Festive thoughts from the Chelsea Pensioners
24th December 2021
Christmas is almost here and although life is still far from normal the Chelsea Pensioners are enjoying being part of our community at this special time. We are celebrating in many of the traditional ways at the Royal Hospital – while ensuring guidelines are followed and the Chelsea Pensioners stay as safe as possible.
The grounds and buildings are sparkling with lights and decked with greenery and carols resound through the quadrangles. The Chelsea Pensioners on the Long Wards are vying to have the best decorations and in the dementia ward, staff create Christmas wish lists for the residents and work with them to make everything look festive.
We asked the Chelsea Pensioners what they enjoy about Christmas here – read on to find out what means the most to them.
Christmas is about tradition
Mike H. said:
For me, Christmas is a peaceful time, although I’ll take part in some of the traditions. The beauty of this place is that you can do what you want.
I enjoy the traditional bits – the cheese ceremony, stirring the Christmas pudding. It looks absolutely beautiful here at Christmas.
It’s nice to be able to participate in the ceremonies at Christmas.
I love the old traditional stuff here at Christmas. It’s eccentric!
The run-up to Christmas is great with all the ceremonies.
My favourite things about Christmas here are the mince pies and the singing.
Christmas is about comradeship
The best thing about the Royal Hospital at Christmas is the comradeship and the friendliness of the staff.
At Christmas it’s very friendly here. We all join in.
The friendship here is good at Christmas.
I like meeting up with everybody in the other wards, it’s a community time.
Christmas is fun. There’s lots of camaraderie. We get together on the wards before dinner and have drinks then we go to the Great Hall and we party afterwards. Last year we were locked in, but it’s not a bad place to be locked in!
Mary G said:
I like the company at Christmas.
I love the gathering together at Christmas.
Christmas is about comfort and joy
Christmas is an exciting time here. Everyone joins in and we have a whale of a time.
Christmas is a relaxing time here but this is the best place all year round – everyone’s brilliant.
This is my second Christmas here. I’ve been enjoying myself.
I like the peace and quiet at Christmas. You don’t have to fight your way around the country to visit people. I like the mulled wine on Christmas day.
My first Christmas here was absolutely brilliant. This year I’m going to get involved in everything I can. I’m not going to be a humbug!
Everybody joins in at Christmas and it lasts for weeks – not just three days. There’s always something happening, something to do and see and the wards look grand.
I’ve been here 11 years. Christmas here is unbelievable. On Christmas Day the Governor gives a speech and tells us who will be the reviewing officer for Founder’s Day. We’re all single men here and many have lost our wives so Christmas is nostalgic, but the community here is brilliant. It’s the kindest care home in the world.
I’m going to family but it’s nice to know I have back-up – I hear Christmas dinner is pretty good. There’s so much organised for us to enjoy.
Mary J said:
We have a wonderful display of Christmas lights here. Last year it was mild and we sat outside the coffee shop and it was lovely. Christmas dinner was good – you couldn’t have it any better. Next year I’ll be 100.
Christmas is about staying safe and sound
I feel safe and secure here. I didn’t get much Christmas as a child as my dad was a vicar and had to do lots of services so I enjoy it now. It’s good because everyone gets together.
Christmas is really good here. They do everything they can to make it as happy as can be, especially during Covid.
From everyone at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!