This Christmas, you may not be able to invite families to visit your residents, but inviting all the staff to come in and celebrate with the residents would certainly lift everyone’s spirits. Robyn Taylor provides a step-by-step guide to the perfect Covid Christmas shindig….
Christmas is usually the best time of the year in care homes. The hustle and bustle of staff preparing for Christmas Day, the activity staff putting up decorations, wrapping presents and Christmas activities uplifting everyone’s spirits. This year may be a little different. But a little bit of effort and some creativity can still create that all-important festive feeling for everyone. You can do this in the run-up to Christmas or even on Christmas Day, depending on your care home’s plans.
“The staff are a huge part of the residents’ lives, but this year we are stepping up and becoming family.”
Encourage the residents to wear something special and spend the day having pamper sessions, so the ladies can have their nails, hair and make-up done and the men can look dapper with gelled hair and strong aftershave on. Ask the staff to wear fancy dress or a nice sparkly outfit, as this will make the event even more exciting for the residents, who will feel like the staff are there to celebrate with them and not just working.
Organise with the kitchen to make a buffet. Decorate the buffet table with Christmas decorations and rearrange the dining tables, putting all the tables together so the residents can sit with other people and intermingle with staff. Decorate with crackers, napkins and plenty of tinsel. Play festive music and encourage singalongs over dinner.
Have Christmas music on in every room, so that when people are walking about the home to different areas there is still a festive atmosphere. At a chosen point, gather everyone in the lounge and gather round the piano or the fire for a Christmas Choir. This will surely get everyone in the Christmas spirit. As you are not allowed external people into the home, is there a staff member or resident who can play some Christmas carols? If not, a CD player will be absolutely fine. (A choir each week to build up to this performance would be lovely.) Maybe you could film this and email it out to families who are unable to attend this year’s party.
Set up different areas around the home for people to experience. Set up a Christmas backdrop or a Santa’s grotto, gather friends together, and take photos which you can later print off and put in their rooms or send to relatives. Set up games around the home which people can interact with – pin the star on the tree, pass the parcel, throw the snowball at Santa, Christmas bingo, and a Christmas quiz. Hand out mulled wine, roasted peanuts, or marshmallows to enjoy. Hold a raffle, hand out tickets for free and, at the end of the event, present the winning prize.
As you may not be able to get an entertainer in, set up your own disco in a large room. Move all the tables out and put chairs around the edge of the room. Turn the main lights off and purchase a disco light or glitter ball and play some music. Have all the staff dance with the residents. Encourage people to get to their feet where they can, and bring people in wheelchairs onto the dance floor and sway the chair side-to-side as if they are dancing hand-in-hand with someone. Others may simply want to watch, singalong or tap to the tune from the edge of the room.
When everyone is tired and ready to go back to their rooms, hand them a glass of eggnog, which they can take back with them to enjoy.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!