Sophia and Olivia with John, Florence, and Iva
decorating a tree in the nursing home's chapel.
The girls went around and encouraged some of the seniors to join them.
John enjoyed helping the girls put hangers on the ornaments.
We helped decorate two trees - one in the chapel and one in the dining room.
Olivia, Iva, Florence, and Sophia in the dining room.
The ladies liked getting dressed up with the garlands.
Florence and Iva - both are such sweet ladies who we enjoy visiting.
John joined us also which we were happy about.
John was joking around with Olivia and had just pretended
to hang an ornament on her arm.
"Oh, John!" she said. He just smiled.
You could tell it meant a lot to him to be involved with decorating the tree.
For some of the seniors, they have spent Christmas in the nursing home for more than one time. For others, it is the first time they are spending it here. It's quite a change and transition as they leave behind traditions and "the comfort of home" as one of the residents shared as we were decorating the tree in the chapel.
John placing an ornament on the tree in the dining room.
It was nice to see the seniors interacting with others.
Florence and John had a nice time working together
on decorating the tree and talking with one another.
When we came home, we began to take down the Thanksgiving decorations and brought in the Christmas bins from the hobby shed. The girls started looking in the bins and taking things out to start decorating our home.
Some of the bins filled with Christmas items.
This is the living room - where the tree will be soon and the "staging area."
Now that we have a child gate to block off this room,
the girls can spread things out without Cooper
taking things and chewing on them.
In the evening, we visited http://www.noradsanta.org/ to check where Santa is at in the world. There are some fun videos for kids made by NORAD and music. In the past there have been fun games for children to play. However, this year the ones so far that are available to play aren't ones that are as good as ones in past years.
Although we have quite a few ornaments for the tree, I want the girls to pick an ornament that they will make during December. They make ornaments each year, so by the time they are adults and are living on their own, they will have a collection of ornaments to decorate their first Christmas tree.
Another thing that we are going to do during December is go our rooms and closets. We are removing things that we no longer need, want, or appreciate. We will package these up to donate to Family Pathways. We will continue to add items to donation bags every day until Christmas so we donate 25+ bags of items that we no longer need, but may be useful for another person or family. The money from the sale of the items will help support programs that help others in the community.
Each day until December 25th, we will read one Christmas story each day. Today, we read: Deck the Halls (illustrated by Sylvia Long) and The Little Drummer Boy (by Ezra Jack Keats).
For the next seven days, we will celebrate Chalica – it’s a Unitarian Univeralist tradition. The first day, we focused on the inherent worth and dignity of every person. So, I’m writing letters and the girls are coloring pictures to send to prisoners that I’m writing to through the Church of the Larger Fellowship's Prison Ministry program.
In the evening, we read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Every day now until the 25th, we will work on memorizing the poem together. At one time - during college - I had memorized the poem. I remember bits and pieces from it, so the girls were testing to see how much I could recall after 26 years. Realized that we all will need to help one another to remember the poem verbatim.
What the girls don't know, is that I'm hoping that by the 23rd of December they will have memorized the poem so they can recite it for the seniors at the nursing home. We will be doing a keyboard and harp performance there for the seniors as well as serving refreshments. The poem would be the closing thing we do for the activity.
Luke 1:8-10 - Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.
Which of Santa's reindeer has bad manners? (Rude-olph!)
Today we learned why candles are part of the Christmas tradition:
The first use of candles at Christmas was in the Roman festival of Saturnalia where tall tapes of wax were given as gifts to guests and as an offering to Saturn as a symbol of his light.
As Christianity spread, candles were placed in the front window of homes to guide the Christ Child as he went from house to house on Christmas Eve.