Mallard Landing, an assisted living retirement community in Battle Ground, is throwing the seniors in its care a month-long Christmas celebration in their facility.
Coordinator Andrea Pineda is eager to throw the residents the best celebration she can before they go visit their families. Pineda said the two biggest events they host are “Spaghetti with Santa,” which was on Dec. 7, and a Christmas party on Dec. 23.
“Typically, the residents go out with their families on Christmas Eve,” Pineda said. “Then on Christmas day, we’ll do stockings, especially for the people who stay here during the holidays. We’ll also do an extra special meal like prime rib or something like that. I will say about 75% of the families go out with their families on those two days.”
For the Spaghetti with Santa event, the facility decorates the whole building for Christmas. The residents then take pictures with Santa Claus and eat spaghetti, salad, breadsticks, or garlic bread.
The celebration on Dec. 23 is a more formal Christmas party.
“With that one, we do the nice crystal glassware, we set up all the white linens and we do Christmas presents donated to us by the Battle Ground community,” Pineda said. “For example, the Bus Barn here in Battle Ground adopted 20 of our residents and got Christmas presents for things that they needed or wanted, and then we give those gifts to the residents at the Christmas party.”
Pineda said Santa hands the presents over to the residents, and they can also open their stocking stuffers on Christmas day, which includes toothbrushes, sugar free candy and cookies. The Christmas celebrations have occurred for the past 19 years, almost as long as the facility has been open, Pineda said.
Before COVID-19, Pineda said they typically had 100 family members who came, but due to current state regulations, that will not happen this year. The conditions were the same last year because of the virus as well.
Throughout the month, Mallard Landing holds a different activity each day, depending on the traditions the resident typically follows. Pineda said the staff asks all of the residents what their traditions are. Those include things like decorating cookies, making fudge, or setting up a garland for the Christmas tree. Some activities that stand out to her are latke, spiced eggnog, and residents who decorate their own Christmas ornaments. Others include making popcorn and candy garlands, which go on the five trees strewn throughout the facility. Some residents also have a tradition of decorating the building the week after Christmas, so Pineda has honored that tradition as well.
This is the first year Pineda has organized the event herself, which was “more complicated than I thought,” she said.
“I didn’t realize how much work the previous person put into getting all the gifts collected, and I told her, ‘Man, I owe you a huge gratitude because it takes many, many hours of organizing to make sure people get what they need,’” Pineda said. “We also need to make sure all our volunteers are communicated with and to make sure that whatever they say they’d donate, we actually receive.”
Pineda said part of the organizing process requires the staff at Mallard to create a list of every resident in the building. The list includes the resident’s age and gender, but not their name, so the facility doesn’t violate federal health protection laws. They then ask the residents their hobbies, what they need, and what they want. From there, the volunteers try their best to fulfill each item on the list.
Pineda said they are still accepting new gift donations for the residents every day. They’re located at 813 SE Clark Ave., Battle Ground.
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