Whatever tradition you celebrate, holiday activities for seniors can add a little unforgettable fun. Crafts, parties, holiday decorations, holiday treats, and food are part of the excitement, and these are all included in our ideas here.
Winter elderly and senior activities can be fun for all. Some crafts and ideas may vary depending on how active people are or if they need modifications and extra help.
It can be difficult for some seniors, especially if loved ones or pets have passed on or alone.
So it is essential to involve the seniors in your life, neighborhood, and place of worship in as much as you can. Find some fun and meaningful things to do.
And if you want some specialty ideas for holiday treats for seniors, including characters and themes, follow the link.
Best Holiday Activities for seniors
Flower and Centerpiece Arranging
Have a flower shop, nursery, or craft store come to your campus or group (or you can make a visit there) to demonstrate the art of flower arrangement and putting together memorable holiday centerpieces. They may also have indoor plant and flower kits available as gift items or projects to do in the home or a common area.
Create a Manger Scene
A unique manger scene can be a group effort with a little skill from many people and some ingenuity. Characters can be elaborated and made from paper mache or sewn dolls. The men in the group might enjoy making the stable and surrounding area for the scene.
The result can be a keepsake your group or community can have for years and almost endless holiday activities for seniors for a long time to come.
Grow One Or Two Amaryllises. Or Even Ten.
Kits for these magnificent large blooms are plentiful at holiday time, and they come in many colors. The amaryllis grows significantly every day for weeks, so you can watch it get more critical day by day.
Then it bursts into large blossoms, so in a group of several, they are stunning. It’s one of the fascinating and easy holiday activities for seniors that anyone can enjoy.
Crafts and Gifts
Holiday Craft Fair
A local church had an excellent idea. About two months before Christmas, they announced that people could stop by a table after services and pick up some free money! An envelope with up to $100. The catch? The purpose was to loan a little capital to buy supplies and make items for the upcoming craft fair.
At the fair, the $100 loan would be recuperated, plus profits. It worked like a charm because all that was stopping some folks from participating was the lack of funds they needed to create what they knew how to make. It was one of the more successful craft fairs they’d had. It also created a chance to launch many holiday activities for seniors, with a worthy goal.
You can make handmade crafts and gifts at home as it holds particular value compared to the ones you buy from the market. These gifts show others that you took time out of your busy routine to make something extraordinary. You can make several different handicrafts for your family and friends, including coasters, cupcakes, potted plants, etc. There is no shortage of creative ideas, and if you don’t know how to make them, you can learn from the internet.
Making a Family Scrapbook
Scrapbooks are a great way to preserve your good memories in a family history book, box, or card. You can print some of your family photos and put them together in a scrapbook with your seniors. This scrapbook will make the elders remember the old happy memories by looking at the old photos. Scrapbooks make a great craft.
Making a Hot Chocolate Bar
You can make your elders a hot chocolate bar for events like Board game night. It makes the night memorable and doesn’t require that much of an effort. You can add candy cane sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream, and pirouettes to do the trick. It is also suitable for heart health, memory, and happiness.
Make a Gingerbread House
Gingerbread houses are highly creative holiday activities for seniors and have all sorts of possibilities. Including having an expert visit who has done it before. Especially a baker.
You can tailor the process to your participants, using an easy kit, or baking the gingerbread from scratch and cutting it out from a pattern. (The gingerbread used for these is as hard as cement!) Or use graham crackers and adhere them with frosting (like glue) to a pre-made form or a simple wooden birdhouse.
No gingerbread house is complete without a few little marzipan creatures and people to populate its scene. We have a fun and easy from-scratch marzipan recipe here.
“Cup of Christmas Tea” Party
The well-known book, “A Cup of Christmas Tea,” has become a classic. About nostalgia and a visit to an aging Great Aunt, it’s an elderly’s favorite everywhere. It is written in rhyme and is very delightful to read aloud to a group while enjoying a cup of tea served old-fashioned style in good china if possible, with lovely table linens and holiday treats.
Share Holiday Memories
Reading this book always sparks a lot of conversation about holiday memories. Why not share them aloud with each other while sharing a cup of tea. Many are sure to get plenty of laughs.
Holiday activities for seniors across all cultures and traditions. We are familiar with one campus with residents from many different backgrounds, such as Ireland, Germans, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Greece, South America, Israel, Africa, India, Indonesia, and the Middle East.
Almost everyone celebrates something during the winter months. So the campus facilitates an unusual open house activity. The residents of the area decorate their apartments in their traditional manner, bake or cook particular foods, play special music, etc.
Then they sign up and have an afternoon where others can visit them, open house style, and learn about their traditions plus partake in a little holiday snack.
Recipes from Other Lands
As an extension of the above open house, seniors’ favorite holiday activities involve baking or eating particular foods from other countries. Many have recipes handed down through the family for years.
These can be shared in a community cookbook or shared by typing them up and making copies to pass out and share when folks come to taste your special treats. If some participants cannot cook, someone else (even the campus kitchen or activities director) can try something new.
You can try pine trees, or cardinals on a pine branch, snowmen, singing carolers, an old-fashioned church, or a cottage, plus plenty of snow (or a landscape scene from the area in which you live).
Your local craft store can help you with paint selection and ideas as well. Or perhaps you know someone who has painted on windows before and who has a bit of artistry to lead the project. This is great to do with a group or individually.
We also have a book with loads of patterns and templates useful for this and many other projects
Make a Snowman (Craft)
A snowman is a popular theme throughout many cultures and traditions. It can also be made during other winter months, not just as holiday activities for seniors.
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 someone else’s needs, and makes us also feel perfect inside. Some organizations have special activities for senior citizens.
For those who know how to knit or quilt, for instance, yarn and fabric can often be donated as they need the people who have the skill to make the mittens, hats, scarves, and quilts for people in need or who may be ill. It is advantageous to help out at a shelter for the homeless or a food pantry for those able.
Make Greeting Cards
You can participate in making 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, helping you link up with those who would appreciate cards. And you may discover ways to have many of the materials donated as well. Or make them for friends, family, or to sell at craft fairs.
Reading with Kids
You can either have a child read to you, a group, or a senior read to the children. At any rate, storytimes can be great holiday activities for seniors; besides classic stories about Frosty, Rudolf, and The Night Before Christmas, you can explore the children’s section of a local book store or library and see what else is out there. The December holidays are a prime time for book publishers to come out with new listings of children’s books, and most are beautifully illustrated. Then share some cocoa or cider and cookies.
Make Old-Fashioned Ornaments with Kids
Perhaps you or your group remember stringing cranberries and popcorn. Or holiday cookies to hang. Or you are making paper snowflakes and strings of cut-out angels, or paper chains. Maybe felt ornaments with glitter and sequins. Then there are those Styrofoam balls studded with fancy beads.
Maybe you have something even more unique to share. Kids love to create and to learn about how things were made and done in the past. Sharing those simple (or fancy) traditions are meaningful holiday activities for seniors; children too. And when everything is completed, everyone can decorate a tree or room together. Plus, take something home.
Share “Then and Now” Stories With Kids
You can talk about how things used to be vs. how they are now as it helps in closing the so-called generation gap and promotes appreciation and understanding. It is also essential for teens as well. So if you have a school or scouting group that comes to visit (or that you can arrange to see), plan on a little story swapping about “the good old days,” as well as the new ones, with lots of food too, of course.
Make Popcorn Balls
Making popcorn balls is also a fun thing to do with children. There are popcorn ball recipes galore, including those with nuts, mini marshmallows, mini gumdrops, M&M’s, or Red Hot candies. Wrap them in colored cellophane and tie it with a bright ribbon, and they’re good to go (or give).
Visit an Indoor Greenhouse or Conservatory
Going on short day trips are appealing holiday activities for seniors. Many cities have beautiful indoor gardens to get away from the cold climate (if you live in one). And some areas of the building may also be dressed for the holidays. If a fee is involved (some are just on a donation basis), there are usually special rates for seniors. Get other outing ideas, including indoors, on our page about field trip activities for the elderly.
Your Local Nursery
As an alternative, larger nurseries have beautiful areas to visit and even to stop and “smell the roses.” Including in winter. Greenhouses can be quite spectacular to see at this time and also offer gift items with many great ideas for those hard-to-buy-for folks as well. It will help if you inquire whether the nursery or conservatory offers a class or demonstration in flower and centerpiece arranging. This can also give plenty of ideas for more activities later.
Department Store Displays
Visiting holiday displays in the large department stores (along with a little lunch perhaps) is another fun day trip that can also be combined with shopping. The fantastical scenes change from year to year and include plenty of lights and animation.
Holiday Concert or Ballet
Holiday activities for seniors are entertaining when you can get dressed up and have an afternoon out, complete with hot cocoa and dessert somewhere afterward.
You may also have a church or choir in a town known for its special concerts and recitals. If attending the complete Handel’s “Messiah” is a bit lengthy, perhaps you can arrange to have a choir come in and sing a shorter version. And be sure to invite a local ballet school to give a Nutcracker (or other) performance.
Music and Movies
And then there are, of course, all the holiday movies and songfests that we can’t do without. So be sure to plan plenty of senior activities and parties around these. (Any excuse for a party!)
A Few Games
Games are favorite holiday activities for seniors, and here are a few we’ve come across (with prizes, of course):
1. Marshmallow Toss
The biggest ones you can find are tossed into a holiday basket or tin or through a wreath. Dust them with a little flour first, so they don’t get too sticky.
2. Guess How Many?
How many cranberries, colorful gumdrops, or candies are in a large glass vase? The person with the closest guess wins a prize.
3. Break Your New Year’s Resolutions
In advance. Why not? We all do anyway, so we might as well make it into a game. Before your party, have a team write some outrageous (or real) resolutions on pieces of paper, slide them into balloons with a bit of candy, then blow up the balloons. Tie them up with ribbons around your party room. At the designated time, everyone can break a balloon and read their resolution — then rip it up and eat the treat.
4. Board Games
You can play board games with your elders like chess, monopoly and scrabble, etc. These are great for improving relationships with your elders and increasing brain function, setting a goal,and being patient. It is also an excellent way to reduce stress and increase overall happiness.
You can adapt just about anything for the holidays. Take a look at some other ideas on these games and see what you can do with them. And don’t forget to go out and see all the holiday lights and decorations in your area.
Elders can do many fun activities in winters while staying at home, like playing games, baking cookies, participating in various light competitions with family members, reading books, etc. These activities are fun and suitable for their health as they may take seasonal depression and loneliness away from them and make them feel happy.