A lot of people assume that because I am Jewish, Christmas may not be a special time of year for me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being born in England, where they do Christmas well, I have always celebrated Christmas.
Christmas is also a special time for my children who have grown up with both latkes and decorated trees at Christmas. (When a young Claire filled out her application for Crofton House School, she was required to fill in her religion. Not sure what to write she wrote "half Jewish-half normal".)
Like most people, I regard Christmas as a religious festival, but one with corporate overtones. Over the years, I have enjoyed regularly designing and sending out Christmas Cards as a way of keeping in touch with friends and colleagues.
In the late eighties, after the failure of our proposal to rezone the Spetifore Lands, I somehow got the idea of creating a card out of the newspaper headlines.
I was subsequently retained by Tanabe, the Japanese company that purchased 1000 acres along the Sea-to-Sky highway, to prepare plans and obtain approvals for what what would become the Furry Creek community. That year's card featured the first three holes of the golf course layout, and an appropriate message inside:
The following year, the card featured yet another project, Langara Gardens. Having successfully rezoned the property in the late eighties, we were unable to get approval for another three towers. Sitting in the dentist's chair that year, I heard the song "Santa Claus is coming to town". This gave me the idea for that year's card, which even was featured in the Vancouver Province and Courier.
I did have to point out, of course, that NIMBY's would not likely be able to stop the 600,000 people moving to the Lower Mainland over the next 10 years, "so you better watch out!"
Subsequent cards rezoned City Hall for a Santa's Workshop...celebrated Clinton's efforts to create peace in the Middle East...And one year when we were late, even tried to help friends and colleagues keep track of New Year's Resolutions. ( I have often thought, if you make a mistake, at least make a feature of it!)
In 1997, I had a few requests from Santa, some of which have now come true, and some of which still haven't...Merry Christmas!
After 7 years at SFU and an around-the-world Sabbatical in 2007 I returned to Vancouver in 2008 and ran for City Council (unsuccessfully!) That year, my Christmas card features photos from the campaign.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.