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By Ginger Bonner

Pilgrim Day

Pilgrim Day is a fun day to create. The only problem you may comeginger
across is finding a bonnet. I think the first one I had I got from a childrens' clothing store. It was tight, but it worked. Ask around. You never knew who has taken a trip to the Amish Country and bought one as a souvenir.  Always use your friends as resources. You would be surprised what people have in their basement and are more than happy to lend or even donate if you ask. Besides the bonnet, Pilgrim Day is easy to create and a costume that causes a lot of reactions. I even get 
grumpy people laughing!

For the rest of the costume, I have a long black skirt and a long sleeved black shirt. I take a regular piece of white paper and cut two long wide strips and tape them around my wrist to form the cuff. Through the years , my "bib" and apron have changed but in this picture, my bib is really the apron from a  French Maid Halloween  costume and the apron is simply the plastic ones my facility stocks in the kitchen. You can use any white apron or even a pinned handkerchief for the bottom .You can see in the  picture, the second life I gave to some "doilys" I found at a garage sale. I love to get the residents in costumes. It definitely add to the imagination and youthfulness of the day. Look at the shoes. It is not necessary, but a  really nice detail. I wear basic black pumps and make a square out of white paper, cut out a square  and tape it onto my shoes. It's totally free and the residents love it. The trimming on the mans hat in our "family portrait" is also made from plain construction paper, colored in with brown marker, but keeping it white is fine. Add a few Thanksgiving props such as gourds and autumn  leaves and you and your residents will become a group of Pilgrims! Make sure you take a family portrait! It takes a few minutes to get everyone where they belong and pose them with the props and you will definitely need some  patience but it is possible. The residents feel so special  and validated when I make such a fuss over them for the pictures. Check out
my facebook page "Oldfolks YoungActivities" after next Thursday. I will post pictures of my pilgrim day this year.

Feel free to request me to see just some of the thousands of costumed and themed colorful pictures I
have taken through the years. I also take some of my theme days on the road to other facilities. Feel free to email me at for more info.

Anyway, now that you have got your costume on, there are quite a number of things you can do with the residents to celebrate Pilgrim day. The highlight of the day is demonstrating making Pumpkin Pie, the
"Incredible Edible. .There are many pie recipes, including one found here: While I mix my recipe , I double it and  I ask residents to help figure out how much of the ingredients I need. While the pies are being baked, I take
this opportunity to talk about Gratitude.I encourage them to have an attitude of gratitude and appreciate all they have rather than complaining about what they don't have. Statistic are if you have 3 meals a day, a bed and a roof, you are richer than 3/4 of the world. Thank God for all you have. Appreciate the little things. I tell them of when my cousin, who is an officer at the US Embassy in Vienna, took an old Polish Lady for a ride through Poland. She marveled at an ordinary house that had flowers. He said she was overwhelmed at how rich a person must be if they have the luxury of growing flowers rather than necessary fruits and vegetables. Have your residents talk about what they are grateful for. You can even have them fill out a
thankfulness record, naming one thing a day and keeping record of it.

Throughout the course of the day, I also teach them about the first Thanksgiving. You can  find information on the web here There  are also other sites or go the children's library and get a simple book on the first Thanksgiving. There are a number available with great pictures and easy to read information while you are conducting a group. Ask questions during the group. Have them guess numbers and data (how many pilgrims/how many Indians were at the First Thansgiving, etc) so that  they use their mind and it makes it fun for group participation. It as a wonderful story. The Pilgrims weren't free to practice their ways,  at first they went  Holland but their children were being bullied and that's when they decided to come to America! You can find it here or in a variety of 
sites. The Pilgrim situation wasn't so different as things today.

Finally take out the pie and serve it. While they eat it, we do a Pilgrim Word Search, finding small words out of the big words. I also have a special bingo where I give out dollar store Pilgrim figurines or something similar, or I hand out a large print search a  word. It is a wonderful, easy, informative, educational, fun, proven successful program for Thanksgiving. It is with deep gratitude that I get to be a Pilgrim and make so many people smile because of it. You can do the same thing. Feel free to e-mail me with questions. If it is too much for you and you would like to have a day like this at your facility and are in my area, please contact me and I can make it happen. Either way, be grateful and  be thankful that you have a career where you make other people have better days. I consider myself blessed that I have these people, my people, in my life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ginger conducts her rockin’ themed programs for the young fashioned senior with love, learning, music and laughter, her ingredients for a great day! Her mission is to empower incredible senior citizens to feel young by creating a youthful attitude, because attitudes are catchy! Do you like Ginger's creative costumes and activities but don't have the time to coordinate these programs yourself? Learn more about Ginger's business, "Created Young", where she brings her themes right to you. Contact Ginger at

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