Walking through the doors of Cairnfield House is like walking into a Christmas wonderland.

Tinsel is draped from the ceilings; statues of Santa, reindeer and nutcrackers sit near the entrance to the Whangārei rest home - and that is just the beginning.

As you walk further down the hallway you find Santa's grotto - a space in the rest home filled with anything and everything festive, from Christmas trees and crackers to model villages and snow globes.

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Lesley Middleton, manager of Cairnfield House, said they have been decorating the rest home for many years but three years ago they decided to set up Santa's grotto.

"There's a small group of staff - me included - and we do this in our own homes. Our director got involved and became very encouraging so she has made that every hallway in the house is decorated."

Middleton said the first year there was about 100 decorations and now the number is in the thousands. She said they start decorating early in November and many of the 80-plus residents love sitting in the grotto.

"It just makes people smile, it lifts the spirit. Family love coming and having a look at it all. Especially the small children," she said.

Cairnfield House residents Josephine and Bill Gray with administrator Julie Partridge (centre) amongst the wonderful festive decorations. Photo / Tania Whyte
Cairnfield House residents Josephine and Bill Gray with administrator Julie Partridge (centre) amongst the wonderful festive decorations. Photo / Tania Whyte

The decorations aren't limited to the entrance and Santa's grotto, staff have also decked the halls of the rest home too.

Every hallway is draped with tinsel - a different colour theme in each hallway - and wreaths hang on the doors.

Middleton said seeing people's reactions and hearing the 'wows' as people walked in the door was "heartwarming".

"To put smiles on people's faces it's amazing. We get lots and lots of feedback about how amazing it is, how wonderful it is."

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