The winter holiday season is a special time of fellowship for residents of United Church Homes communities. Each of UCH’s owned and managed senior living communities hosts special events to enhance resident community life and recognize the winter holidays. Employees celebrate the season with Christmas staff parties, and the spirit of fellowship and giving is abundantly present.
Spreading the Joys of the Season
For Margarett, a Pilgrim Manor resident, writing personalized Christmas cards is one of the joys of the winter holiday season. This year, Margarett and Elysia TerAvest, who serves on Pilgrim Manor’s recreation therapy team, made a great duo. Elysia transcribed Margarett’s personal messages to over 30 recipients, local and abroad. She mails cards as far as Romania, England, Hawaii, Alaska and Mexico.
Years ago, Margarett participated in Youth for Understanding USA, an intercultural student exchange program for youth aged 15 and older. She still sends holiday greeting cards to 17 boys and girls she hosted over the years.
Some UCH communities highlight their local partnerships during the winter holiday season. Pilgrim Manor supports nonprofit organizations that embody its mission, vision and values. This year, the community partnered with United Church Outreach Ministry to collect donations for West Michigan Humane Society’s Kibble Konnection. The program offers a pet food bank, which helps low-income pet owners access food for their pets, in partnership with the Pantry Network – Access of West Michigan.
Pilgrim Manor recognizes the incredibly positive effect that pets have on residents who live there. The community’s residents, staff, families and friends enjoy spreading holiday cheer to their four-legged neighbors and their owners. In total, Pilgrim Manor collected 37 cat toys, 25 dog toys, eight bags of cat treats, 13 bags of dog treats, 47 cans of cat food, 30 cans or boxes of dog food, four pet beds, a cat tree, five bowls, nine leashes, three collars, two pet shampoos and one pair of dog booties.
Parties with Santa, Christmas Pageants
In greater Dayton, Ohio, four UCH communities put their own spin on Christmas celebrations. Trinity Community at Beavercreek hosted its annual Christmas pageant, and residents celebrated the winter holiday season with a party with Santa.
Veterans Organizations, Youth Give Back
About 15 miles away, Trinity Community at Fairborn hosted a veterans Christmas party, sponsored by AMVETS Post 464. The Daughters of the American Revolution sent a Christmas card to each resident. All residents were invited to a Christmas party Dec. 23.
Separately, carolers from local Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops visited Trinity Community at Fairborn to share Christmas tunes, and Spittin Image and the Senior Sensations offered live entertainment. Residents also enjoyed decorating Christmas cookies, crafting and singing carols together.
In Trinity at Fairborn’s memory care neighborhood, Girl Scout Troop No. 30241 of Beavercreek and residents crafted together.
Tours, Music and Dance Parties
Trinity Community at Miami Township near Dayton hosted an open house to share their holiday traditions and community life with families and prospective residents. The independent living community decked the halls festively. Dining Services Manager Jennifer Ware created a fabulous dessert and candy station, while Dining Services Director Douglas Bishop prepared savory dishes. The open house featured a cranberry cocktail and festive holiday music performed by Cinnamon, a local harpist.
Several residents also invited visitors into their apartments, which were decorated for the holidays.
Residents Become Family
UCH’s affordable housing communities also hosted Christmas parties and special guests. At Cherry Arbors in North Lewisburg, Ohio, residents enjoyed celebrating together with a Christmas potluck.
“Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate not as individuals, nor as a nation, but as a family,” one resident said.
Santa Claus dropped by Glendale Commons in Covington, Tennessee, to give each resident a gift card. At their Christmas party, residents sang and participated in a dance contest.