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Photo by Frank Prager
The annual Christmas Wonderland at Rock Spring Park in Alton is a favorite for family members of all ages.
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Photo by Frank Prager
A favorite holiday activity for seniors and their families is taking a drive to see neighborhood lights and decorations.
ALTON — Grandparents and senior citizens are often the center of our holiday celebrations.
Ask a child or young person where they would most like to celebrate the season and the answer invariably will be their grandparents’ house or the home of some other senior relative or acquaintance.
As important as an older person’s presence is for children during the rest of the year, it becomes absolutely essential during the holiday season. Grandmother and grandfather’s house is most often the center of family activity during the holidays. Of the thousands of experiences of childhood, holidays with grandparents and other older family members are often the most fondly recalled by adults during other stages of their lives.
Senior citizens who might otherwise feel left out in today’s fast-paced society need only look at the eagerness and joy in the faces of the children in their families when they get a chance to visit them. Children recognize the presence of seniors in their life at Christmastime brings with it the security and well-being of someone who loves unconditionally.
The holidays are a time when senior citizens also can be a part of the hustle and bustle of the community and the shopping season if they like. The lights and decorations on the streets and at the local mall or shopping center bring the energy and spirit of the season to everyone. The activity and commotion of the shopping crowds whisk away any sense of isolation or loneliness a senior might experience at other times of the year. Just getting out in the flurry of activity is often invigorating in itself.
This area bustles with activities all ages can enjoy during the holidays. The Christmas Wonderland lights at Rock Spring Park in Alton are a tradition for many families. Special concerts and church services children love to attend with older people occur throughout the season. One of the greatest, simplest pleasures for family members is just driving around the area looking at the array of decorated houses in the community.
The holidays are often the one time of the year when families separated by distance and their daily lives gather together to share food, fun and companionship and seniors are often the centerpiece of these gatherings. One need only look to Norman Rockwell’s depictions of the holiday season to see how often seniors are the focal point of their family’s attention.
Children as well as young adults also see the holiday season as an opportunity to help seniors who cannot readily get out on their own. Caroling events at senior living facilities are a popular favorite among young people. Treating older generations to song and festivities is a favorite activity of many schools, youth groups and church organizations.
The fact is that as important as they are the rest of the year, senior citizens become essential to the enjoyment of the season during the holidays. Family members as well as other young people around them look to seniors for that warmth and security they associate with this time of the year. And the treasured memories created by seniors during the holidays remain for the rest of everyone’s lives, not only with their families and acquaintances but especially with the seniors themselves.