Woods was alive with the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays during the second annual Winter Wonderland at Woods, which was held on Friday, November 30th and Saturday, December 1st. The kickoff to the holiday season was highlighted by a tree lighting ceremony on Friday evening, which featured performances from the Woods’ Disney choir and Beechwood vocal choir and the arrival of Santa on a Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company firetruck complete with lights and sirens!
The tree lighting also included an uplifting speech from a Woods resident, as well as remarks from local state representative Frank Farry and Woods’ board president, Kevin Sheetz. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Woods residents were invited to the stage to help Santa push a big button to illuminate our very own Christmas tree, which was beautifully decorated by Greg Gilton of Xtreme Elevations and included snowflake ornaments uniquely painted by each resident of Woods.
The fantastic Woods’ maintenance crew was instrumental in setting the stage for Winter Wonderland and spent weeks decorating the grounds and constructing a free-standing “Santa Cabin”, complete with holiday movie motifs and a red velvet throne for the big jolly guy himself. Santa’s Cabin was a big hit with Winter Wonderland attendees as our very own Santa spent time chatting and taking photos with each excited visitor.
Like the inaugural Winter Wonderland at Woods in 2017, this year’s event featured unique items and gifts for purchase from one dozen local artisans and crafters. This year all attendees, including Woods residents, families, and staff members, as well as members of the local community, were treated to a number of free activities and treats at Winter Wonderland, including soft pretzels, hot chocolate, and face painting as well a make-your-own ornament station, Santa letter-writing area, and holiday movie quiet room, all courtesy of the Woods’ recreation departments. Our friends from JR Michalski HVAC generously donated 700 Santa hats and glitter glue, an activity that was a big hit with attendees of all ages. Former board member Alice DeVoe and her husband, John Szabo, baked and donated several dozen delicious Italian cookies, which were sold in specialty Winter Wonderland tins.
Our Woods’ social enterprises Yellow Daffodil Flower and Gift Shop, Common Grounds Café, Woods Wear, and BeechTree were all well represented at Winter Wonderland. Yellow Daffodil showcased their beautifully decorated campus location and held three different popular craft workshops. Common Grounds Café showed off their new coffee bar and specialty coffee drinks while Woods Wear unveiled their new space and custom t-shirt offerings to the public for the first time. BeechTree was setup among the other vendors and sold gift sets featuring their bath and body products.
Winter Wonderland at Woods also served as the drop-off site for our Secret Santa program. Each year more than 200 staff members, families, community members and local business sign up to purchase gifts for Woods residents who stay with us through the holidays and would not otherwise receive them. Thank you to all of our generous Secret Santa donors, as well as the more than 50 volunteers who donated their time to serve as parking, snack stand, and greeter booth attendants, Santa’s Cabin managers, and Secret Santa gift checkers. It truly takes a village to transform Woods into Winter Wonderland and we are so thankful to everyone for their help, support, and patronage!