St. John Bosco students celebrate the holidays at Hawthorn Court Memory Care community by helping decorate and singing carols. Photo courtesy of Avril Sanders

For many, the holiday season brings to light family traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Whether its grandmother's famous eggnog recipe or time-honored candle lighting ceremonies, traditions bring familiarity, warmth and comfort. For the third year in a row, students from St. John Bosco in Ahwatukee Foothills and residents from Hawthorn Court Memory Care community have come together to celebrate their own tradition - the decorating of the community Christmas tree.

"We started receiving e-mails back in October from the kids telling us that they were looking forward to decorating the tree again this year," said Avril Sanders, activity director for Hawthorn Court. "We just love their enthusiasm in honoring this tradition with Hawthorn Court residents."

According to Sanders, another tradition was continued this year much to the student's delight. When the decorating was complete and the tree was being admired, one tiny voice gasped, "Where is the blue blub?" After searching the empty boxes, the bulb was discovered and placed on the tree as one of the students explained its importance to residents and staff. Apparently, the single blue ornament had mysteriously shown up years ago, and while out of place amid the traditional red and gold ornaments, the students felt the little blue bulb was representative of the school's involvement with Hawthorn Court.

"The tree looks beautiful, and I can't help but smile at the sight of that little blue bulb sitting majestically among all the red and gold," Sanders said.

In addition to celebrating holiday traditions, St. John Bosco students (ranging in age from 9 to 13) meet regularly at Hawthorn Court to learn about dementia, and how to best interact with Hawthorn Court residents as well as family members who have/may be diagnosed. What started as a means to fulfill school required service hours has now developed into a part education, part socialization program to meet the needs of seniors and students alike.

For more information about Hawthorn Court in Ahwatukee Foothills, call (480) 559-8144 or visit www.srgseniorliving.com.

Constance Sablan is the public relations representative for Hawthorn Court in Ahwatukee Foothills.

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