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Winterton seniors get early visit from Santa

Resident Don Ivey and Anglican minister Gloria Wendover sharing a dance to some Christmas tunes.
Resident Don Ivey and Anglican minister Gloria Wendover sharing a dance to some Christmas tunes. - Chris Lewis

Winter Holme Manor hosts annual Christmas party

WINTERTON, NL — Residents of Winter Holme Manor in Winterton got a special visit from Santa Claus this past week.

For the third year in a row, staff, volunteers and people across the province got together to give residents at the senior citizen’s home a special Christmas experience.

On Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 13, residents were brought to the main lounge area and greeted by familiar Christmas tunes and smiling faces, followed by a visit from Father Christmas himself, who came prepared with gifts for everyone.

The annual event is organized by Audrey Piercey, who said the idea originally came to her after a friend told her of a Christmas tree in a mall decorated with the names of senior citizens in the area. From there, Piercey took to Facebook with the idea, and the support she received from friends was overwhelming.

“I put it up on my Facebook, and it got so many people saying, 'Yes, yes, I’ll help,'” Piercey told the Compass. “The first year, I got enough gifts donated for everybody. The second year was even better, with bingo prizes and door prizes, and two gifts for every resident.
“On top of that, we got live music and food donated too. Now, this is the third year, and it’s just getting better and better.”

Resident Grace Brinson receiving a gift from Santa Claus.
Resident Grace Brinson receiving a gift from Santa Claus.

However, it isn’t just during the Christmas season that the 14 residents of Winter Holme Manor are blessed with Piercey’s party planning skills. On Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, similar parties were held with matching themes.

Another party was held in November – just because, according to Piercey.

“Really, I just plan the events. Everything else comes from people who donate, and want to help out,” she explained, speaking over the cheerful music and hearty laughter from residents dancing in the room behind her. “Some people bring along gifts, and we get donations from people in Fort McMurray and Ontario who have family here.
“I think it really helps them spread some love during the Christmas season in a special way, having Santa come along and deliver the gifts, you know?”

Piercey also receives donations from people who, at one time, had family living at the home and want to continue supporting the people living there currently.
At the end of the day, Piercey received donations from 48 people.

“When you come in and look at all those residents’ faces, it really makes you feel good,” Piercey said. “A party for them consists of music, bingo and a lunch afterward, and we’ve got all of that here this afternoon for them.
“You can tell they really enjoy it.”

Some residents also received some extra goodies during the party, such as fruitcakes baked by a local woman, and door prizes for bingo winners to accompany the gifts Santa delivered later in the afternoon.

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