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Christmas Gifts for Your Residents to Make in Your Care Home

Christmas is getting close now, with only a few weeks to go until the big day. For many care home residents, it can be harder to get hold of the right Christmas presents for loved ones. Especially if opportunities to go shopping are not as frequent as they might have liked in the past.

Running an afternoon of Christmas crafting can help solve this problem. Residents can make beautiful, bespoke presents for friends and family while enjoying a creative afternoon’s activity. Arts and crafts have been proven to bring many benefits to older people, including strengthening dexterity and creative skills and keeping the mind agile. Crafts can instil a sense of pride in the finished results, boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety or feelings of stress.

Here are six ways in which an afternoon of festive crafting can produce some truly excellent Christmas presents, decorations, accessories and more.

Flower power

There are so many ways in which flowers, leaves and berries can be brought into a festive craft activity. This can be great fun at a relatively low cost, especially if you can gather foliage and other bits and pieces from your own grounds. Provide residents with floristry wire, oasis and pretty containers to make a floral table display. Or help them bend twigs into a circle and decorate with leaves and berries for a cheerful wreath for the front door. Smaller circlets of flowers would look lovely attached to the foot of a candle too for a simple, yet charming seasonal gift.

Wrap artists

Whatever the present, it always feels more exciting when it is wrapped in some gorgeous paper with ribbons, gift tags and other decorations spilling out on the top. Residents could make their own wrapping paper using plain parcel paper and festive ink stamps – or go old school and go for some fun potato printing. Other ideas for wrapping paper designs include abstract painting, marbling and cutting up old greetings cards to make gift tags. Of course, you could explore other methods of wrapping presents too, such as using fabrics or decorating boxes with pictures cut from old magazines.

Food, glorious food

Christmas is a time to share delicious food and drink. So, why not hold a festive baking afternoon? You and your residents can have fun making tasty mince pies, Christmas puddings, cheese straws, shortbread biscuits, gingerbread houses and more – all finished off with some eggnog or mulled wine. It’s a great way to ‘road test’ some traditional recipes ahead of the big day. You might even have some goodies left over to give to family and friends if you make enough quantities…

Get personal

Personalising a Christmas gift with the recipient’s name, star sign, favourite flowers or colours can be a wonderful way to give them something truly personal and unique. If your residents don’t want to make a gift from scratch, you could find some plain gifts such as handkerchiefs, Christmas stockings, phone cases or tote bags and help them personalised something with stitches, ink, paint or sequins. Or make necklaces and bracelets with beads in the recipient’s favourite colours and designs. You could even take orders from friends and family members and get a whole production line going, full of hand-made, personalised Christmas presents.

Light it up

Christmas is a time for lights of all kinds, from calm, contemplative candles to fun fairy lights draped all over the tree, house and garden. Light can be a great theme for an arts and crafts session, from making your own candles using specially shaped moulds to decorating tealight holders or jam jars to put on a mantlepiece. Candles, stars and glowing lanterns also make great subjects for Christmas cards, if anyone is keen to get the pens, pencils and paints out for a festive drawing, sketching or painting session.

Nativity scenes

Making a Nativity scene could be a popular activity, especially if residents have young grandchildren or other relatives who might like to receive this as a gift. Choosing what to use to make the figures, scenery, manger and star is part of the fun. Options are endless, from pinecones and wood to toilet rolls and cotton wool. Figures can be knitted, felted, sewn or modelled out of clay. This could be a project for the whole of December, with participants making one or two figures each week to gradually add to the stable scene.

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