The month to be jolly

The month to be jolly.

Photo: The month to be jolly.

Christmas will come twice this year for two Toowoomba aged care services as they deck the halls with tinsel this month.

Hundreds of people will gather at Salem and Northridge Salem on 31July to indulge in festive mid-winter Christmas lunches with residents, families and friends.

The celebrations will bring residents together to participate in a range of activities such as food preparation, making decorative craft items and singing Christmas tunes.

Residents hailing from countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark and Czechoslovakia will have the opportunity to reminisce about their Christmas traditions.

Northridge Salem Danish resident Marjorie Jorgensen, 89, said there was a contrast between Danish and Australian traditions as she reflected on celebrations in her homeland.

“It was a custom to give the animals a gift as it was believed they acquired the power of speech on Christmas Eve and no one wanted them to speak badly about them [there are still some who maintain that tradition today],” she said.

“It is totally different because we have a white Christmas because of the snow.

“We serve traditional food like our famous Danish pork, the spruce tree is decorated with candles and the national flag with presents placed underneath it,” Ms Jorgensen explained.

She added it was custom for everyone to dance around the tree and join in a circle holding hands.

“And if you don’t have enough members, teddy bears or dolls filled the gap.”

Resident Anna Bielanowski, who represented her country at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as a gymnast, grew up in Czechoslovakia and reflected on her Christmas traditions as a child.

“We went ice skating and skiing at Christmas time,” she said.

Pictured is residents Marjorie Jorgensen and Anna Bielanowski.

Salem general manager, Terry Arthur, said celebrating the Christmas festive season in July brought back the spirit of Christmas to the service.

“The occasion is not necessarily a substitute for Christmas, rather it is an extension of our activities program,” he said.

“It was conceived by those who find having to eat their traditional Christmas foods in summer somewhat different from their traditional seasonal cuisine. 

“The intent is to keep it light and festive with the focus more about celebrating the period of year.”

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Share your festive traditions in the box below.

Lutheran Community Care (QLD)