A Joyful Spirit: Diane Blake

By Leslie Moore

Diane Blake, Myrtle Beach Estates

What merry making activity do you look forward to the most during the holiday season?

Baking cookies with my mom – we bake every year. She has done this for her family all my life. We call it the cookie factory! Her cookies are fabulous…so much so she had to hide them to keep my little brother from eating them before Christmas. She hid them…he found them. So she tried freezing them. He decided he could heat one up by putting in the toaster. Unfortunately, it caught on fire! BUSTED! Finally, she loaded them all up into a cupboard and put a padlock on it! He still loves her cookies.

I am also excited for my family to be able to be together. Having a blended family means respecting the needs of the kids to have good contact with their other parent and family. So often we don’t celebrate on a specific day…we have the holiday whenever we are all able to be together. This has helped our two grown kids not feel like they are in a tug of war between their parents. We also have two grandbabies under two years old…so more sharing of the joy of the season.

I really enjoy decorating the tree with the residents of Myrtle Beach Estates. We all do it together and have treats – it feels like one big happy family making more memories. I also love singing Christmas carols together; although I can’t really sing, no one seems to mind!

My other favorite tradition is to watch, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Do you prefer a real tree or an artificial one? Tell us about your decorations.

I like real trees but use an artificial one. When I was little we went through four real trees before Christmas as they kept getting too dry and were a fire hazard.

I love Santa Claus decorations, plus I also love the snow village. When I lived in Chicago, I had a large tree in each of five rooms. One tree had my Christmas village, one was decorated with ornaments made by our kids, one held my keepsake ornaments that date back 45 years, one was a collection of other ornaments, and the final tree was in the family room in the basement, decorated in burgundy and gold. I also have a collection of Santas, and they sat on each stair throughout the house. My husband would put out holiday lights on our big two-story house. He would climb a big ladder, and I would watch to make sure he didn’t fall off! And we always had a big party for our closest friends, which we thoroughly loved!

How can we make the holidays brighter for our senior relative and friends, especially those who live in senior living facilities? 

Visit them. Bring young people. A simple card, a hug or a special treat all make our residents feel merry for the holidays. Our loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia enjoy decorations, music, little parties, small gifts, something to do like a little hand puzzle, pictures of family members, a lap blanket,  a pretty decoration for their door…and most importantly lots of hugs, smiles and joy.

What fun holiday activities do you have planned for the residents of Myrtle Beach Estates?’

Tree decorating, baking cookies and our Golden Girls will be doing a singing performance. We have special meals, snacks and holiday movies with popcorn. I always enjoy “Time with Diane” where we talk about our holiday memories. At Myrtle Beach Estates, we make the holidays fun with Christmas crafts, Christmas manicures and a Christmas service. We will be keeping everyone busy and jolly as we enjoy this wonderful season.

Myrtle Beach Estates is located at 3620 Happy Woods Court in Myrtle Beach.Contact Diane at by calling 877-931-1417 or

visit www.capitalsenior.com/myrtlebeachestates.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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