Senior apartment community ‘decks the halls’ and the doors for the holidays

Judge Melody Archie and Manager Debra Hogg discuss a design during the door decorating contest.

Senior apartment community ‘decks the halls’ and  the doors for the  holidays
December 30
10:30 2020

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Driving around neighborhoods to enjoy the holiday decorations and lights is a tradition for many families during the holiday season. Often homeowners begin decorating at Thanksgiving with hundreds of lights strung across rooftops and porches that put smiles on the faces of Duke Energy stockholders.

But what happens when you live in an apartment building and don’t have a yard to decorate or a roof to plant Santa and his reindeer? You get creative, as was shown at Hunt Park Senior Apartments when the management held a holiday door-decorating contest.

There were 38 doors (out of 60 apartments) with some form of decoration, from simple wreaths to garland with twinkling lights. Debra Hogg, the community manager, invited Melody Archie to judge the doors, so there wouldn’t be any hint of favoritism. After walking the hallways to view the various decorations, she was relieved she didn’t have to choose the winners.

Archie was happy to be invited to judge. “I didn’t come in with any expectations – I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It [door designs] surprised me – each one put their own spin on it.”

For some residents, they didn’t stop at just their doors. Some extended decorations down the hallway, displaying garland and Christmas cards. Others added whimsical accents, such as a teddy bear in a Santa hat, a Santa table holding a bowl of candy (to tempt the judge perhaps?), poinsettias, and various holiday door mats. There was also a mixture of store-bought decorations and those that were handmade. 

“I loved the ones who put their own sayings on their doors,” said Archie. “It was a reflection to me as to their beliefs, their values. You could tell they put a lot of themselves into the door design.”

After much contemplation, three winners were chosen to receive gift cards: Cheryl Hodge, Rosemary Graham, and Patty Durfee.

Wayne Stepnoski, regional manager who happened to be in town for the judging, joined in congratulating the winners. He said he always enjoys his visits to this senior apartment community. “Every time I come here, I am greeted by so many nice people.”

The door decorating contest comes on the heels of the printing of the first cookbook compiled of recipes submitted by residents. These older adults are not letting a pandemic keep them from finding safe ways to create community and build social connections.

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