HEFLIN — Karen Arnold displayed whimsical Christmas spirit at the annual resident Cleburne County Nursing Home Christmas party Thursday afternoon.
Decked out in a Christmas sweater featuring a French bulldog, she also sported reindeer antlers, Christmas tree glasses and blinking green bulb earrings as she enjoyed the yuletide merriment.
This is Arnold’s first time in a nursing home, according to her sister Connie Bishop, who sat next to her as the pair sang traditional Christmas songs performed by Cleburne County Probate Judge Ryan Robertson.
“This is an awesome place for my sister, my sister is so happy here and so am I,” Bishop said.
“The staff is awesome, the whole place is awesome.”
About 75 residents, staff, family members and Santa Claus himself packed the cafeteria to enjoy a day of crafts, gifts, refreshments and song according to Hannah White, assistant director of nursing. The turnout was so good that the nursing home had to designate two other rooms for the holiday revelers.
White said the party is probably the highlight of the year for some of the residents.
“They just light up. It’s Christmas morning all over again,” said White.
Every resident received donated gifts and goodies courtesy of the Cleburne County Hospital Board.
“It’s amazing. That’s what it’s all about to me, just seeing our community give back to these people who contributed so much to this community during their life,” said White. “It’s such a joy to see them being repaid.”
Robertson sang a version of Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie” and changed the lyrics to include Cleburne County locations including Fruithurst, Ranburne, Heflin and Borden Springs.
“It is always a blessing to come in here and play for this group and it’s very humbling too,” Robertson said.
Kids danced and the residents waved their arms as everyone sang along with Robertson during his lively versions of “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”