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December 23, 2022

Vitalia Senior Residences at Westlake Celebrating 45 Days of Holiday Cheer

Category: Senior Living

Author: Katie Najdusak, Resident Services Director

The Holiday Season is upon us and at Vitalia Senior Residences at Westlake, we are celebrating in a big way! Many of the residents who call our community home spent decades of their lives creating memorable holiday traditions with their families, and it is our goal to celebrate all sorts of traditions to make our residents feel at home. Moments like these are what make the holiday season extra special.

We kicked off the 45 Days of Holiday Cheer on Thanksgiving with a Gratitude Book that allowed residents and staff to share thoughts on what they are most grateful for. In the weeks since, we have gathered to light the candles of the Advent Wreath to reflect on its blessings, enjoyed a cozy hot cocoa happy hour, polished our shoes for St. Nicholas, and learned about the Yule Lads, among other things! Our December Story Corner featured the children’s book, “A World of Cookies for Santa” and cookie recipes from around the world.

While many of the days are now behind us, the holiday cheer will continue through the end of December and into the first week of January, allowing our residents to enjoy plenty of classic Holiday traditions as well as new and exciting moments created by Arrow Senior Living and our own community team. To round out the 45-day extravaganza, the culinary team will take us on a special daily dining experience to highlight dishes themed around the 12 Days of Christmas!

I loved everything about the Advent events last year, and I’m so excited I get to do it all again this year! I think my favorite day last year was when we traveled around in our community Christmas Caroling. It was a magical experience as our group grew from six residents in our Jolly Squad to over 25 when we traveled through the hallways. Music, especially Christmas music, has always been magical for me and I absolutely love it when we can group together to sing. We are so excited for this year’s caroling adventures. We will be traveling to a sister community to sing carols with them, as well as caroling around our community. We have been practicing and even have some harmonies going this year!

My family is Swedish, and we are the only Swedish family I know of in the area. It feels extra special that we do something different than my friends’ families. We celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13th. This holiday can be traced back to the 4th century. It’s a Christian feast day, commemorating the martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, lighting her way with a candle lit wreath on her head. In modern day, we celebrate with the oldest daughter or granddaughter dressing like St. Lucia in a white robe with a red sash and the wreath of candles on her head. She brings pastries to the older relatives in her family in the early morning or at night after dark.

We also have our big holiday dinner on Christmas Eve, called a Smorgasbord. It includes Swedish meatballs (not with gravy or noodles), lingonberry jam, ham, a Swedish molasses rye bread called Limpa, baked beans (Bruna Bonar), pickled herring, hard boiled eggs, various cheeses, and Swedish crispbread or hardtack. I absolutely love the way my family has always celebrated our culture and it’s always my favorite time of year.

We hope you have been following along on Facebook and Instagram as this joyous holiday adventure has unfolded, but even if you haven’t, it’s not too late to start!

VITALIA® Westlake in Westlake, OH offers independent living +, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near UH St. John Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Avon with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Meadowood Golf Course, Crocker Park, Clague Playhouse, Porter Library, Westlake Rec Center, Sibling Revelry Brewery, Bradley Woods Reservation, Huntington Reservation, and White Oaks Restaurant.

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