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The Groove - How to spread holiday cheer
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As the holidays approach, we often forget about those who are alone. This is a hard time of year for many estranged from or have no family. This is typically a time of togetherness and joy, but individuals who have no one to celebrate with often experience loneliness and pain.

I visited NHC on Tuesday afternoon to do a story over the Nursing Home Christmas project, which donates money in order for nursing home staff to purchase gifts for residents of both NHC and Raintree Manor. Angel trees are set up in different businesses throughout the community to list items each resident needs or wants. 

On Tuesday, I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was ill, tired and didn’t feel like dealing with people. Everything rubbed me the wrong way, and the cold, dreary weather piled on the funk. It was just one of those days.

I chose to do a story over the Nursing Home Christmas project because I felt it was meaningful and helpful to the community. I visited NHC to obtain an interview and picture for the paper. 

That’s when I met Mr. Baker, who had been at NHC for the past two to three years due to his battle with diabetes. I spoke, joked and laughed with him while wearing a surgical mask to prevent my croup from spreading.

My mood immediately improved while spending time with Mr. Baker and another man who would play Santa this year during the nursing home’s annual Christmas celebration, where presents are handed out and refreshments are served for patients and their families.

As I hugged and said my goodbyes to the kind individuals I had met, “Santa” told me I had been good throughout the year. I jokingly told him I didn’t know about that, but he assured me it was true.

I walked down the halls to exit, and I saw so many people who I was drawn to without knowing them. Before leaving, I asked Amanda about volunteering. She told me they were always accepting volunteers to read to, spend time with and spread love and compassion to the residents. I took a volunteer slip to fill out.

Mr. Baker, Santa and everyone I met at NHC inspired me and brought a distinct joy to my soul. I was lucky to be part of such an experience generously given to me by the residents and staff. It was such a special early Christmas present. 

Spending time with the residents I met was truly beautiful. The happiness and uplifting feeling I experienced made me think of how helping others also helps your own spirit flourish. I encourage everyone to take the time to spread love and care to the elderly, lonely and needy individuals who often aren’t thought of, especially during the holidays.

Although nursing homes specifically pull on my heart strings, there are so many places where kindness is needed. Spending time with and helping others grants a much greater appreciation and happiness, which is a true gift. 

Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.