Christmas In The Heart, Puts Christmas In The Air:
Posted by Trishna Shah on Dec 20, 2010
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." ~W.T. Ellis
Christmas is a beautiful time of the year to share our hearts with communities, who might otherwise feel a bit left out of the holiday spirit. So last Sunday, 15 of us teamed up in London to host a Christmas Party for nearly 25 residents at St. Wilfrids Care Home, where we had hosted an Afternoon Tea Party a couple of months ago. The afternoon was filled with festive fun, yummy holiday food and drinks, wonderful company and most importantly lots of smiles as the elderly folks enjoyed all of the activities that we had organised for the party. Photos from the party tell some of the story of what went on and here's the rest... :)
The afternoon kicked off with some holiday crafts activities including make-your-own Christmas crackers, paint your own wintery scene for your door and make-your-own Christmas cards, courtesy of our crafts team which included Nekeeta, Anoushka, Tien-ju and Sonal. We noticed quickly that most folks were keen to have some of these things done for them, but weren't necessarily up for doing it themselves on that particular afternoon, so the volunteers all jumped in to help with the activities and presented the residents with little holiday crafts to enjoy.
This was followed by the super popular Christmas Quiz, courtesy of Jenny, which got the whole room buzzing! Jackie, Paras and Kunal played Quiz Masters as 5 teams competed to share their knowledge of Christmas Trivia, which included questions like "In what year did the Queen give her first Christmas speech?" and "Which country is the largest exporter of Christmas trees?" Sheila was the all-knowing resident who seemed to have an answer for nearly every question and led her team to victory! :) After this, the residents enjoyed some lovely holiday treats courtesy of our volunteers and the chef at St Wilfrids including some festive minced pies of course!
And of course you can't have a Christmas party with elderly folks without inviting them to do a bit of singing along to holiday tunes :) So Carl, our resident volunteer pianist, led the room in a few festive carols, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! As the party wrapped up and we say our goodbyes, it felt like nobody wanted to leave -- both the volunteers and the residents :)
After clearing up the room, we all sat together for a circle of sharing about our experiences throughout the afternoon and here are some of the highlights people shared:
- Mehwaesh was thrilled to see how much the residents enjoyed the Quiz and how competitive they got :)
- Kunal had a lovely chat with Patricia who told him about her youth and how he'd never be able to experience the feeling of freedom she had growing up and being able to run around in the fields
- Tien-Ju felt a bit awkard in the beginning of the event because some of the residents seemed really shy, but as the afternoon went on things warmed up and she had a wonderful time doing a bit of painting with Denzil, which taught her a bit more about how to interact with elderly folks at a care home
- Anoushka doesn't see elderly folks often and enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with them
- Sonal noticed that Marie seemed a bit grumpy to start with, but warmed up and had such a great time in the end after interacting with all the lovely volunteers and doing a bit of singing
- After spending 3 hours with the residents, Nekeeta had a new-found respect for the carers who work with elderly folks daily after seeing how patient they were and how they always wore a smile no matter how difficult things could get at times
- Paras loved the Quiz and had a nice time talking to Noel, who used to work in the City of London
- Jackie enjoyed catching up with residents who she had spoken to during our previous event in October and loves how so many of them have such a positive outlook despite seemingly difficult circumstances in their old age
- Chris thought Sheila was the "happiest pensioner alive" -- she told him she loves it so much at St. Wilfrids and recommended that he put his name on the waitlist :)
- Binisha was really touched by a couple of gestures at the end of the party that reminded her of why we're doing this -- Dorothy held her hand and thanked her for coming and told her how much she loved having all of us there; Susan, who doesn't communicate verbally and is wheel-chair bound stopped Bini in the corridor as she was leaving, grabbed her hand and said "thank you."
Now that's heart-melting stuff :) Thanks to all the volunteers who pitched in to make Christmas special for the residents at St Wilfrids! And from the London CF Crew, we wish you all a warm and festive holiday season and a New Year filled with love, laughter, peace and happiness.