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A Season to Celebrate

December 1, 2003
by root
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Holiday vignettes from our readers EDITED BY SANDRA HOBAN, MANAGING EDITOR
Holiday vignettes fom our readers Throughout the year as we've endeavored to inform and assist our readers, we've published articles on regulations, staffing, resident care, legal pitfalls, information technology, and much more. As the year draws to a close, we wanted to give you a change of pace, a little break from talk of surveys and staffing shortages and reimbursement woes and MDS coding conundrums.

To bring you some holiday cheer, Managing Editor Sandra Hoban has assembled a series of holiday vignettes contributed by long-term care facilities from around the country.

In this assortment you'll read about a variety of traditions and ethnic customs, along with some plain old holiday-inspired acts of kindness. You'll probably notice a recurring theme-that the organizations sharing their holiday stories are committed to enriching their residents' lives by being mindful of their holiday traditions.

Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the diversity and joy of the celebrations shared in these pages by your colleagues. Along with them, we at Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management wish you a happy, prosperous, and healthy 2004!
Preparing Early


At Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, Illinois, some of our residents get in the holiday spirit during summer. They get together at workshops to create their own holiday cards using old and new photographs in creative and personally meaningful ways. A unique card was created by a resident who used a photograph, circa 1910, of her husband in a goat cart with his sisters. Copies were made of the photo and the cards were ready for holiday mailing.

Presbyterian Homes' residents also make use of the technology available to them. For example, one resident, who loves to take pictures, selected a favorite snapshot from last winter. This photo was scanned, sized, and positioned on card stock.

Our residents' talents are not limited to greeting card design. Another favorite project is creating recipe cards. Many family events involve favorite or traditional foods, so each recipe is annotated to describe its origin and how it became a tradition at family gatherings. Documentation such as this provides another way to record family history. When completed the cards will be printed, packaged, and given as gifts or favors. Jane H. Grad
Presbyterian Homes
Evanston, Illinois
Living Nativity


At Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, staff, residents, and families play roles in a Living Nativity scene that is staged in the courtyard of the Nursing Center. Live sheep, goats, and other animals wander around the stable as volunteers re-enact the miracle of Christmas night. On a starry night, residents can enjoy this spiritually uplifting tableau from their rooms.


Emily Kerstetter
Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village
Diakon Lutheran Ministries
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Warm Hands & Hearts


The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen and Elaine Greenstein is a story about an elderly woman whose children were grown. One very cold day she was looking out her window and noticed that one of the children waiting at the bus stop did not have any mittens. She decided to knit him a pair and left them on a tree near the stop. After seeing how excited the children were with the boy's new mittens, she continued to leave mittens on the tree to keep all the children warm. Although this was done anonymously, her identity was discovered. One morning a basket of yarn was left on her doorstep so she could knit mittens for the next children who waited there.

Inspired by this story of giving, the residents of Willimansett Centers East and West in Chicopee, Massachusetts, adopted the children of a local elementary school. Each home set up trees in its living room and residents, staff, and families were invited to donate new hats and mittens to the "mitten tree." Just before Christmas, the mittens were collected from the trees, paired up, and placed in handmade bags with snowmen that indicated the color of the mittens inside. The bags were delivered to the school for distribution. Last year, there were more than 80 pairs of mittens donated.


Willimansett Center East
Willimansett Center West
Chicopee, Massachusetts

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