Oakwood Common Staff Spreads Holiday Cheer with Creative Talents

DEARBORN, Michigan –  Nearly 20 years ago Donna Brandt  started making and selling personalized Christmas ornaments to help supplement her family’s income.

Donna Brandt holds one of the ornaments she personalized for  Oakwood Common residents Jane and Phil Button and their two dogs.

Donna Brandt holds one of the ornaments she personalized for Oakwood Common residents Jane and Phil Button and their two dogs.

“I was a stay-at-home mom with a son and twin daughters,” said Brandt. “It was easy to decorate the ornaments while they were sleeping or at school.”

Brandt estimates that she made two to three thousand ornaments each holiday season for nearly 10 years, selling them at trade shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania. With her children grown, Brandt shifted careers and is now sales coordinator for the Oakwood Common Retirement Community in Dearborn.

This year, Brandt decided to turn her former business into a “labor of love”  by surprising all of the residents in the community’s independent living area with personalized “snowmen” ornaments. Brandt made sure residents’ pets were not forgotten and personalized their names on the ornaments as well.

According to Brandt, it was easy to start up her former production methods of painting all the ornaments first and then personalizing each, adding the time she spent making them was very therapeutic and relaxing.

Donna Brandt puts finishing touches on a holiday ornament.

Donna Brandt puts finishing touches on a holiday ornament.

“Donna surprised and inspired us all,” said Mary Granata, Oakwood Common’s director of sales. “When other staff, who help our residents in assisted living, admired the nearly 200 ornaments Donna had made, they decided to pay her work forward by making ornaments for all of the residents in their areas.”

During this year’s campus-wide holiday celebration and tree lighting ceremony at Oakwood Common, residents and guests viewed many of these beautiful handcrafted ornaments that decorated Christmas trees throughout the community.

“Donna is very modest about her talent,” added Granata. “Yet, she created a gift, and hopefully, a tradition that will keep on giving.”

About Oakwood Common

Oakwood Common offers one and two bedroom senior living apartments located at 16351 Rotunda Drive, within a beautiful 29-acre community that includes exquisite landscaping, nature trails and scenic views along the historic Rouge River Gateway in Dearborn. Oakwood Common apartments, available with flexible payment options, offer exceptional amenities for independent living and can be readily customized.  Assisted living and a comprehensive rehabilitation and skilled nursing center are also available for those with additional needs. For more information and to arrange tours, call 800-642-4663 or visit www.OakwoodCommon.org.