‘What the holidays are all about’
BY BETH SUDDARD
Christmas is quickly approaching and it’s shaping up to be a very festive, fun-filled season for the residents at Parkland Truro. Melanie Dash is the retirement community’s new recreation director and, while she may have only joined the team in October, she’s already implemented several programs to help residents actively engage and have fun. “Melanie has amazing experience in program planning. She’s fantastic!” says Bree-lynn Pelly, Lifestyle and Business Coordinator for Parkland. “We’re so happy to have found her.” ‘CREATING GOOD MEMORIES’ This holiday season, Parkland residents will be treated to a plethora of festive and entertaining activities, more than ever before, as Dash has planned an array of holiday activities to make the season magical for residents. Things will kick off Nov. 24 with the Christmas in November shopping event, as local vendors selling items like Mary Kay, baked goods and jellies, jams and pickles, ornaments and greeting cards will visit Parkland. This means residents will be able to get their holiday shopping started from the comfort of their own home. On Nov. 25, Parkland will celebrate Edinburgh Hall’s 15th anniversary, with an extended happy hour with Bruce Elliot providing entertainment. The 12 Days of Christmas event will then kick off Dec. 13, with a different activity happening each day leading up to Christmas, from card and ornament making to movies, a hot cocoa bar, cookie decorating, an ugly Christmas sweater party to a games night. Dash also hopes to arrange a sightseeing tour around Truro, so residents can visit the holiday light displays around town. And during a holiday dinner service, Parkland’s executive chef will build an elaborate gingerbread house as residents watch and enjoy its creation. “Hopefully we’ll bring lots of life and love and good feelings this Christmas season,” says Dash. “What’s really awesome about our site is that everyone really likes to be together. There’s a really nice family feel here.” The Happy Harmonies local singing group — which counts a Parkland resident among its members — will visit Parkland to do some caroling. Dash also plans to play some Stuart Mclean stories, so people can sit around and have a snack, listen and chat. “We’ll be creating good memories and good ways to laugh. That is what the holidays are all about,” says Dash. HOLIDAY CRAFTS ‘HELP US CONNECT’ It’s not just the staff at Parkland that are actively spreading holiday cheer. Eleanor Faulkner is a retired teacher and has lived at Parkland for more than two years. As someone who loves keeping busy and being involved, Eleanor has been making Christmas wreaths for years, repurposing old puzzles with missing pieces into Christmas decorations. Last year, she led a group of residents in making wreaths and, when more mentioned they’d like to learn it this year, Faulkner happily said yes, leading crafting sessions and forging friendships. “I like to have people to talk to — the social aspect is so important. It helps us connect,” she says. “We trade stories about some of our experiences and it’s really nice to be able to get together, do a craft, and also have a little chat.” Eleanor helps make Parkland a tightly knit community and an inviting place to live. Pelly says it’s people like Eleanor that make Parkland such a special place to live. “Eleanor has a really great close connection within the community and she’s spreading her love of crafting,” says Pelly. “Our residents are just as involved with each other as we are with them, which is so great to see.” Fewer COVID-19 cases, and relaxed restrictions have allowed for more community involvement this year, helping to make it the most festive season yet. Parkland boasts common spaces that community organizations and groups can utilize, provided people are vaccinated. Local orchestra group Colchester Celtic Six also practices there, which provides a nice show for residents. “We’re so happy that we can welcome the community back in! It’s making our residents’ quality of life and ability to do things so much greater,” says Pelly. “We’re finally seeing familiar faces and entertainers that we haven’t seen for a while and it’s like a homecoming. There’s no better season to set it off than Christmas too. Our retirement home really comes to life at Christmas!” The Parkland community comes alive during the holidays, as people come together to celebrate safely. For more programming information, visit experienceparkland.com.