The Love of a Broad Extended Family through Christmas

A sense of connectedness spreads throughout Schlegel Villages

By Kristian Partington

Festive spirits flow thick through every Schlegel Village, and each has their own approach to honouring Christmas traditions as well as the other spiritual events that make this time of year so special throughout the diverse Canadian mosaic.   

enerosity and togetherness are the hallmarks of the season and the word family has a broad definition within Schlegel Villages. It extends to hundreds and even thousands of people and this time of year, a sense of connectedness, fellowship and benevolence dominates the streets and neighbourhoods of the villages.

Group photo with Santa at Erin Meadows
Ron and Brad Schlegel join Santa and team members at The Village of  
Erin Meadows during the village's annual Christams bazaar.

Consider the Village of Tansley Woods, where on two separate mid-December evenings a total of more than 600 people broke bread together in both the long-term care and retirement family Christmas dinners. The annual tradition is not to be missed and continues to grow, enjoying the support of a wide range of volunteers from within and outside the village.

While Tansley Woods likes to go big with the festivities, other villages choose to do more intimate dinners at the neighbourhood level, drawing closer together the team members, residents and families whose connections grow deep throughout the year. Emma’s neighbourhood at Humber Heights cherishes this tradition, and they once again hosted a neighbourhood dinner where team members, residents and families came together. Similar events dotted the December calendar in neighbourhoods across all villages. 

For the second year running, The Village of Sandalwood Park was part of the elaborate Brampton Santa Claus parade with an extensive float upon a tractor-trailer decked out in hundreds of lights and filled with waving residents. For some residents at last year’s event it was the first opportunity in their life they’d been part of a parade, and the team has now made a tradition out of it.  

The Village of Glendale Crossing has chosen, among many events and offerings, to try separate Christmas evening galas for each neighbourhood, with games for children, entertainment and visits from Santa. Like the dinners, these events allow for more dedicated time among residents, families and the people who are most directly involved in care and support at the neighbourhood level. The village is also offering a service to provide family portraits and a fully catered dinner on Christmas Day for families and residents.

From Wentworth Heights to Erin Meadows to University Gates, music is also a major part of festive celebrations and choirs that have rehearsed for months have sung their praises before gathered audiences to honour the season.

Schlegel Villages, as an organization, continues to grow at a rapid pace – new villages are acquired and existing ones are expanding to welcome many new residents. A great fear in the face of this growth is that it will come at the expense of the sense of family and connectedness at the core of the Schlegel Villages philosophy.

One must simply walk into any village in the bright, cold days of mid-December to see that the love of this large, extended family is as rooted as it ever has been.