December 28, 2015 // 10:38 AM

December in Review at Garden Spot Village

Written by Scott Miller

December 2015 – Garden Spot Village

December comes alive with Christmas celebrations at Garden Spot Village. It all starts the year before when the planners and decorators pause to experience the magnificence that blossoms around us and they begin to dream about “what could be” next year.

Deborah Fast, director of Volunteer Services, and Scott Weaver, director of Campus Services, are two of those decorators and planners. “When I first interviewed for my current position, I walked in the front door, took one look around and thought, ‘I want to be a part of this,’” says Deborah.  Fortunately for Garden Spot Village, she is! When the idea for a giant Christmas wreath suspended from the rustic golden oak beams in the Village Square Atrium began to take shape, Scott got to work figuring out how to build and suspend the frame. Deborah drew on her creative network to bring it to life. A friend at church knew a world-class designer at Longwood Gardens who was happy to sit down and talk through ideas. Those concepts, along with creative contributions from others, resulted in the spectacular 2015 Christmas display. “I love creating beautiful spaces that give people the opportunity to engage in relationships and community,” Deborah says.

The decorations provide a backdrop for a month-long series of enjoyable special events on campus. One is the annual employee Christmas celebration, when the leadership team helps prepare and serve a festive Christmas dinner for those who work here. This year, each employee received the gift of a plush Sherpa blanket. The door prizes included tickets for hot air balloon rides and a variety of other gifts and gift cards. Brandon Adams, our graphic designer, says, “I love the fact that our department and other departments get to sit down together with what you might call a delicious holiday feast. There’s something special about an organization that gives employees the opportunity to enjoy time together and have some fun.”

More than 350 people came out for the annual Resident Christmas Drop-In, a community-wide celebration. Some dress up, others come casual — it’s characteristic of Garden Spot Village, where people are free to be themselves. Buffet tables set up throughout the Atrium and the Village Park were laden with wonderful holiday treats, including eggnog and other scrumptious offerings from Dining Services. Entertainment highlights included a flute recital and Christmas caroling around the baby grand piano. “One of the great things about the drop-in is that future residents are invited,” says, Hugh Dockeray, a resident since 2013. “My wife and I came before we were residents, and it was one of the things that appealed to us about Garden Spot Village. We got to meet and talk to the people who live here. Everyone was very encouraging. Now I look for future residents to share my experiences and encourage them.”

Speaking of future residents, 40 residents hosted 100 future residents at the annual Future Resident Christmas Dinner Theater. The celebration started with photos at check-in followed by hors d'oeuvres in the Village Park. The fabulous dinner featured carved prime rib and fresh-roasted vegetables, along with homemade ice cream, cherries jubilee and bananas Foster for dessert. After the meal, Piercing Word performed the Christmas story directly from Luke chapters 1–2. “It was a stunning performance and brought the scriptures to life,” says Steve Muller, COO. “All the events, all the celebrations are characteristic of the way that Garden Spot Village strives to foster an environment of community, everything that takes place during December is such a fitting way to highlight the Christmas season.”

The Garden Spot Village story comprises the countless stories of our residents, their families, members of the local community, volunteers, partners, future residents and visitors. It is a place where life and community come together to provide a remarkable lifestyle filled with opportunities, possibilities and purpose — in December, and all year ‘round.

Chief Marketing Officer