Visitors at Pleasant Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center’s Christmas party Wednesday night could readily see the sparkle in the eyes of many of the residents was no different than that of any child.
It was a holiday feast that topped them all, complete with carolers, laughter, volunteers donning Santa hats and reindeer antlers and rushing to serve the diners, friends visiting, people bedecked in Christmas apparel, tables loaded with seasonal food and desserts galore and an appearance by Santa, who delivered gifts.
“This tradition started back in 1993,” said Eric Feinman, administrator since 1995. “This party has gotten bigger and bigger every year and, when the party is over each year, we usually decide that we need to cut the size of it back, but the demand and response from people is so great and they have just come to expect this huge party every year.”
Feinman said the goal as a living center is to make all of the residents as happy as possible and to give them a feeling of home during the holidays.
“This is what you do at home,” Feinman said. “And this is our way of trying to recapture that feeling here - and it makes our people happy.”
People were seated at tables in two main dining areas at Pleasant Manor to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner while being serenaded by Crickett Steele, Sharmin Gothard and Randy Kirk of Holy Fire Ministries.
“Actually, Holy Fire Ministries is a church who meets at Renfro Nursing Home every week and conducts services,” said Steele, who is pastor of the Holy Fire Ministries. “We rotate the preaching every week and we sing southern gospel music.”
Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives, friends and church acquaintances of the residents of Pleasant Manor were present to share the meal with their loved ones, including sisters, Mime Garcia and Norma Long, who came to share in the annual affair with their mother, Benilde Carbajal.
“These people work hard to put this on for us every year - the food and the fellowship is great,” said Garcia, saying their mother has been a resident of Pleasant Manor for three years.
The Christmas party was visited by the Cub Scouts, a youth singing group from First Baptist Church of Maypearl and another group of students from Midlothian.
“We’ve had several things going on all day,” Feinman said. “And we couldn’t pull this off without lots of help. We are so