The holiday season at Liberty Lutheran’s Artman Senior Living Community in Ambler, PA is a busy time of the year. Director of Community Life and Volunteer Coordination, Madeleine Byrne, with others on the Artman team, and “Pastor G,” The Reverend Ghislaine Cotnoir, who focuses on their interfaith spiritual needs, keep residents engaged with a panoply of festive and uplifting events, programs, services and activities that delight, entertain and spiritually sustain them.
“Everyone participates in decorating the community, whether lighting a menorah or putting ornaments on Christmas trees. We start on November 29th with Decorating Day to decorate artificial trees. Then, on December 5th, we decorate live trees, and on December 7th, we have the Festival of the Lights when the Courtyard lights are lit,” explains Madeleine.
She continues, “The following week, on December 13th and 14th, there are Santa Parties in the house holds and the distribution of Hearts Desire Gifts to residents. On the 14th, we’re serving Resident Holiday dinners on every household. The residents look forward to the celebratory holiday parties, and welcoming Santa, and receiving their Hearts Desire gifts, which are a thrill for many.”
“Then, on the 15th, there is the unique and much anticipated Artman Christmas Pageant, when the management team and some residents dress up in Manger scene costumes to participate in acting roles depicting the Christmas Story. Even non-Christians enjoy seeing the Pageant,” Madeleine elaborates.
On December 20th, we have a Hanukkah party for all of the Jewish residents, so the month is full of parties,” she says smiling.
“We have an interfaith community here that addresses the spiritual needs of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish residents living at Artman, all of whom enjoy sharing one another’s traditions,” according to Pastor G.
“There will be a Christmas Eve Service held on December 22nd,” Pastor G. adds.
A key highlight of the holiday season that excites everyone are the festive foods the Culinary Team prepares for the holiday parties on the households on the 13th and 14th for residents. At those events, the holiday menu will consist of a multitude of holiday delicacies and will include colorfully garnished cocktails and non-alcoholic “mocktails,” designed to make residents smile at the party.
Some holiday drinks can easily be adapted for alcoholic or non-alcoholic consumption, by making a subtle addition or deletion of soda and more fruit juice for champagne, Prosecco or Vodka.
Holiday Punch Recipe
Holiday Punch Ingredients that will tantalize guests and make Santa want to linger at your party:
2 cups pomegranate juice, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice, chilled (*see NOTES below)
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled, PLUS EXTRA if using it to make ice cubes
2 (750 mL) bottles champagne, Prosecco, or sparkling wine, chilled
Cranberries, pomegranate arils, & sprigs of rosemary, for ice cubes and garnish
Corn syrup & coarse sparkling sugar, for rims of glasses (optional)
To make ice cubes, fill small bowls/containers with fresh cranberries, pomegranate arils, and sprigs of rosemary. Pour lemon-lime soda to the top of each container. Freeze until solid.
Just before serving, place the ice cubes in a large pitcher, punch bowl, or drink dispenser. Pour the pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, and lime juice on top. Add the lemon-lime soda and champagne and stir gently to combine. Serve in glasses garnished with additional cranberries, pomegranate arils, and rosemary sprigs.
- The volume of this recipe is approximately 100 ounces (plus ice), so make sure that your pitcher/punch bowl/drink dispenser is the correct size before commencing with the recipe.
- Since pure, unsweetened cranberry juice is very, very tart, try using a combination of 100% juice (such as cranberry plus apple plus grape) with no added sugar. Alternatively, you could use a cranberry juice blend (such as cran-cherry or cran-pomegranate, etc.).
- Feel free to swap ginger ale for the lemon-lime soda. Or if you prefer a less sweet punch, use seltzer in place of (part or all of) the soda.
- It is recommended to make this recipe with dry (brut) champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine. A sweeter option will work as well for a sweeter punch.
- For a NON-ALCOHOLIC Christmas Punch, swap out the champagne for 3 cups of seltzer plus 3 cups of lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, or sparkling grape juice. Or you can adjust the ratio of seltzer/soda/juice to your taste.
- Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season!