Jan Millward: Christmas Is Coming

December is often the busiest month for activity coordinators. Some I have seen are well underway with their plans and have started with some glorious craft ideas. Often the simplest ideas work the best, and below are some of my failsafe favourites.

Reuse Old Christmas Cards: You may have a resident who is very keen to make some lovely gift tags, another might enjoy helping by cutting the backs off the card, others may enjoy sorting the cards into groups such as robins, snowmen and Father Christmas cards. You may also find that residents who don’t usually get involved, will enjoy simply looking at the pictures.

Sock Snowmen: My favourite Christmas craft is sock snowmen. I have made whole armies of these and seen them proudly displayed in halls and rooms and even given as gifts. You can see a link below for a great demonstration. I used googly eyes instead of pins, which is a bit safer, and filled them with wheat instead of rice!

Seasonal Wreaths: What about buying wire wreath frames from your nearest garden centre? They are usually around £1.50 each, and once you have them, you can reuse them time and again for other seasonal events throughout the year. For Christmas, cut up strips of fabric in festive colours, such as white, red, gold and green, into six-inch lengths and simply tie in a single knot all around the frame. It’s very effective and easy for anyone to do. Plus, once Christmas is over, get the wreaths stripped down and tied up with red, white and blue ready for the new royal baby in the spring!

Say Thank You: I am sure you will all have choirs, schools and Brownies groups lined up for some festive singing. Why not show your appreciation and get your residents wrapping up a couple of Quality Street sweets or similar in tiny parcels of coloured cellophane? Be sure to check with teachers and leaders if this is acceptable, and also check no one has any allergies.

Mini Stockings: Christmas Day itself is usually hectic, but the gift of a little Christmas sock with a tangerine and some chocolate coins and maybe a small gift on Christmas morning is sure to bring a smile.

Keep Looking Forward: It is so easy to get carried away with Christmas and then have a blank diary for January! An ‘Our Year’ folder is a great start to the new year. Get your group adding poetry and art work as well as some photos of what you have all been up to. Make a start painting snowdrops to go in the January section and perhaps you could get ahead and plan a little party for Burns Night on 25th January too? And, don’t forget to put a poster up asking for old calendars and Christmas cards – you will be glad you did, this time next year!

Happy Christmas to you all!