’Tis the season for ugly Christmas sweaters, pass the present game at Willows Estate

Aurora long-term care home’s nutritional care manager plans elaborate meal for Dec. 25

With staff donning “ugly Christmas sweaters” and residents playing “pass the present”, the holiday season is underway at Willows Estate.

To residents’ delight, the 84-bed Aurora long-term care home recently hosted an ugly sweater contest for staff.

Employees donned their ugliest apparel, and a winner and runner-up were named. Staff also enjoyed a luncheon following the contest, notes Teddy Mazzuca, the life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Willows Estate.

“The residents did love (the ugly sweater contest),” Teddy says. “They enjoyed seeing the staff.”

Teddy says she’s looking forward to offering a new game for residents during the week of Christmas called pass the present.

Like the hot potato game, residents sit in a circle and pass the item around while music plays.

However, when the music stops, the resident holding the present gets to open and keep the gift – unlike hot potato during which the person left holding the potato when the music stops is out of the game.

“We’re hoping that most residents will get a small present,” Teddy says.

Meanwhile, in the nutritional care department, nutritional care manager (NCM) Jeffrey Peters and staff will be serving a special meal on Christmas Day.

“We’ll have your traditional roasted turkey with all of the trimmings,” Jeffrey tells The OMNIway.

Dinner will include turkey, pineapple-glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with double-smoked bacon, mustard and honey roasted salmon, and herb and garlic oven-baked shrimp. Plum pudding with a crème caramel sauce, eggnog ice cream and seasonal fruit are on the menu for dessert.

“It’s pretty elaborate,” the NCM says.

“Part of it is also to say thank you to the staff too,” says Jeffrey, noting, there will be food for employees working Christmas Day.

Preparation for Dec. 25 will begin Christmas Eve and includes making the brine for the turkey, marinating the salmon, and prepping the vegetables. “Everything needs to be marinated in advance to optimize the best flavour possible,” the NCM notes.

“Then the day of … we just rock and roll.”

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