Christmas is almost upon us and it’s a wonderful opportunity for exciting and inclusive activities and foodstuffs in your care setting.
An amazing time of year, we traditionally indulge in chocolate and sweets in the festive holidays. By making your treats vegan, you will ensure that everyone can enjoy and join in with the celebrations.
Perhaps you're planning a festive-themed afternoon tea or a delicious extra special dessert? We have a range of recipe inspirations packed full of mouth-watering festive flavours.
For a simple Christmas twist you can top plant-based cakes and puddings with Vegan Mini Christmas Trees by Moo Free and Doisy & Dam, which are widely available in larger supermarkets. You could also do this as part of an activity with your residents.
Setting up cooking and baking activities for older people at Christmas is a great idea, since residents, friends and family can join together to take part. The smells and tastes of foods can also help bring back moving memories.
In many cultures, cooking for others is an act of love and therefore sharing recipes and traditions is a good way to celebrate Christmas time to express their care. Some ideas for baked goods include Christmas biscuits, mince pies and Christmas cake. Your residents may recall recipes that they have used in the past or they may need extra help with choosing an appropriate recipe to share. Depending on residents' needs, they may require support from family members, activities co-ordinators and catering staff. This can also be a great way to get to know your residents better when they reminisce.
One of the wonderful things about being a care home resident is that you don’t have to do the Christmas dinner cooking and washing up anymore! However, this also means that residents can miss out on the fun elements of festive food prep.
Therefore, why not make this a chance to share some experiences with your residents that focus on the fun and are delicious? Even better, some of your residents may love the opportunity to make little edible gifts for their family members or treats for visiting children.
Perhaps you are hosting an event within your care home and want to involve your residents more? Our lemon shortbreads can be cut into any shape. You could make stars and Christmas trees getting residents to ice and decorate with bright toppings and festive colours. These can be made ahead of time and will keep fresh for up to 5 days in an air-tight container. Why not zhuzh them up by adding cinnamon and a little mixed spice?
Many of your residents may have grown up in times when there wasn’t the same level of indulgence that we see today. Therefore, when they get treated to something like a ‘hot chocolate trolley’, it is like letting their childlike inner selves loose in a sweet shop!
In your care home, you can do things like this because you always have enough people to effectively have a chocolate Christmas party. The trolley can have candy canes, sprinkles, marshmallows and whipped cream. Everyone can get involved and have lots of fun. Vegan options for toppings and creams are widely available now from most larger supermarkets and wholesalers. Bear in mind that some marshmallows contain animal gelatine. Also, most dark chocolate is pure cocoa but some brands will add milk or whey protein (which is milk derived). Make sure your chocolate clearly states that it is vegan or is from a ‘free-from’ range.
There are lots more care home Christmas activities that can be enjoyed throughout the festive season. Speak to your residents and ask them which activities are most meaningful to them at this time of year. Finding things that they can enjoy together can mean that they really cherish the season, and with a bustling and busy period in the kitchen, it’s often an opportunity for you to slow down a little and enjoy some of the more special moments of Christmas too.
For the big day you may be planning a Christmas meal with all the trimmings and be looking for more inspiration. To help you out we have a selection of recipes in our Festive delights guide. With a wonderful range of leafy greens and root vegetables available at this time of year, it's the ideal season to pull together the ultimate vegan Christmas feast. These dishes are not only colourful but are packed with flavour, meaning everyone at your Christmas table will be satisfied.
Alternatively, many catering suppliers stock a range of vegan items. Both Brakes and Bidfood, for example, have savoury options and sweet treats including mince pies and a selection of cakes and bakes. Their vegan-friendly and plant-based selections deliver the quality, taste and visual appeal you would expect of traditional dishes.
We hope that we have given you some food for thought and that you have a wonderful Christmas with all your residents enjoying some tasty treats. No matter how you choose to celebrate the festive period, we would love to hear if you made our recipes. Please do share any photos of your events.