Christmas Activities for Care Homes

December 3, 2021
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The festive period is a time when people come together to celebrate and everyone who wishes to celebrate the holiday should be given the opportunity to do so, including those in care homes. Christmas is celebrated by billions of people worldwide and involves spending time with loved ones, gift giving, decorations and cooking.

There are many different ways to celebrate Christmas and traditions differ between families. This article outlines some ideas and different ways to celebrate Christmas in a care home, including activities to consider in your setting.

Ideas for Christmas Activities in Care Homes

Everyone has a different history and experience with Christmas, so getting to know your service users, their traditions, their likes and dislikes and how they prefer to celebrate is really important when planning seasonal activities. When it comes to festive events in care homes, there is no limit to the number of things that could be planned. However, you should consider that holiday schedules may already be packed.

Some ways to celebrate Christmas include:

Decorating the home

Whether you decorate communal areas or resident’s rooms, everyone could get involved and there could even be a competition element. You could also allow family, friends and volunteers to visit and decorate each service user’s room with a few festive decorations. Since many service users may get depressed during the holidays, particularly if they do not have a lot of family, a small detail like a cheerful room can make a big difference.

Resident and care worker talking to each other

Door decorating competition

Provide decorations to participating service users so they can decorate their doors. Decorating a door may be easier than an entire room and everyone can enjoy the decorations as they move throughout the care home.

Christmas jumper day

There could be a prize for the best jumper and even a fashion show for everyone to show theirs off. You could get creative and decorate your own jumpers with fabric paint or pens beforehand.

Christmas shopping day

Plan an outing for service users who are able to leave the home so that they can get their Christmas shopping done. For those who are unable to leave the home, set up a holiday store they can visit on premises to purchase a few items for gift giving, such as bath soaps, small stuffed toys and other items.

Arts and crafts

Service users could make Christmas cards to send to loved ones or decorations to hang on the Christmas tree, in their rooms or around the home.

Christmas activities

Carol concert

A lot of schools and churches go into care homes and perform around Christmas time for a sing-along with residents. If you can find out in advance what songs they will be singing, you can provide the lyrics for service users to sing along. Alternatively, if a local school is having a talent show or concert, you could ask if they would like to perform in the care home as a dress rehearsal.

Christmas lights tour

If the nursing home has access to a bus or van, take the residents on a tour of local homes that are decorated for Christmas.

Christmas quiz

For competitive residents, a Christmas-themed quiz could be highly entertaining. Whilst encouraging service users to practice team spirit, quizzes are also a brilliant way for them to practice their knowledge and keep their brains engaged.

Festive baking

You could throw a baking class or decorate readymade bakes such as biscuits or buns, or even decorate gingerbread houses. There could be a prize for the best bake and the event could tie in with the movie night so you have snacks prepared for when you watch the film.

Decorating a gingerbread man at Christmas time

DIY hot chocolate bar

Host a hot chocolate bar complete with candy canes, whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles for service users to decorate or create their own hot chocolate.

Film night

Host a festive film night where service users can watch Christmas films. You could host this on the same day as a baking competition or hot chocolate bar so the service users have already prepared snacks.

Secret Santa

Service users that would like to participate could pick a name out of a hat (Santa hat of course) and get that individual a gift. Gifts could be budgeted, for example under £5 or be home-made. Another alternative would be for each service user to send an encouraging note or Christmas card to their recipient. Whatever the gift may be, it is important to clarify this before the gift exchange so service users know what to get/what they will receive.

Find the elf 

Staff could hide a festive elf doll (or angel, or Santa) and the service user who finds it each day gets their name displayed as the day’s winner.

A care home resident getting in the festive spirit

Christmas spirit board 

Use a large display board and encourage staff and service users to write out their favourite Christmas memories and traditions. Everyone can enjoy reviewing the board and sharing stories.

Santa hat lunch

Host a lunch and invite service users and staff to wear a Santa hat if they’d like. This could be combined with an arts and crafts session beforehand where everyone can decorate their own. Hold a contest and provide awards for the most original hat, prettiest hat, ugliest hat, and so on.

Free Care Home Activity Planner

Christmas is a time for celebrating and spending time with loved ones. All activities, whether they are big or small, can make a huge difference for people in care homes. Planning ahead and informing service users of Christmas activities that will take place in the care home, can create a sense of excitement and boost spirits.

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