ALL IS BRIGHT – December Activity Ideas

Light up your community as you plan December activities and events. This month can be especially busy for all of us, but with the right planning and assistance, we can make the holidays bright for everyone. We wish you a month full of twinkle lights, mugs of hot cocoa, and plenty of reasons to count your blessings!

LOVELY LUMINARIES –You can purchase luminaries from places like Oriental Trading, or you can work with your group to make them together. If you are making your own, use small white paper bags. Use stencils to make designs and shapes to cut out of the bags. You can also use large cookie cutters as patterns. Seniors who struggle with fine motor cutting skills can help trace the designs on the bags. Weight the bottom of each bag with about two inches of sand. Set a battery-operated tea light or glow stick (from the local dollar store) in the sand. Use the luminaries as centerpieces for your family holiday party or to light the hallways for visiting carolers.

STAFF APPRECIATION – Designate a Christmas tree somewhere in your community as a “You Light Up Our Lives Tree.” Ask group members to cut out colorful holiday light bulb shapes and put a yarn loop at the top. Staff, seniors, visitors, and family members can write a thank-you note to a specific person on one of these bulb shapes and then hang it on this tree.

COLORFUL APARTMENT WREATHS – Add a splash of color by making wreaths with bows. Purchase foam wreaths from your local hobby store, along with bags of colorful bows. Participants can place bows onto the foam, close together so the foam doesn’t show through. You need to use an adhesive here, as the bow’s sticky back will not be enough to keep it secure for the month. (You could also use thumb tacks.) Seniors with grasping difficulty can use larger-sized bows. Add a long ribbon at the top to hang the wreath.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – Candles and light are an important part of many holiday traditions, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Take time throughout the month to highlight each of these holidays and the role that candles play in the different traditions.

HOLIDAY LIGHT DRIVE – Take a drive with your group to view the best neighborhood light displays. You can decorate the inside of the bus with battery-operated holiday lights to add to the festive atmosphere. Hand out cards with numbers 1-3 to each participant, and ask them to rate each house you pass. Or, to just give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

FESTIVE EXERCISE – Pass out one red and one green glow stick to exercise participants (you can also use one red and one green glowing bracelet). Dim the lights and do your exercise class with these fun accessories, along with a holiday soundtrack.

NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE – Learn the history of lighting the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. Pass around books with photos of Christmas at the White House and talk about First Ladies and their holiday themes.

GIVING BACK – Partner with a local organization that your group members support. Encourage family members, visitors, and others to donate to the cause. For every set dollar amount (perhaps every $1, $5, or $10), light a battery-operated candle in a designated spot in your community. Watch the lights grow and invite the organization to your community for a social to present the check. Or, you could hold a canned food drive for the local food pantry.

NEW YEAR’S EVE – New York-style: Post photos of Times Square at night and all lit up. Wear party hats. Hang a silver disco ball. Listen to Guy Lombardo’s rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” Throw confetti and blow party horns. Sip sparkling cider or ginger ale.


  1. Which famous entertainment center is the site of the huge Christmas tree in New York City? Rockefeller Center
  2. Which holiday character has a red nose that shines so bright? Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
  3. How does Rudolph help Santa Claus? By guiding Santa’s sleigh through the fog
  4. In the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” what does the singer wish your heart would be? Light
  5. When does a large, brightly-lit ball slowly descend in New York City’s Times Square? On New Year’s eve
  6. Hanukkah is also called the festival of what? Lights
  7. In Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge must wait for how many spirits on Christmas eve? Three
  8. According to Christian writings, what drew the Wise Men to Bethlehem? A star
  9. Which month holds the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere? December
  10. What are the three colors of Kwanzaa? Red, green, and black



“May your holiday be as bright as your spirits are light.”


“All Is Bright” was written by Haley Burress and Sue Hansen. Copyright 2017 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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