CARRINGTON, N.D. — Amanda Baumann was busy Thursday, Dec. 10, decorating a Christmas tree outside her grandfather's room at Golden Acres Manor. There will be no family Christmas get-together for them this year because of the pandemic.
"Hopefully, we will get together with him soon," she said.
She decorated the tree as a surprise for when her grandfather returns to his room after a coronavirus outbreak at the home. Each ornament she used to decorate the outdoor tree was made out of bird food.
"He enjoys watching the birds, so it will be enjoyment for the birds and him," Baumann said.
The Guler family is decorating a tree with their grandma for the first time in years.
"Even if it's just through a window, it's nice to have that connection, especially during this time of year," said Jodi Guler, whose grandmother also lives at Golden Acres.
It's a Christmas nobody in this small community will forget.
"I was shocked to look out and see them out there," said resident Alta Winters.
All together, 57 Christmas tress have been added to the outside of the nursing home: one outside the window of each resident. All of the trees stand over 6 feet tall.
The trees were donated by a secret Santa in the Carrington community.
"It's almost like a Christmas miracle," Guler said.
The nursing home is coming off an outbreak that impacted a large percentage of the residents. The pandemic has also claimed a number of lives.
"It brings back a little spirit and joy to what has been a gloomy several weeks," said nursing home administrator Mitch Page.
The secret Santa also donated solar lights for every tree.
"This was the year to have it done, because we can't get out and about," Winters said.
A secret Santa coming early this year to bring cheer and joy to those who will likely spend Christmas alone was a much-needed boost.
"All we are missing is a little white dusting of snow, and we can have the story book photo out the window," Page said.