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Children, families come together for Santa and the Timbers’ Elves

To spread some holiday season cheer, The Timbers of Shorewood hosted its annual Santa and the Timbers’ Elves Christmas Party on Dec. 17.

Highlights at the event included treats, horse-drawn wagon rides and a petting zoo.

The Timbers of Shorewood Executive Director Faith Ann Varga said bringing the community together to ring in the holiday season is important.

“We do it every year and we hold it for the community,” she said. “And, of course, we started this for family members so they would bring their grandkids … and then it just started to mushroom.”

Santa, a magician and a live reindeer were also on hand for the holiday event.

Varga said the festivities are designed to please.

“Our residents love it as you can see they’re all sitting around,” she said. “It’s for them too. For them to enjoy, for them to see the kids, and for them to have their families come and bring their kids with, too. It’s all about making people happy and letting people know what we’re about.”

Christina Gomez, of Joliet, was in attendance for the event with her two daughters.

“It’s really nice,” she said. ‘They like the animals best.”

This year was Gomez’s first time attending the holiday party at The Timbers of Shorewood.

“I Googled it trying to find events for Santa because today’s my day off,” she said.

Gomez said the holiday season is a “big deal” in her family.

“We try to get out as much and enjoy the holidays as much as we can,” she said.

Gomez said it’s nice getting a chance to celebrate the holiday season with family, and she looks forward to coming back to The Timbers of Shorewood for its annual event next year.

Patrick Leaf, 18, of Joliet, was one of many volunteers helping out at Christmas party.

“It’s around Christmas time, so I figured I’d do something to help out,” he said. “This is a good event to help out.”

Leaf said his favorite part was seeing the cheer brought to all of the children who were in attendance.

“Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves and having a good time loving what we’ve put on,” he said.

Leaf said he’s glad he chose to assist The Timbers of Shorewood at its annual holiday party.

“It’s always nice to see how they take care of everybody that lives here,” he said. “It’s a nice environment, so being able to help out here and being able to put on (an event) is a good thing to be a part of.”

This year’s event drew in between 200 and 300 people.

Varga said the hope is people recognize what The Timbers of Shorewood does for the community.

“We’re independent and assisted living,” she said. “We do a lot of short-term stays and respite stays. So, we want people to understand and know that, too. So, by coming into to the building and seeing us, (they’ll notice) we’re different.”

Varga explained that The Timbers of Shorewood is different in how they have a lot of common area, a licensed restaurant and a lot of space for events.

“These people, you want them to live like they’ve lived a life,” she said.

Varga said bringing back the holiday event for a 13th year made sense on many levels.

“It’s bringing joy to people and seeing kids smile and watching the families and residents and how the joy comes out,” she said. “It’s a beautiful time of the year.”

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