A Tree of Her Own: Hints for Assisted Living

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My mother has been in assisted living for the past few years. Keeping her place homey and safe without appearing cluttered has been a challenge.

The facility she lives in is beautiful and they do a lovely job decorating for the holidays. However, it just wouldn’t be Christmas for my Mom if she didn’t have her own tree. Over her lifetime, she put a great deal of care into collecting Christmas ornaments that meant something to her and to our family. She purchased ornaments on vacations. She purchased ornaments that represented our favorite things: sailboats, skiing, ice skating, lighthouses, dogs, etc. She saved ornaments that had adorned the trees of my grandparents. She even saved the silly ornaments I made with coffee can tops and sequins in kindergarten.

So, simply enjoying the tree in the lobby of her assisted living facility was not an option. I decided that I would decorate her room myself and then store the decorations in my home to keep her place from becoming too cluttered the rest of the year.

Decorating in her room has become much easier with my now fine-tuned, well-organized approach. I have purchased decorations that are easy to store at my home and are easy to transport to/from my Mom’s place.

Here are a few utilitarian and beautiful items that have made Christmas decorating a breeze! There are frequently some great cost-savings by purchasing holidays items “off-season.”

Four Foot Pre-lit Christmas Tree: I chose a four foot artificial tree. It is a large enough tree for her to display her favorite ornaments. It is small enough that it doesn’t take up all that much space in her room. It is also small enough that it fits inside the trunk of my car without a struggle. Purchasing the pre-lit version kept me from having to struggle with detangling lights each year.

Snapware Three-tier Christmas ornament boxes: The three-tiered Snapware boxes are great because they allow me to transport her ornaments in just a couple of boxes. The fewer trips to/from the car the better! The boxes have sturdy handles on the top that make them easy to carry, even when wearing my mittens. The clear plastic makes it easy for me to determine which boxes were my Mom’s and which ones were mine in my basement.

Bubble Wrap: I take a fresh roll of bubble wrap with me when I pack the ornaments up each year. It ensures that I am using wrap that is in good condition to prevent the ornaments from breaking in transport to/from my home.

Packaging Tape: Clear packaging tape is great for securing bubble wrap around fragile ornaments. It stays well secured all year long. You might even want to label the ornament under the clear tape if you want to be able to identify ornaments before unwrapping them.

Artificial Christmas Tree bag: The box that the tree came in eventually ripped making it difficult to close and to transport. The Christmas tree bag made transporting the tree much easier. It also keeps it clean throughout the year.

Extension Cord: You may need an extension cord if there isn’t an electrical outlet close to where the tree will be placed.

Live Wreath. Over the past few years, I have purchased live evergreen wreaths from the boy scouts for my Mom. It has scented her room with the smell of evergreen without the mess and challenge of bringing a live tree into her space.

Here is a list of links to where you can purchase the recommendations found above:

Note: the links take you to Amazon. I cannot guarantee that the suppliers who are now selling the products on Amazon are those that I purchased from.

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