Joyful January

From helping clear away decorations to celebrating royal birthdays and feeding the birds, Jan Millward has some simple, wholesome ideas to welcome in the new year this January…

How was Christmas? I bet you all really went the extra mile to make it special for your residents. It will have certainly been one we won’t forget in a hurry.


Start as you mean to go on – a clutter-free home means a clutter-free mind. Get your residents involved in taking down the decorations and making sure everything is put away safely. They can sort and wrap baubles, roll up tinsel and collect Christmas cards to put away neatly. Make sure all the greeting cards are saved for making tags and new cards for next Christmas!

We are still under strict quarantine regulations, and the latest news about Christmas and beyond will have been a big blow to so many of you. I doubt if many homes are able yet to welcome back their favourite singers and entertainers, but there is a ray of hope fast approaching us. We have a lot to look forward to, so try to keep positive in these early weeks after Christmas.

Many care home entertainers have been out of work for nearly a year now and I’m sure they would appreciate a card from your residents to say how much they have been missed. You could try making up a poem to go in each card as well. And perhaps brainstorm some ideas for still being able to enjoy their singing – garden concerts, Zoom singalongs?


There are a lot of famous birthdays in January including Elvis on the 8th January and Muhammed Ali on the 17th January. Play some Elvis music and have a go at boxing balloons!

The Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her birthday on the 9th January, so use this day to get out the flags and make your own royal family tree.

Draw a large tree onto a display board. On top of the tree, draw a union flag. You could cut out some pictures of corgis to go around the base.

Start at the roots with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and print off pictures of all the monarchs and their offspring right up to the present day. Use the tree as a prop for reminiscing about memories of the Royal family. These could include the scandal of Edward and Mrs Simpson, the coronation of the Queen, Princess Diana and Charles, right up to the present day with Harry and Meghan Markle. I am sure you will have some interesting conversations!

You could also make individual trees for your residents if they each wanted to do their own. Finish off with a pot of tea and some cakes, fit for a king (or queen!).

Then, on 27th January throw another tea party for Lewis Carroll’s birthday, with a fun and playful Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! Look out for props and dress everyone up for the occasion.


It is often bitterly cold at this time of year, so use a craft session to make bird cakes, feeders and wires with Cheerios threaded on. They will repay you with a colourful display in your garden.

Make your own bird pictures…

Draw a simple outline onto card, and then fill it in with scraps of material and tissue paper.

You could draw a big branch on a large piece of card and then cut the birds out and paste them onto it for a colourful display.


If you get snow, bring some indoors and let your residents touch it and feel the cold on their fingers. If you get a lot, build a big snowman in the garden to look at from the comfort and warmth of the lounge.


I am sure many of you already have plans in place for the 25th January – Haggis tasting, making shortbread, playing bagpipe music and reminiscing about visits to the Highlands and glens.

Let your residents help you make this traditional Scottish soup that requires lots of chopping of vegetables and will make a hearty supper dish.


  • 8oz turnips
  • 8oz carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 leek
  • 4oz pearl barley and 4oz dried peas (or soup mixture of peas, lentils and pearl barley). These should be soaked in cold water the night before.
  • Seasoning
  • 4pts vegetable or lamb stock


  1. Peel and dice all the vegetables.
  2. Simmer gently in a large saucepan for 2-3 hours.
  3. Season to taste.