‘Tis the Season at Nathaniel Witherell: Thirty Days of Celebration!
At Nathaniel Witherell, we go all out to throw a good party. We choose a theme, scour the region to bring in top-notch entertainment, decorate extensively, and top it all off with fresh, tasty, theme-related cuisine. And since it’s so much fun, holiday celebrations here last all month. Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahsare in the common rooms and all the units, and residents can make and decorate small boxwood trees for their rooms.
This year’s holiday entertainment includes: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree with Johnny P., the One Man Christmas Carol, Saint Paul’s Day School Singers, Eastern Middle School String Ensemble, a screening of White Christmas, historian Art Gottlieb discussing the origin of the Christmas tree,in addition to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah programs.
“So much is going on, the calendar runs out of space!“ explains Mary Bruce, Director of Therapeutic Recreation. “We’re known for our recreational and education programming, which includes one or two theme parties a month. Our residents have fun and there’s lots of laughter. We’re like one big, happy family.”
The holiday party
Witherell’s December 13th holiday party will be a grand event. Long-term residents and their guests will be transported into a winter wonderland. A “Currier and Ives” style panorama will grace the back wall of the auditorium, replete with snow, gas lampposts, reindeer, and Santa Claus. Holly leaves and berries will hang from the ceiling, and tables will be decorated with poinsettias donated by the Witherell Family Council, a group of volunteers related to current or former residents. Professional duos will provide live, musical entertainment.
The festivities will take place in the auditorium and adjacent solarium, and in the chapel (where additional tables will be set up for dining). For the main event, up to 200 residents and their guests will sit down to a feast prepared by Witherell’s dining staff. Family Council volunteers −Santa’s helpers − will don red caps and serve the residents, many of whom they have gotten to know during previous visits, adding to the warm, holiday spirit.
According to Courtney Morgan, Witherell’s director of dining services, “My staff and I have created a holiday menu that includes jumbo shrimp, antipasto, homemade kielbasa in a blanket, chicken satay, two carving stations (turkey breast and roast beef), lobster ravioli, a fruit platter, cakes, pies, and our signature eggnog.”
Courtney Morgan has graciously agreed to share his special eggnog recipe below:
3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup rum*
1/4 cup rum*
1/2 cup whiskey*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
(*) Omit the rum and whiskey for a non-alcoholic variation
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups of the cream over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer around the edges of the pan. Do not let it boil.
- While the cream is heating, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Ladle out 1 cup of the warm cream mixture and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Scrape all of the egg mixture into the saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir. Do this for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. The mixture should register 170 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read digital thermometer.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and allow it to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the rum, whiskey, vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of the freshly grated nutmeg.
- Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the eggnog mixture, making sure the whipped cream is completely incorporated. Serve immediately, topping each serving with a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. The eggnog can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Be sure to gently whisk before serving.