Fun Winter Projects to do With Your Loved One This Holiday Season
Think Christmas revelry is just for the wee ones? Think again. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are packed with opportunities for caregivers to help older adults catch the spirit of the season. Even better? They’re fun for caregivers, too! Let’s count down seven terrific winter activities for seniors this Christmas. Then, make sure to access our free bundle of resources aimed at providing even more holiday help for caregivers during this hectic time of year.
1. Build Your Own Gift Baskets
Seniors are often at a loss for what to give the special people in their lives. Rather than braving the crowds at the mall in the hopes of finding a sweater, tie, or trinket a recipient might like, why not design and stock custom-made holiday gift baskets of your own this year?
This can be a surprisingly inexpensive task with wonderful results -- particularly when you brainstorm themed baskets based on each recipient’s unique tastes. From a movie-themed basket featuring favorite movie snacks and a gift card to the local cineplex for an entertainment-loving nephew to a spa-themed basket including all sorts of girly goodies for a favorite teen or tween, the possibilities for creativity and originality are infinite.
2. Create Centerpieces for the Holidays
Have a crafty aging loved one? Feel the creative urge coming on? If so, this activity may be the perfect way to spend an hour or two together.
From an elegant candle and cranberry creation to a lush woodland tablescape featuring live moss as its focal point, there are near-endless ways to show off your flair. Try to keep in mind your aging loved one’s interests and abilities when picking your centerpiece projects. Some seniors may be up for more intensive work, while others may simply enjoy organizing brightly colored ornaments on a decorative platter or in a clear glass bowl.
An added bonus for caregivers tasked with hosting this holiday season? By enlisting your aging loved one to help you make this year’s centerpieces, you can cross an item off your to-do list -- always a plus for busy caregivers looking for help during the holidays.
MidwestLiving's roundup of simple yet seasonal holiday centerpieces offers ample inspiration.
3. Make a Wreath
Holidays wreaths come in all shapes, sizes and designs, as evidenced by Good Housekeeping’s cheerful collection of 55 do-it-yourself holiday wreaths. Whether you work with fresh greens, glass ornaments, felt poinsettias, jingle bells, or even popped corks, making a holiday wreath with your aging loved one is sure to lift senior spirits while sprucing up your home.
But why stop at one? Encourage your aging loved one to make extras to give out to family and friends. After all, the old saying holds true that “it’s better to give than to receive.” Seniors will derive a wonderful sense of pride from sharing the fruits of their labor with others.
Find guidance in our holiday help for caregivers eBooks.
4. Decorate Gingerbread Houses
Feeling ambitious and have plenty of time on your hands? If so, then making your own from-scratch gingerbread house can be a uniquely festive way to enjoy time with your aging loved one. This Food Network gingerbread house recipe not only provides step-by-step directions, but also includes a handy video tutorial.
Of course, not everyone has the time -- or patience! -- to spend baking and constructing the perfect gingerbread abode. If you’re looking for all of the fun with a fraction of the effort, many bakeries, supermarkets and department stores sell pre-made, ready-to-decorate gingerbread house kits. Looking for other ways to lighten the load of caregivers? UMH’s free holiday bundle.
5. Construct a Scrapbook of Holiday Memories
For many seniors, the holidays are full of reminiscing about beautiful memories. One of our favorite winter activities for seniors? Working together to create a scrapbook of cherished photos, notes, and other pieces of memorabilia can be a joyful and intimate experience for seniors and caregivers alike. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
You don’t have to be a seasoned scrapbooker to get in on the trend thanks to Crafty’s blog entry on five tips for getting started with scrapbooking.
If your aging loved one is digitally inclined, meanwhile, sites like Shutterfly can help you click your way to professional-looking photo storybooks -- the perfect keepsake for generations to come.
6. Compile a Book of Holiday Recipes
Just because your aging loved one may no longer be able to cook all of your holiday favorites doesn’t mean he/she can’t still share them with others. Whether you pull entirely from your mother or grandmother’s recipe repertoire; invite other family members to contribute; or source entirely new recipes from cookbooks and the web, compiling a book of holiday recipes is a terrific way to get mouths watering for the meals of the season. This can be particularly useful for caregivers of seniors with low appetites who struggle with eating enough.
As with the scrapbook activity, you can handle the task of printing recipes and photos with your aging loved one and work to compile them into a book of your own design, or outsource your favorite recipes to a company like the brilliantly simple CreateMyCookbook.
One more reason to get cooking? It’s one of our four great ways to keep seniors active when the weather turns cold -- a companion piece to our compendium of holiday resources for senior caregivers and family members.
Looking for a jumpstart on your recipe collecting? Don’t miss our roundup of five senior-friendly winter recipes.
7. Craft Holiday Ornaments
Nothing says the holidays quite like beautifully decorated Christmas ornaments. From traditional designs in red, green, gold and silver shades to contemporary styles in bolder hues, the sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating options. Not up for coming up with your own ideas? Borrow from Country Living’s list of 50-plus easy DIY Christmas ornaments.
This is also a great project for bringing the young and the young at heart together. Inviting the grandkids to join in holiday ornament crafting sessions can make the activity more meaningful -- a topic covered in our holiday help for caregivers bundle.
One last thing to keep in mind? Older adults may be suffering from limited mobility, low vision, memory loss and lack of fine motor dexterity. Modifying these winter activities for seniors to accommodate any age-related changes can help you minimize frustration and maximize fun this holiday season.
Looking for more useful holiday-themed caregiver resources? Download our holiday bundle for caregivers to help your aging loved ones this holiday season!
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.