The dining services team at Tulsa, OK, continuing care retirement community Montereau created a gingerbread village for its residents to enjoy during the holidays.

Montereau Director of Dining Chad Horvath and his executive sous chef did a similar display at the Chateau on the Lake Hotel in Branson, MO, in the past and thought it would be a festive touch for residents.

The duo built and decorated three giant gingerbread houses, including one mounted to a cart to allow it to travel to different areas of the retirement community. The larger houses were assembled in the independent living area of the community.

Horvath said they used approximately 80 pounds of powdered sugar to make the icing and baked about 100 four-inch-by-eight-inch gingerbread bricks to use on the three houses. Beneath the candy and gingerbread is a wood structure the engineering team on the property built for the houses.

The actual decorating took around 11 hours for the large house and seven hours for the smaller houses. After the holidays they play to power wash the candy off of the wood structures and save them to do it again next year.

Phil the Elf

Phil and his furniture.

A Bridges by Epoch at Nashua resident who used his woodworking skills to create “dolly beds” for the Marine Toys for Tots program enjoyed the fruits of his labor thanks to a special Christmas display at the New Hampshire memory care community.

A pharmacist by trade with a woodworking hobby, the resident, Phil, made doll cribs for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In 1990, the former Marine and World War II veteran created beds for dollhouses for the Toys for Tots program.

Today, Phil displays several pieces of his dollhouse furniture in his suite. When a fellow resident’s wooden dollhouse was delivered to the community, Phil was taken back to his former hobby.

“Phil made a habit of always supporting those who may not have been as blessed as he and his family,” said Wendy Sage-Matsis, senior adviser at Bridges by EPOCH at Nashua. “And come the holiday season, Toys for Tots became his main focus. He dedicated much love, time and labor to putting smiles on children’s faces at Christmastime.”

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