Decking the halls

NANAIMO – Staff at Dover House seniors’ facility create Christmas wonderland.

Lorraine Tanti’s special talent for arranging large

It takes about a week for staff at Dover House to deck the halls for the Christmas season.

The annual tradition of filling the facility with Christmas cheer started in 1996 when owner Judy Parsons opened the residence for seniors with cognitive and mobility challenges caused by stroke or dementia.

Each common area in the building has an elaborate display of Christmas teddy bears, nutcrackers and other seasonal icons. Every resident’s door gets a garland of poinsettias, pine cones and gold ribbon.

The resulting displays are a collaboration between Parsons and Lorraine Tanti, facility support staff worker and head decorator.

“She purchases everything – I’ve been learned by the best – and I put it all together,” Tanti said. “I’m allowed to have free rein.”

The decorations chosen are traditional, warm and comforting.

Parsons is partial to poinsettias, which she uses as the basis for the colour and style of decorations throughout the home. Hall-decking was completed in time for the facility’s Christmas open house which hosted more than 100 visitors Nov. 29.

Dover House has 24 residents. With staff running errands and caring for patients, there’s a lot of activity in building, but the elaborate Christmas displays in the hallways and common areas are carefully designed so they don’t interfere with traffic moving through the building, courtyard and gardens.

“I have to say, for all the decorations that we have around, I could count on one hand, how many displays have been disrupted,” Parsons said. “It’s amazing.”

Tanti’s tour of the facility goes through the Christmas village, rooms with colour themes of gold, green and glitter, nativity scenes, country themes and a display of more than 40 nutcrackers of various sizes, colours, uniforms and expressions.

Tanti moved one nutcracker to the back of the crowd because of his fierce, angry appearance.

“These are fun,” said Tanti. “There’s an angry one. That’s the Mad Hatter one, I guess.”

Because the home has military veterans in residence, no Christmas decorations go up until after Remembrance Day.

Rita Stein, whose sister is a resident, said the effect is like a five-star hotel decorated for the season.

“They just put in so much love and effort,” Stein said. “They decorate for every occasion.

“This is all done by staff. They don’t have somebody come in and do it. It’s all done from their heart.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

COVID-19 isn’t cancelling this year’s Tour de Rock

Alumni riders will cycle relay sections in their own communities

POLL: Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?

Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?… Continue reading

Trail proposed to connect Cedar and Yellow Point

Regional director says project fits with active transportation goals

Woodgrove Centre posts plans to make masks and temperature checks mandatory

Mall advises in letter to customers that rules will come into effect Monday, Sept. 21

POLL: Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?

Can B.C. hold a provincial election safely during a pandemic?… Continue reading

Nanaimo RCMP community policing needs a few good volunteers

Volunteers needed to help Nanaimo RCMP and city deliver crime prevention and safety programs

Protesters march in Nanaimo, calling for greater protection of forests and watersheds

March for the Forests happened downtown on Friday afternoon

City of Nanaimo begins project planning for multimillion-dollar public works yard upgrades

Councillors vote to reallocate $200,000 to develop architectural concepts and cost estimates

Nanaimo residents ticketed for putting out garbage bins the night before pickup

Conservation officers say they issued seven tickets this week, as warnings weren’t having an impact

Accused in Makayla Chang’s murder sees next court date in October

Steven Michael Bacon faces first-degree murder charge in killing of Nanaimo teen

Regional District of Nanaimo looks to create its own flag

Staff created makeshift flag earlier this year for a conference that ended up getting cancelled

Nanaimo senior defrauded out of $14,000 in ‘grandson scam’

80-year-old victim was told her grandson was out-of-province and in legal trouble

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read