VIU Working Remotely Chronicles: Holiday Edition

December 18, 2020 - 6:15am

As we head into our semester break, we thought it would be a nice time to share some of our favourite winter holiday traditions, moments and wishes. We know this season looks different than in years past but, however you celebrate, we wish you a restful and relaxing break, filled with joy and fun.

Note: These are presented in a randomly drawn order. To see the full images, please click on them. 

I was putting up our fake Christmas tree and it involved a lot of fluffing and stretching the branches to make it look fuller. It fits into a box that is 8 inches square and 4 feet long and the tree is 6 feet tall - so a lot of fluffing and stretching! I started to wonder: Why am I doing this when we aren’t allowed to gather and no one is coming to visit? How are the traditions of other families, faiths, and cultures occurring in the absence of our ability to gather? What symbolism makes this tradition so important? I realized that every ornament hanging on our tree was given by a friend or bought for a family member. The tree IS the gathering. I hope that you have something precious in your traditions to represent those who usually gather with you over the holidays and that you will take the time to hold them in your heart and celebrate your health with quiet reflection during a time like no other.

Happy holidays.

The best part about working from home includes these two festive-looking assistants. They aren't very good at getting me coffee or taking notes during calls, but they make me happy!

I made a delicious decaf mocha this morning after being inspired by the lovely image in the VIUDigest of a whipped cream drink that looked warm and yummy. It also reminded me of the many Hallmark holiday movies I’ve been watching lately that I used to skip over. They are terribly formulaic, but they’ve been a comfort during these crazy times. I also enclose a photo of some bits and bobs I have on my at-home-work-desk that I took from my VIU office desk to remind me of my work family and friends. I’m fortunate to have a home office with a door I can shut to keep work away from personal time, but knowing I have a connection to the outside world when I’m in my office alone is reassuring and helps me enjoy my days a little more.

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season regardless of how many people are in your physical space. We are all in this together.

Happy holidays to all my colleagues at VIU! I hope that the seasonal break brings you a measure of peace and rest after a challenging 2020. Last week our family did our annual pilgrimage to Gogos to cut down a tree, or as our 14-year-old Eva called it the ‘massacring of the defenseless tree so we can hang bobbles on its carcass’. The photos are the pre- and post-massacre. One of our other traditions is to go for a hike along the ocean on Christmas Day and then send a family pic to our extended family back east, reminding them of what West Coast winters are like. The third pic is our selfie from last Christmas. While this coming holiday will be different than any other we have experienced, I look forward to the time with my bubble and wish you and yours the very best. 

This year more than ever, I am looking forward to stepping back from the frenetic pace and enjoying the little moments together as a family. We will be spending our break playing board games, reading by the fire, baking treats, hopefully cheering on Canada for the World Juniors and most important of all - creating family memories. 

From my family to yours, we wish everyone a very restful, relaxing, and happy holidays.

Litchfield Family

William, Joani, Oliver, Patrick, and Morgan

Santa sent a magical photo to the Winks kids this year, which was particularly special given they haven't been able to visit him. Happy holidays to each and every one of you in our VIU community. This crazy year is almost over with hope on the horizon for a different 2021. May you have a rejuvenating time off with some fun, good food and good company in whatever form that may take. Best wishes for 2021!  

As a Scandinavian, I grew up with tales of the mythological creature named Tomte. A little person, no bigger than half the size of a regular human who was sometimes mischievous, was known to protect the farmer and his family and the animals, and who also brought presents through the front door of a home on Christmas Eve. Tomte along with a Yule goat, made of straw, always stood on guard in our home near the tree making sure no one stole our presents. I inherited this bedraggled statue from my mother and he happily stands vigil over our stockings and presents now. (The photo is from a big year with all the kids, and their wives or girlfriends, and grampa and his girlfriend home for Christmas).

Long ago in the mid 60s, when my sister and I were little we were given a blow-up Santa and Angel. Every year they were neatly folded, wrapped in tissue and packed into my mother’s big blue steel trunk. When we moved her into a care home many years ago, I found them. Although Santa had been given a band aid to cover a pin prick, they both still held air. Santa has found his way to my sister’s home and the Angel now has a place under our tree. Best of all, they still squeak when you squeeze them.

Even with COVID, this is still my absolute favourite time of the year.  I usually do lots of baking, Christmas cards, Christmas sewing, and decorating. The time with family and friends looks a little different this year, but we have adapted. In fact I have reconnected with some family that I did not see regularly before COVID and now we chat all the time. I also really look forward to weekly FaceTimes with my nephews. :) 

Earlier this year I was gifted some scrap linen and I decided to turn it into Christmas ornaments, they turned out exactly as I envisioned them!  In the next night or two, I will make three more tree ornaments to complete the little set.

Wishing everyone at VIU a restful holiday break with lots of your favourite cookies, movies, board games and beverages of choice. I will be staying at home trying to finish a 1000-piece puzzle with a rum and eggnog, shortbread, four dogs and my husband.

Season’s greetings!

One of my favourite holiday traditions is supporting VIU’s Horticulture and Baking students by buying poinsettias and cookies. They always do an amazing job and part of the fun is sharing the flowers and baking with my family and friends! 

I brought this particular mug home from my Starbucks collection that resides in my office because the colours were “Christmassy”. 

We all likely have fond memories of the holiday season that we cherish. It’s the deep connections with friends and family that make it a special time of year. It’s the lights, the food and the spirit of giving. Even though this is a year like no other we’ve ever experienced, the spirit of the season can still be with us. Perhaps this is the year to create new traditions that will continue to bring meaning to the Holidays. Warmest wishes to all of you for a joyful holiday season!

It is that time of year again, when we reflect and be thankful, and what a year it has been! I believe this past year will make us even stronger in our resolve and prepare us for a brighter 2021. My special wishes to you, the VIU family, and to all those close to you.

For the past 20 years I have sung Handel's Messiah at Christmas - either as part of a choir or at one of the Sing-along Messiah concerts held around the world every December. It's sad not to sing this year but I remember what a favourite conductor of mine once said about the music: "Although it tells the traditional Christmas story it is really about finding light, hope and joy in the darkness and faith for a brighter future." How appropriate! Oh - and the elves have been part of my holidays since I was about six and when my son was young he thought they were real! So these two characters always bring a smile to my face.

Benson and I decided to entertain ourselves at home by dressing up in our favourite festive gear and blasting Christmas tunes. He loves listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. He’s also the best motivation to get out for a lunchtime walk around the neighbourhood. 

Tags: In the Community

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