How to Celebrate Christmas With a Loved One Who Is in a Nursing Home

If you have a loved one that is in a nursing home – whether on a short-term rehabilitation basis or in long-term skilled nursing care – you may be wondering exactly how to celebrate Christmas with them.

Christmas In Nursing Home

Many individuals in these facilities find themselves discouraged and frustrated that they are not at home to celebrate the holidays with those that they love and care about.

The good news is, with a little creativity, Christmas can still be celebrated in a meaningful manner. In this brief guide, we will share a few tips on how you can successfully celebrate Christmas with a loved one who is a patient at a nursing home. 

Have An Open Conversation 

The first step to helping a loved one who will be in a nursing home at Christmas is to have an open conversation about it. This is especially true if this is the first Christmas that they will spend in the facility. Most will need a bit of time and a bit of discussion to properly process all of the changes that are occurring in their life.

While it may be sad to hear how your loved one feels, it must be understood that they need to vent and having a loved one hear them out will help – tremendously. 

During your open conversation, perhaps you could talk about memories from the past Christmases. You may mention how much you will miss your loved one’s special dishes or the traditions that they followed. If you find that your loved one does not want to have an open discussion, please do not force the conversation.

Instead, simply respect their wishes. Allow your loved one to guide the conversation. If they choose to talk openly about their feelings, be understanding. Always be empathetic. They will truly appreciate it. 

Schedule Visits

Many nursing homes have a space available where a family may get together with their loved one to celebrate Christmas. There is an occasional unfortunate event where this room may be taken up due to the festivities of the season that the nursing home is doing.

If this is the case, do not fret. Simply make a list of all of the loved ones that the patient would like to see and schedule visits all month long. Encourage those individuals to bring a card. Many may even want to bring a gift.

Just be cautious about the types of items that are purchased for the sake of gift-giving to ensure that they are allowed and usable at the facility. 


Many people look forward to the taste of home that occurs around the holidays. Maybe it is a special pie, a casserole, dressing, or even eggnog! You may check with the nursing home to determine if your loved one is on a special diet.

If so, find out if that which you want to bring conflicts with that diet. If not, load up a plate and take it to your loved one. They will genuinely appreciate having that taste of home, even though they are not at home.

To make it even more special, bring them a nice, thoughtful gift – such as a digital photo frame that has their favorite pictures on it that can be placed in their room for them to enjoy all year long. 

Celebrate Them 

As you can see, there are many ways that you may celebrate Christmas with a loved one that is in a nursing home. Remember, whatever you decide, it is truly about celebrating them. Engage in activities, gift-giving, and provide foods that accommodate your loved one.

If you need any further advice on how to celebrate the holiday, you may contact the activities director at the nursing home directly. They know your loved one and know what is considered appropriate. They will be able to offer many recommendations on how to celebrate this Christmas! 

For more information on nursing homes and other residential communities for aging and/or disabled adults, contact us here at Beacon Senior Advisors today by calling the following number: 973-713-0096

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