How Woodbury Community Members Connect During the Holidays

by | Dec 2020

A senior at Woodbury Senior Living reads a handwritten holiday letter.

“Our residents love it and they keep and cherish [holiday mail]. It lifts their spirit as well.” —Margaret Wachholz. Photo: Woodbury Senior Living

Share traditions, celebrate the holidays and create memories with those around you.

The holiday season brings forth a variety of traditional celebrations and a part of loving thy neighbor is acknowledging their differing cultures, practices and beliefs.

“I think that it is necessary to recognize that we all don’t celebrate the same thing, but the fact that we all have the opportunity to celebrate is important,” community Chaplain with the Jewish Family Service of St. Paul Rabbi Lynn Liberman BCC says. “Everybody should be able to observe their traditions in the way that they would like to, without fear or intimidation.”

Learn more about the different ways our community members connect with one another during the holiday season.


Commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration that honors the miracle of the oil and the victory for everyone to have opportunity to celebrate religious freedom. Through a lit Hannukiah (a specialized menorah), spinning dreidels, fried potato pancakes and jelly-filled donuts, this home-based celebration represents the fundamental message of “light into freedom,” represented by the Hannukiah, and “joy,” represented by food, Rabbi Liberman says.

Though Hanukkah is a holiday that the religion doesn’t want to overemphasize, it has become a more prominent holiday due to its proximity to Christmas. With this exposure, Rabbi Liberman emphasizes the need for all to acknowledge varying cultural traditions during this season.
Through the universal idea of granting freedom for all to safety worship, she says that Hanukkah celebrations are most welcome for everyone to share and join together.

Jewish Family Service of St. Paul
1633 Seventh St. W., St. Paul

Letters of Love

In an effort to connect generations with one another, the Woodbury Senior Living Community encourages community members to reach out to seniors via snail mail.

Sending anything that you feel compelled to share, such as photos, artwork, hand-written letters or poetry, provides a refreshing glimmer of happiness to the seniors.

“Our residents love it and they keep and cherish them,” campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living Margaret Wachholz says. “It lifts their spirit as well.”

After sending your letter to the home, staff members evenly distribute the mail to the seniors across the three buildings.
So grab the pencils and markers, and consider sending some holiday mail!

Woodbury Senior Living
7012 Lake Road

Made with Love

Woodbury resident Samia Abdelal shares her family’s traditional, yet simple Egyptian cookie recipe. With memories of baking these sweet treats with her mother during the holiday season, Abdelal says these cookies are meant to be shared and enjoyed by your loved ones. So bake a batch, and deliver them to your neighbors, friends and family.

Ghorayeba Cookie

Serving size: 60 small sized cookies or 30 large cookies

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk or ½ cup dried milk (optional but highly recommended, this gives the cookies a richer flavor)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Unsalted roasted peeled almonds or pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whip room temperature butter in a large electric mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, continue whipping on low speed until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and milk, and gradually add to the whipped mixture. Mix until a dough-like consistency is formed. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead until it has a soft and moist consistency. Roll one tablespoon of dough into a ball and place onto a cookie sheet, one inch apart, and press lightly into the center of the ball. (If the dough cracks after pressing, add a splash of room temperature milk to the dough to increase moisture.) Top each cookie with an almond, pistachio or nut of choice. Bake 8–10 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and rest until cooled.


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