On December 19, there was a flurry of activity at the Ron Smith Care Centre as final preparations were made for the Christmas party to be held the following day. The decorations were up, the cutlery was polished, the tables were laid, the pretty Christmas tree centre-pieces with angels, garland and tinsel were placed, and a final staff practice of the Christmas entertainment was held.
The care centre staff, all dressed in red and white and wearing Santa hats, began the celebrations with a procession into the hall, singing Silent Night. They continued with the carols: Once in Royal David’s City, Away in a Manger, Jingle Bells, Mary’s Boy Child and a rousing Joy to the World. Then it was the residents’ turn to sing along to lovely piano music by volunteer, Jean Johnson, as she played some of their favourites: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, The Drummer Boy and We wish you a Merry Christmas, amongst others.
Following the singing, there was a special performance by staff, who acted out the lyrics to The 12 Days of Christmas. As an introduction, Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, reminded the audience that this old English carol was actually about a love-sick gentleman plying his sweetheart with a series of gifts which increase in quantity and volume over each of the 12 days.
The Ron Smith Care Centre staff’s comical interpretation of this old fashioned song brought smiles of delight and laughter, as they recognised those representing the 12 drummers drumming, the 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight milk maids milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!
Next was a surprise visit by Santa Claus (aka volunteer Dave Stewart), whose arrival was heralded with the jingle of sleigh bells and a very loud, “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas”. He handed out Sweetie Pies to all the residents, with the help of his two elves. The Christmas programme wrapped up with staff and residents singing to Feliz Navidad, with the staff dancing around the hall, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
The residents then moved across to the dining room for a lovely Christmas lunch, which consisted of a Salmon mousse starter, followed by roast sirloin of beef and lamb, roast potatoes, and vegetables. A lovely sherry trifle rounded off the delicious meal.
Care centre resident Gordon Ross summed up the celebration by saying: “I don’t think that I have ever attended anything before, where people enjoyed themselves like that... to be a part of this was very heart-warming.”