas-themed activities. Christmas activities allow residents of the nursing home relive their favourite memories from holidays long past, while adding new favourite memories from this Christmas season. Alternate the Christmas activities that you introduce in a nursing home; they can vary significantly in terms of level of involvement and entertainment value.

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Christmas Games

Choose simple games to involve everyone in the festivities, regardless of disabilities. Allow patients to play games like "pin a nose on Rudolph the reindeer" (modified as necessary according to their conditions) and "guess the cookie: Christmas edition." Allow each game to challenge the participants in different ways. Pinning the nose on Rudolph will employ fine motor skills. Guessing the cookie will challenge participants to identify types of cookies by their smell. feel or, if all else fails, by taste! Fill a colourful plastic container with holiday candy and invite participants to guess how many goodies are in the jar, with the closest guess winning the jar and contents.

Social Events

Hold a "social mixer" for the patients in a nursing home, combining Christmas music, gift giving, carolling, watching old Christmas movies and other activities that the group might enjoy. Set up a snack table with punch, eggnog and holiday cookies for the guests. Encourage socialising and mingling and other social activities, such as game playing and storytelling during the event. Holiday social events also lend themselves well to being "friends and family" events, to which patients can invite friends and family members.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are engaging and time-consuming activities that can entertain residents in preparation for Christmas. Supply them with scissors, glue, paper, beads, string, felt, foam sheets, pipe cleaners and other craft materials and allow them to create different Christmas gifts and items. Commercially available craft kits can also provide opportunities for creating simple arts and craft projects, such as beaded Christmas ornaments, foam reindeer-antler headbands and cotton-ball snowmen.

Secret Santa

There are different ways you can organise a secret Santa program. For example, guide each patient to create a gift for his or her secret Santa recipient. You could combine the arts and crafts activities with secret Santa and allow the guests to give their creations to their secret Santa recipients. Or, set up a gift exchange with a small maximum price, such as £3 per gift. A secret Santa program is a way you can encourage gift giving and ensure that everyone in the nursing home receives a gift, even in situations where they normally would not.

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