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‘A time to come together’: A glimpse into Arvida’s Christmas celebrations

Welcome to our Christmas series, where we take a look at what retirement villages around New Zealand have planned for the festive season. Here’s how Arvida is celebrating the holiday.

Staff and residents at Arvida communities are looking forward to the festive season. Each village celebrates Christmas slightly differently, with Arvida communities collaborating to decide how they would like to mark the occasion. Celebrations always reflect the backgrounds, interests, and preferences of the people who live at each village. In most cases, residents are involved with organising and running the events with as much help as they need from Arvida staff.

One thing that will be consistent throughout all Arvida communities is their “attitude of living well” – as you’ll see from all the exciting things they have planned!

Christmas events

To give you an idea of the variety of celebrations, here are some of the events in this year’s line-up:

  • Village at the Park in Wellington is putting on a pantomime of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Rhodes on Cashmere in Christchurch is hosting a Christmas carol session around their 20-metre Norfolk pine, which every year is lit from top to toe.
  • At St Albans, residents and staff are decorating the doors of their rooms to make the whole community feel festive.

Christmas food

Arvida’s national hospitality manager Harrie Geraerts, an acclaimed chef and all-round food expert, is encouraging all Arvida communities to customise their Christmas menu to suit the tastes and traditions of their residents.

Here’s some of the delicious food that will be on offer:

  • Shortbread
  • Pavlova
  • Kumara salad
  • Smoked salmon paté
  • Turkey
  • Minted peas
  • Vanilla panna cotta with fresh berry coulis
  • Homemade fruit mince pies
  • Glazed ham
  • Devilled eggs
  • Plum puddings with custard
  • Shrimp cocktails

Harrie and the team takes great care to ensure the Christmas meals are suitable for all residents.

“Christmas is for everyone, including residents in care with special dietary requirements. So, I encourage our kitchen teams to set their own menus after consulting with residents,” says Harrie.

Presentation is also hugely important. Many Arvida residents will sit down to a ‘dining out’ experience with perfectly-laid tables decorated with seasonal flowers and Christmas ornaments.

Another thing many villages are doing for foodie festive fun is baking their own Christmas cakes. In care communities, the residents have use of the main kitchen, plus as much help as they need from the kitchen team.

Christmas entertainment

In terms of entertainment, there is so much going on throughout each village it would take pages to list every event!

Here’s one programme, provided by Village at the Park in Wellington, to give you an idea.

  • A pantomime: Beauty and the Beast. A multi-talented cast of staff and residents will perform in front of an audience of residents and their families.
  • Silent disco on Christmas Day for residents in care. Everyone gets their own headset so they can groove to their favourite dance tunes.
  • Happy hours in December will all have a Christmas theme and there will be live entertainment on some nights.
  • Care residents will enjoy a Christmas party, barbeque, and a parade.
  • Everyone will be invited to participate in a Christmas cookie decorating competition.
  • A Christmas choir of staff and residents will sing carols around the village in December.
  • Garden areas will be decorated with solar lights throughout the festive season.
  • A community Christmas market lets residents buy and sell hand-made products that make the perfect Christmas gifts.
  • As a special project for pandemic Christmas, Village at the Park will use video calls to connect with other rest home residents around the world.

While entertainment programmes differ from village to village, most include Christmas favourites such as craft sessions, Christmas tree decorating, singalongs, and sweet treats.

Christmas giving

In addition to all their celebrating, Arvida residents around the country are also busy coordinating Christmas fundraisers for organisations and causes dear to their hearts, such as Ronald McDonald House, food banks, and families in need.

All in all, Christmas at Arvida is a time for coming together, celebrating each other, and enjoying life’s special moments.

Want to learn more about Arvida? Check out Arvida’s communities on Village Guide.

To see how other villages are celebrating Christmas this year, follow Village Guide on Facebook.

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