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Probably a silly Christmas question!


Registered User
May 28, 2013
So facing dads first Christmas in a CH, I'm wondering about gifts. To be honest for a few years he's had no idea what to do with gifts so on birthdays and Christmas we've just given him sweet treats and an updated photo of grandchildren etc.
Oh and of course a new steam train calendar!
He can barely feed himself now so food isn't possible. I can do photos but feel terrible giving him next to nothing.
I'd also talked this week about not visiting on CD but going on Christmas Eve as I host Christmas here and again dads not had a clue what the fuss was about for years and often has been taken home after an hour as he's not felt happy. My kids still know it's Christmas obviously so it feels like I should be here for them on that day.
But since making that decision The Guilt has crept in!
What do you guys do if your LO is in a CH?

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
Please don't let Guilt win! He certainly won't be neglected on CD, and he'll have seen you the day before. Enjoy your day with the children. They need you too.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
If it helps with your unwarranted guilt, do you have the time for a quick half hour visit to your father in the morning?

We pop in and feed lunch to Mum but I have the luxury of going to my SIL's for a big Christmas celebration afterwards.


Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
put the children first, always. Don't feel guilt, he has people to look after him and make his christmas as happy as possible, your children have only you to do this.


Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
I went on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day over the last couple of years.

I would give your Dad some slippers, perhaps bed socks or a lap blanket bepending on what level of mobility he has.


Registered User
May 28, 2013
Ah thank you wise TP people!
I may slink off for half an hour but I'm going to play it by ear I think.
And slippers etc yes, brilliant ideas, thank you!


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
I visit every day and until last year like you hosted Chritmas day for the whole family for the past 48 years so I go for just an hour. There is so much going on and more visitors than the residents normally get it is very busy. The staff do so much for them you almost feel in the way. Last year and again this year I am going to our Son's for the day. He lives over an hours drive away so the hour will be the same this year.

A couple of years ago our daughter took one of our wedding photographs and had it put onto a canvas. It is about two foot foot square and hangs on the wall facing his bed. If your Dad likes steam trains maybe a canvas of one of his favourite engines.

My husband who was a chocoholic can now only manage chocolate buttons as he is on a pulved diet so a packet or two for Christmas and an IOU for a packet a week until his birthday will be a present from one of the grandchildren. The same with socks. A throw to brighten the bed and to put over his legs when sitting in a chair. Maybe more expensive toiletries just for Christmas, your Dad will most likely not notice but they will look good on his shelf in the bathroom:)

It is difficult but we use the IOU system of something now and a replacement when needed and this works well.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
For several years before she died my mother never had a clue that it was Christmas, and was no longer interested in presents - we would have to open them for her. However she still mostly enjoyed things like soft jellies, so I would take some of those, or one year I took a new dressing gown since her old one was a bit manky, and the belt had got lost. I stitched the new one's belt firmly in place before taking it!

The CH is very close to us so I would visit on Chr morning, or if I was very busy with the dinner someone else in the family would go. But TBH it made not the slightest difference to her - for the last couple of years she did not even know any of us.
Please don't let the guilt monster upset you - easy for me to say I know - but I do know how you feel. I would always feel bad if nobody went on Chr Day, on the rare occasions that we were with friends far away, but at the same time I knew she would not be aware, let alone be the least bit upset.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2012
My mom's CH will make a Xmas party on Saturday 28.

Last year she was more interested on her gift wrap paper than on her gift.

As it is summer, her gift has been ice cream for 5 years. (If it were winter I think it would be a soft candy)


Registered User
Jan 29, 2009
Dimelza - the only silly question is the one you don't ask - to paraphrase an oft used saying. Especially on here where there is a wealth of information to tap into.

I don't know if you have seen the various posts people have put on here about Twiddle Muffs - would something like that be enjoyed by your Dad? There are some talented people on here who make them - the definition as I have just found is "A Twiddlemuff is a double thickness hand muff with bits and bobs attached inside and out. It is designed to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands for patients suffering from dementia."

The other thing that comes to mind is music - would your Dad enjoy some CDs or a loaded MP3 player with some of his favourites of his younger years perhaps?

Good luck, and hope you manage a guilt free Christmas xx

PS - every time I see your name I think of Poldark... ahh Poldark (Ross Vennor) ...the original one... <showing my age> - that's a thought to warm on a cold day!


Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
South coast of England
Please give the Guilt Monster a good slap (there's a stick somewhere around that is used to beat it with, but I don't know who has it at the moment)!

Your children need you on Christmas Day and, sadly, your dad doesn't. Do what you can to make Christmas a great day for your children, secure in the knowledge that dad is being well looked after. As someone has said, the homes can get very busy on Christmas Day and it can be too much for the residents to handle, perhaps better to have a nice visit before or after when it might be more appreciated.

I was going to suggest a 'twiddlemuff' but I see that someone got there ahead of me :) Anything that can be fiddled with can be useful, depending on what dad enjoys doing and what he is able to do. Perhaps even a 'model' (toy) engine if he would enjoy handling it.

The biggest thing you can give is your continued love and presence in his life and I can see, from your post, that he has that in abundance.

I wish you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas xx


Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
7 hours away from CH

Hello all,

I have slapped the Guilt Monster but it keeps coming back for more! I am 7 hours driving away from my parent in care home. The state of winter roads will dictate whether I will be able to visit. On the other hand I have to think of my family at home too.

Thank you for the idea of canvas picture!


Registered User
Jul 21, 2015
7 hour drive? Don't do it. All our family love Christmas but my mum always said we should do as we please at Christmas and never get hung up on who we were with of where we were on Christmas day.So we never had" we always" to make us feel guilty. I have followed this with my children this year my daughter is coming Christmas day night with her oh and staying over. So not sure if we will do lunch that evening or the following day. My son has no idea what he is doing but it is up to him.It is just a day and I never want my family to feel they must see us on that day as it just puts pressure on for no reason. When mum was in a ch i never went on christmas day it was a day for my children and for their memories to be made.


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
Hi JustJane
and a warm welcome to TP on this cold night
I'm with 1mindy - have a lovely Christmas with your family at home, toast your parent, and visit when the roads are safe and clearer and when you are not at all stressed/overcome with the joys of the season. Your parent is safe and warm and looked after, and will 'enjoy' a visit just the same on another day.


Registered User
May 28, 2013
I feel quite emotional having read your lovely replies. Thank you all so much for taking the time.
My dads much younger sister keeps on at me to not visit as much (she visits too) as she knows what my life is like. I do miss having dad here with us but I'm confident he has wonderful care, and I'm at peace with that side of it which I realise after the last CH is a big deal!
I'm making a photo book with details of who we all are so we and the staff can look at it with him and updating family photos so will offer those ideas around for people who'd normally buy dad gifts. Twiddle muff sounds ideal as since his last big dip in symptoms he's constantly fiddling! I'd not thought about it until you mentioned it on here but nonstop touching anything in site. They had to stop putting him in his favourite spot in the lounge as he turns off the plugs for the tv ☺
I feel so much better about it all. My brother has said he's going to call in during the morning on CD so rather than tag along I'll let him go alone!


Registered User
Dec 17, 2012
Dimelza I am dreadful daughter I am not even going to see my mother until end of Dec. My mum once my son became an adult was not really fussed about Xmas .
Now mum doesn't retain the knowledge of days such as Xmas .
Oh the reason I won't see her is we are on holidays . This trip has been planned since June 2014 and mum had a wonderful time discussing it with me then,
Now all memory of that has gone.
I know people talk about what the person would have wanted. Mum would be with me except for the dementia as we had discussed going on a trip to England after dad was gone.