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Holiday joy does not wane with age

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By Katy Korkos

Christmas came early for seniors in Los Alamos, now that Santa Claus has already visited both Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Aspen Ridge Lodge Assisted Living on Friday.“You have to be a good girl and share,” Santa said as he handed out dozens of individual gifts to residents, whose faces shone with expectation every bit as much as when they were younger.Aspen Ridge manager Eduardo Rivera played Santa’s helper as each resident got a personalized present, followed by refreshments in the lobby of the assisted living facility.The party for residents was followed by a party for the staff and their families in the dining room. Although the celebration was held Friday, Rivera said that Christmas Day would also hold special events at Aspen Ridge.“We’ll be serving the traditional Christmas luncheon and showing a special holiday movie in the afternoon,” Rivera said.Beverly Garcia and Katie Baldwin organize the activities at Sombrillo Nursing Home.The Sombrillo Christmas party was also held on Friday, and residents each received a special gift from Santa Claus there as well.“The residents just loved him,” Garcia said.Garcia said that many Sombrillo residents have family ties in Los Alamos, and she expects many Sombrillo residents will be picked up and taken out for Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, but for those who stay in, there will be festive meals and activities.Garcia added that Sombrillo also is planning New Year’s celebrations for next week.“We’re looking forward to New Year’s,” Garcia said. “We’ll have something really special.”The Betty Ehart Senior Center will be closed Monday and Tuesday for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.The Center is responsible for preparing Los Alamos’ Meals on Wheels, and has made arrangements with volunteers to deliver extra meals to tide over shut-ins during holiday closures.Volunteers from the Jewish Center will help to deliver the extra meals to those regulars who get them.The White Rock Senior Activity center will be open regular hours, which are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Christmas Eve and closed on Tuesday.