Dec 15, 2022

In-house Christmas enthusiast goes all out

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A self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast is again behind the magical display of festive decorations at her aged care facility in Parkwood, Queensland.

Mary Johnson, 96, a resident at Arcare Parkwood, is always collecting decorations to prepare for the Christmas season and is responsible for setting up extravagant displays at her facility every year.

This festive tradition is one Ms Johnson started before entering residential aged care, having previously competed with her family on who could create the most dazzling arrangement of decorations. 

“Christmas has always been my favourite holiday – my family always tries to outdo one another,” she said.

“I’m the master of it all!”

The family’s decoration competition started with Ms Johnson and has since been passed down to her six children and grandchildren who are very enthusiastic about being bigger, better, and more extravagant than each other every year. 

Daughters Jenny and Diane help decorate the facility’s courtyard area every year which is shared with a few other residents. 

Jenny and Diane are responsible for potting flowers and helping to put up the outside Christmas decorations. 

A neighbour and fellow Arcare Parkwood resident, Pauline O’Doherty, also loves to help out with gardening and decorations during the festive season. 

“Team members and other residents love coming in and having a look, I even have a bowl of lollies and Christmas crackers to give them when they visit,” Ms Johnson said.

Having lived at the facility for almost three years, Ms Johnson has set a tradition of decorating the nursing home based on a different theme – and this year was no different.

This year she created a huge Christmas village inside the Parkwood facility, fit with a Christmas tree shop, a coffee shop and a church. 

Ms Johnson is described by staff and other residents as a very positive and happy person who always manages to put a smile on other people’s faces. 

She is well known for openly spreading Christmas cheer to all she comes across.

Facility Residence Manager, Maria, said the lead-up to Christmas is always an exciting time to see what Ms Johnson will create next.

“We love seeing what she will come up with every year!” said Maria.

“Team members and residents always look forward to when she is finished decorating so they can see her marvellous creations.”

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