In preparation for the holidays, getting creative can not only help keep us busy, but help put you in the holiday spirit!  Here are some fun and meaningful things to do.

Holiday craft fairs - Local churches, schools and organizations frequently host these events around the holidays.  Not only are they a great way to find some unique and inexpensive gifts.  Even if you're just "browsing", you can find some ideas of things you can create at home.  

Make a gingerbread house - Gingerbread houses are a creative holiday activity and have all sorts of possibilities. You can tailor the process to your abilities, using an easy kit, or baking the gingerbread from scratch and cutting it out from a pattern. Or just use graham crackers and adhere them with frosting (like glue) to a pre-made form or a simple wooden bird house.  Once you have your structure, it's time to decorate with candies, fruits and other delicious treats!

Sharing cultures - Share you heritage and traditions with others by inviting guests over, taking a bit of your holiday to others in the form of a baked good, special food, music or stories.  Depending on your skills in the kitchen, you may want to try preparing a new holiday food that intrigues you or try a recipe that has been handed down through the family for years. If your cooking abilities are limited, look to a caregiver, friend or family to help out and try something new. 

Paint a window mural - This novel holiday activity is great, even if you don’t have much artistic talent. You can always use templates and a picture to copy as a reference.  Water-based acrylic glass paint is easy to put on and easy to wash off (or keep it).  Paintings may need several layers of paint, of course. Some parts had two coats to make it more opaque and less streaky (as some glass paint can do).  One way to approach this craft is to make a drawing to-size and tape the sketch onto the back of the window. Trace over it with a thin permanent marker. Then choose your colors and paint.  A window mural looks fabulous on either a large picture window or in sections on smaller panes. Even on a mirror. Make it in your own home, or in a community area. Your local craft store can help you with paint selection and ideas as well. 

Help with charities - We’re probably all familiar with Toys For Tots and coat and food drives. Even if we have limited funds ourselves, we can get together in holiday activities for seniors to help others. Organize or join in with a group, even in a small way.  It helps us get out of ourselves, put our attention on the needs of someone else. And makes us also feel really good inside. Some organizations have special activities for senior citizen

Make greeting cards - You can participate in an effort to make greeting cards for soldiers overseas or for children who need to spend the holidays in the hospital. There are organizations in most towns and cities that do community service and that can help you link up with those who would appreciate cards. And you may discover ways to have many of the materials donated as well. 

Visit an indoor arboretum or conservatory- Going on short day trips are appealing holiday activities for seniors. Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes has beautiful indoor gardens and helps you get-away from the cold climate.  The area is regularly dressed for the holiday too!

Department store displays - Visiting holiday displays in the large department stores (along with a little lunch perhaps) is another fun day trip. Whether you visit the local malls or make the trek to Chicago's "Miracle Mile", these fantastical scenes change from year to year, and include plenty of lights and animation.

Holiday concert or ballet - Holiday activities for seniors are especially fun when you can get dressed up and have an afternoon out, complete with hot coco and dessert somewhere afterwards. You may also have a church or choir in town that has become known for their special concerts and recitals.

Music and movies - Holiday music can be found on several local stations throughout the holidays.  If you have access to a computer, sites like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes allow you to either listen for free or purchase a huge library of songs.  When it comes to movies, you can turn to sites like Netflix, Amazon or iTunes to purchase or rent films.  Major retailers frequently have great deals on holiday films as well.   Some holiday classics include Holiday Inn, Going My Way and Christmas In Connecticut.

Finally, don’t forget to go out and see all the holiday lights and decorations in your area!  Regardless of ability, there are a number of options that seniors can enjoy during the holidays. Look to your local newspapers or search online for a variety of events and activities this season!




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