Holiday door decorating contest brings winter wonderland indoors


Mary Peterson and caregiver Chris Fulton check out some door decorations.

2015 Homeland Door Decorating Contest Winners:

  • 115 – Martha Finley & Wanda Kardos
  • 207 – Harold Hixon & Raymond Caldwell
  • E6 – Wanda Berger & Agatha Goodwin
  • 1N2 – Eleanor Allen

Nativity scenes and reindeer. Snowmen and penguins. All brightened the hallways of Homeland Center this Christmas, as residents adorned their doorways for the third annual door decorating contest.

Residents and their families are invited to dress up their doors and decorate together for Christmas, just as they’ve done all their lives. Residents and staff judged the artworks for neatness, detail and creativity. All entries showed off Homeland residents’ talents and their love of family, faith, and the holidays.

Judges included resident Virginia Ashford, who marveled at the variety of ideas employed. Stopping at a door with Christmas themes of Santa, stockings, and toy trains against a red background, she reached out to touch Santa’s beard.

From left, Mary Peterson, Chris Fulton and Ashley Bryan judging decorations.

“I don’t know why, but I like it,” she said. “There’s a lot to look at.”

Ashford figured residents must have gotten their supplies at a party store.

“They must have really gone down there and splurged,” she said.

Resident Mary Peterson, another judge, declared a door neatly adorned with a bow-tied snowman in the falling snow “a knockout.” On a scale of one to five, she said, “I give it a 10.”

“There’s a lot of marvelous art here,” she said.

Chris Fulton, Peterson’s longtime caregiver, loved the inclusion of the residents not only in decorating but in judging.

Jim Phillips takes a closer look at some door decorations.

Even residents who didn’t enter the contest got festive doors, courtesy of staff who draped doors with wrapping paper and wreaths. One resident admitted to getting help from staff – “some young ladies with haloes around their heads” – to complete his entry.

The doors showed a variety of creative techniques. The white fur on a penguin’s hat were made from cotton puffs. Real twigs added dimension to the scene of a snowman in the woods.

Lorraine Englander’s design incorporates construction-paper handprints made by her grandchildren.

Resident Jim Phillips, a retired computer trainer from Hershey Foods, carefully eyed the detail on each entry.

“People work hard,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to make up my mind about any of this.”

Homeland Center Director of Skilled & Personal Care Activities Ashley

Bryan said residents and families use the contest to “spend some quality time together. It’s a tradition they can keep going.”

Resident Lorraine Englander continued an annual tradition of incorporating her design with construction-paper handprints made by her grandchildren, with their names written on each. This year, the handprints were stacked to depict the antlers of a reindeer who had a Rudolph-style flashing red nose. The image was captioned “All Our Little Deers.”

Virginia Ashford, one of the contest judges, takes a close look at decorations.

Englander said she loves her time with the grandkids. “It relieves me from having to do it,” she said with a laugh. “I love to see my family, and I’m grateful they take interest!”

Christmas was always a time for decorating and getting the children involved, Englander said.

“Decorating is a great way to gather everyone and remember what the season is really about,” she said. “It is so commercial today, and it is important that we continue traditions for children and families that bring them closer together.”