Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through long-term care,
Decorations sparkled and twinkled — no wall was bare.
The recreation department had concerts galore,
The residents enjoyed it — they clamored for more. 

The maintenance guys put up outdoor lights,
Vendors sent cookies and other delights.
The nurses wore holiday tops and bright pins,
Each floor had menorahs and dreidels to spin. 

Kwanzaa candles were set out next to the trees,
Poinsettias brightened the desk of Security.
IT staff donned elf hats, the business office did too,
Rehab wore red sweaters, with bells on their shoes,

Environmental services polished ’til the whole place gleamed,
Everyone had seasonal spirit, it seemed.
Outfits were chosen by residents with care,
Make-up and hairdos were all an affair.
Aides helped as needed with jewelry and ties,
To make sure “their people” looked fetching and wise. 

The administrator walked through and shook lots of hands,
And listened as elders told of their plans.
The social workers had arranged many off-campus trips,
Folks were excited, with smiles on their lips.

Kitchen workers, with dietary, had cooked a great feast,
And when it was presented, all chatter — it ceased,
For a moment a hush fell over the crowd,
Except for one lady, whose voice, strong and loud,
Rang out through the day room, while all heads were bowed. 

“I’m grateful to be here, to see this fine day,
You helped me gain strength when I’d lost my way.
You were once strangers — now you’re my friends.
You help me handle whatever life sends. 

“From deep in my heart, I wish you good cheer.
Together let’s celebrate, you’ve all become dear.”

A few started clapping, then thunderous applause
For surely she’d channeled the spirit of Claus. 

Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD, author of The Savvy Resident’s Guide, is a 2014 Award of Excellence winner in the Blog Content category of the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence program. She also is the Gold Medalist in the Blog-How To/Tips/Service category of the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors Midwest Regional competition. A speaker and consultant with nearly 20 years of experience as a psychologist in long-term care, she maintains her own award-winning website at MyBetterNursingHome.com.