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12 Days of Christmas Activities for Seniors

Portrait of a grandmother opening Christmas gifts with her granddaughter

Happy holidays! Our team at Westminster Place encourages all seniors to continue carrying on holiday traditions, create new ones, and engage in activities that make the season all the more joyful and peaceful.

Learn why it’s important for seniors to participate in the festivities and grab an idea from our activities list below.

The benefits of hands-on activities for seniors

Why are socialization and hands-on learning so important for seniors? Aside from the obvious benefits of interacting with peers and having fun, these aspects of life also have a positive influence on overall health.

Social connection and interactive activities have been linked to many health benefits, from physical health to mental health.

In fact, Harvard Medical School shares a 2019 study conducted by The Journals of Gerontology that states, “Older adults who interacted with people beyond their usual social circle of family and friends were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, greater positive moods, and fewer negative feelings.”

When seniors live alone or are isolated from others, the risk of depression and anxiety setting in is much greater than for those who regularly socialize and seek new hobbies. Whether you’re a resident at an independent living, assisted living or memory care community, staying socially active is key to living a more fulfilling life.

There are many hands-on activities for seniors to participate in during the holiday season that improve cognitive function. This is especially helpful for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Concentrating on simple projects while feeling support from others stimulates brain health. 

We share some of our favorite holiday activities for residents here:

12 engaging holiday activities in a senior living community

1. Wrapping gifts and filling stockings.

For those who enjoy the art of gift wrapping, festive papers and bows make recipients even more excited to open the presents you give. Or you can always stuff stockings with candy canes, trinkets, and special tokens of your love. 

2. Decorating wreaths, Christmas trees, and mantels.

Hanging sentimental ornaments, stringing holiday lights, and decorating to your taste is half the fun of the holiday season

3. Knitting or crocheting cozy winter clothing.

There’s something peaceful about working with your hands to create a handmade scarf or winter cap for friends and family.

4. Singing and dancing along to holiday tunes.

The nostalgic sounds of holiday songs with some caroling thrown in? There’s no better way to evoke memories of holidays past.

5. Popping in a classic holiday movie.

You can’t go wrong with “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street.” If you’re more into the laughs, “Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone” never fail to bring about a belly laugh or two.

6. Writing cards for loved ones.

Wish season’s greetings to those closest to you with a special, handwritten card. You can even create the card yourself for an added personal touch.

7. Baking holiday treats.

Cookies, pies, cakes, casseroles, hot chocolate – baking and preparing any of these treats is a wonderful way to carry on tradition or put a new twist on a classic.

8. Sharing memories around the fireplace.

Sometimes, all it takes is a friendly fireside chat to feel the warmth of the season. Get to know a neighbor and share your favorite pastimes with them.

9. Hosting holiday-themed game nights.

For seniors who love friendly competition, organize a game night with neighbors. Try holiday bingo, cards, or a guess-the-number-of-holiday-candies game.

10. Organizing a “Secret Santa” gift exchange.

Gift-giving is all about the thought. For seniors who may not have loved ones close by, try organizing a small gift exchange with neighbors to brighten this time of the year.

11. Building gingerbread houses.

There’s no right or wrong way to build a gingerbread house. And there are definitely no rules when it comes to too much candy or icing. It’s always fun to see what residents come up with.

12. Writing in a gratitude journal.

As residents reflect on the past year and think ahead to the new year, writing down all the things they’re grateful for keeps positivity top of mind.

Celebrate the good times all year long at Westminster Place.

At our Life Plan Community in Evanston, IL, senior residents spend time engaging in a wide range of activities every day. We encourage seniors to live actively and independently, even when they need additional levels of care. Learn more about our lifestyle and all the fun waiting to be had at Westminster Place.