Notes on a memorable Yuletide

The festive season seems to begin earlier each year; and so it proved in November last, when excitement took hold of staff and residents at The Old Rectory in anticipation of what was to come.

Plans were made and preparations begun, to make sure Christmas 2023 would be one that lasted long in everyone’s memory.

Deck the halls…

Hanging the decorations is always an enjoyable start to the festivities, and last year was no exception as the brightly bedecked halls, walls, and rooms brought seasonal sparkle to every corner of our daily lives.

Four Christmas trees stood proudly in the communal areas; beautifully adorned they bore silent witness to the clamour of activity that slowly unfolded around them.

On the first day of Christmas…

The season’s staff raffle, themed around the ‘Twelve days of Christmas’, afforded an ideal opportunity for us to reward our hard-working team.

Ably assisted by residents, a spinning wheel added an element of chance that decided the day’s chosen recipients. Starting early on December 13 with the first twelve winners, the gifts on offer decreased by one per day, culminating in a single winner on Christmas Eve – by which time all staff members had received a prize.

And when the ‘wheel of fortune’ had spun its last spin, all the names were re-entered into a prize draw with a chance to win items of higher value and one lucky winner being presented with the ultimate prize of an ‘experience’ gift card to the value of almost £300.

The holly and the ivy…

From among our many visitors over the Christmas period, we were especially pleased to be joined by the children of Rainbow’s End Pre-School, Ewhurst Infants, and Cranleigh Preparatory School who made our spirits soar with their uplifting renditions of popular carols.

It is always a pleasure to welcome the children to spend time with us, but it brings particular joy at Christmas to experience such ‘joie de vivre’.

We were also fortunate to receive a visit from a local church choir whose mellifluous voices resounded throughout the building as they entertained and engaged residents in equal measure.

The entertainment continued at pace as everywhere bristled with Christmas-themed activities: there was poetry with Paul, flower table decoration workshops with Joanne and Susan, and crafting and quizzing aplenty!

’Tis the season to be jolly…

By the time the ‘big day’ arrived, everywhere was fizzing and bubbling with festive fun and the drinks flowed as easily as the conversation before we all sat down to a splendid lunch.

Traditional Christmas lunch was ‘topped and tailed’ by an entrée of smoked salmon with beetroot and vodka crème fraîche, and the choice of Christmas pudding with brandy butter or a crown layered pavlova for dessert – our thanks go out to the kitchen team who rose to the occasion, as always.

And as everyone retired to a comfortable spot, filled to the brim with Christmas cheer, there was time to peruse the personalised presents waiting to be unwrapped, as we reflected on the day’s events.

Feedback from residents, families and visitors has been unanimous in its fulsome praise for what was a hugely enjoyable time enjoyed by all – so the early start on the planning and preparations certainly paid off.

It was a Yuletide to remember, indeed!