Holiday Traditions at Good Samaritan
Happy Holidays! This season is one of our absolute FAVORITE times at Good Samaritan. We have so many special holiday traditions and fun activities that truly make this time of year magical. Staff put in hard work to make the season memorable for the youth and families in their programs.
With that said, let’s dive into some of our favorite festive traditions at Good Samaritan!
In our Specialized Care program at the ranch, we go ALL out with festive decorations and holiday traditions. Though perhaps the most memorable and cherished tradition is the Christmas tree. Talking about this tradition, President/CEO Casey says:
“It goes back over 25 years. A few weeks before Christmas we go out to our camp and hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.
Then about a week before Christmas, we close the gym to all kids and proceed to decorate. There is always a tenuous moment as we attempt fit this enormous tree through the doors in the gym.
It takes work. Sometimes, as many as 20 staff working together, pulling from the inside, and pushing from the outside. Some even climb right into the tree. There are moments when it feels as though the tree will never make it through. Inch by inch, year after year that tree eventually makes it through.”
You can click here to watch a video of last year’s tree going up!
In addition to the giant tree in the gym, the youth in our Specialized Care program decorate their dorms and have a Christmas light competition! The winner is announced at a special Christmas tree lighting (with plenty of cookies and cocoa to go around!). At this event, Casey takes some time to encourage the youth and share a message of hope.
At the Good Samaritan offices, youth from the Specialized Care program can enjoy the festive hallways on their way to and from appointments. From decking the halls with glittering lights to a fun Christmas playlist—the holly jolly vibes at Good Samaritan’s offices are top notch. In fact, during this time, it is not unusual to see CEO Casey walking around in an Elf costume!
Finally, generous donors come together to help us provide the youth with the Christmas gifts on their wish lists. On Christmas day, the youth can expect to wake up to a giant stocking filled with goodies, Christmas gifts around the tree in the gym, and a huge Christmas dinner! It is a memorable day that we look forward to each year
This year, staff put together Christmas stockings for our families in Stabilization Services. The stockings are filled with fun family activities for the holidays like gingerbread house kits, a Christmas themed story, a card game, coloring books, candy canes, and more! Our hope is that families will use the stockings to come together and make lasting holiday memories.
Our Transitional Living program, which includes Darr House and Laura’s Home, has its share of festive traditions. Alissa, Director of Transitional Living highlighted some their fun Christmas traditions saying, “They [the youth] always get a huge grouping of presents. We do stockings. Our staff cook a big meal. We decorate with a big tree. We do Christmas morning with presents and a big meal. And we usually try to do some sort of group activity Christmas Eve or Christmas Day whether that’s all going to see Christmas lights or going to the movies.”
Because the holidays can be a challenging time for the youth in our programs, staff work hard to make the day special and memorable.
And, just like in our Specialized Care program, youth in our Transitional Living program create a Christmas gift wish-list that generous donors help make a reality!
The Meaning Behind It All
Here at Good Samaritan, we love to have fun over the holidays. We love to see our youth and families enjoying holiday traditions. And we love to get together as a community and celebrate. And ultimately, everything we do this time of year goes back to serving the youth and families in our programs. For many, the holidays can be a lonely or stressful time. There may be grief and hardship attached to this season. However, we hope to create an environment that radiates hope and joy.
With that said, wishing you a very Merry Christmas from all of us at Good Samaritan. And thank you for taking the time to read about one of our favorite times of the year!