Safe Season’s Greetings: How CREA’s Board of Directors are Celebrating the Holidays

Typically, this time of year is spent sharing food, gifts and merriment with friends and family.

From office holiday parties and Secret Santa gift exchanges with friends to dinner with family, the holidays are usually spent socializing.

So, how do you have a safe festive season while following public health guidelines and precautions relating to COVID-19?

We asked our Board of Directors how they planned to celebrate the holiday season safely this year. Here’s what some of our Directors shared:

Jason Stephen—Past Chair, Saint John, New Brunswick

To me, Christmas is about spending time with family. Though this year will definitely be different, I look forward to watching Elf with our children, relaxing with my wife Heather beside the Christmas tree in our favourite room, feasting on fresh lobster on Christmas Eve, watching our children unwrap “just one” present (always new Christmas pajamas), cooking breakfast on Christmas morning and gathering with just our immediate family for turkey dinner.  

As a family, we’ve tried to support local business and will continue to do so as we shop for family and friends!  

New Years Eve has always been a time of celebration at our home, where friends and their families have gathered for plenty of food, laughs and cheer. This year will be a small gathering, but we’ll celebrate the end of this year and toast to new beginnings in 2021! I’m sure Zoom and FaceTime will be part of our New Year greetings for friends and family!

Phil Moore—Director-at-Large, Vancouver, British Columbia 

I’m excited a non-profit society I helped found called, Camp Choice B.C., was just accepted as a registered Canadian charity. Now I can fundraise for our youth at risk camp as well as our youth scholarships (and this year our donors can get a charitable receipt).

As for Christmas, we’ll be staying local and having small gatherings with my three children and five grandchildren. 

Larry Cerqua—Regional Director, Ontario (Toronto)

I honestly don’t feel like this year is going to have the same vibe at Christmas and during the whole holiday season in general.

Personally, I hope we can have a small group of family members for a small dinner and share some cheer considering what this year has been like.

What I wish for, is there will be some kind of venue for the children to enjoy over the holidays because it’s a magical time of year and they need to have some fun and be able to celebrate this very special time no matter how people celebrate their holidays or faith.

Most of us are just happy to still have a roof over our heads and food on the table and maybe it’s a good time to be thankful for what you have and reflect on just how lucky we are considering this crazy time. So, be happy and stop sweating over the petty stuff or putting unnecessary pressure to be perfect. Why not maybe just try to be just a little more patient and kinder to strangers who may not be so lucky.

Kimberly French—Regional Director, Atlantic (St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador)

I’ll miss the hustle and bustle of the season this year. The sounds of the Christmas music while shopping, casually running into friends at the mall, the unexpected visits and entertaining family and friends.

While it may look different this year, I know the importance of keeping in touch and plan to do as much physically distanced “socializing” as possible.

I’ll be shopping locally and with businesses that give a portion of their profits to charity and wildlife conservation around the world as much as I can.

Also, I’ll be putting more thought into my gifts instead of giving for the sake of giving. For example, my father is almost 90 and still living in his own home (with some support, of course). So, his gift this year will help with his independence and mobility.

For others, if a monetary gift is the best option, then I will do that too. Being chair of CREA’s REALTORS Care® Committee has opened my eyes to the issue of homelessness in Canada and I’ll continue to support projects that help with this.  I wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

James Mabey—Director-at-Large, Edmonton, Alberta

My watchword for 2020 is “optimism.”

That being said, I have ordered a 20 lbs turkey from the Hutterite Colony up the highway from our cottage in the high hopes my family can still be together!

However, the Mabeys have crafted a highly adaptable plan to each prepare different dishes and do our own “door dash” style potluck if needs be (trying to avoid getting run over by any reindeer en route, of course). 

For the first time in years I find myself with a very clear calendar for the festive season and if I can’t spend time in person with my parents, sisters, nieces and nephews then I plan to “gift” some quality time spent in the kitchen. Norwegian holiday treats are traditional to my mother’s family—lefse,  fattigman and, if I feel particularly bold, perhaps rosettes. Wish me luck! 

Steven Bobiash—Regional Director, Saskatchewan

I’m sure this Christmas is going to be different for all of us. I will certainly miss being able to socialize with family and friends. We’ll plan some virtual get-togethers, but of course that pales when compared to sharing a hug and a meal. Growing up in a Ukrainian-Canadian home, our celebration centres on Christmas Eve—usually at one of my brothers’ houses—sharing most of the traditional 12 Ukrainian dishes and gifts. Shawna and I usually go out to a movie on Christmas Day and we’re excited that the new Wonder Woman movie will livestream on the December 25! We’ll miss hosting brunch for friends and family on Boxing Day as we have for the last eight years. From both of us, please keep safe and well.  All the best to you and your family for 2021!  

However you plan to spend the next few weeks, we hope you do so safely. Tell us what your plans are in the Comments below.

Note: please make sure your holiday plans follow local COVID-19 regulations. Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 page for the latest information and follow the current recommendations of your local and provincial/territorial public health officials.

To stay in the know, visit our resource page What REALTORS® Should Know About COVID-19 and share our consumer COVID-19 hub with your clients.

Happy holidays!

Sarah Doktor brings her experience as a small-town journalist and national online editor to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Sarah helps facilitate conversations between CREA and our members, boards, associations and the public via our online communities. She also helps coordinate the content presented to you here on the CREA Café. In her spare time, Sarah can be found at the gym, running on a trail or watching Netflix with her cat, Libby.

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