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  • Happy Holidays from the IMP and DMSC

    Dec 8, 2016 | Posted by: Rhys Mahannah


    As the holidays creep closer – along with the promise of family gatherings, lots of food, and inevitable weight gain – the Island Medical Program and the Division of Medical Sciences would like to thank all those who are, and have been, a part of our outstanding team.

    Staff, faculty, and clinical faculty: you’re the reason these programs thrive each year, that we’re able to train the next generation of physicians and researchers who, like you, contribute to a better, healthier, and happier world. Thank you for all the hard work and dedication.

    We asked our team what they like best about the holiday season, or if they had any special memories to share. They did not disappoint:


    Aleah Ross, Program Support Years 1 – 4

    My favorite part of the holidays? Receiving a warm welcome from my family (pets included) when I go home to Alberta for Christmas each year. I love all of the activities we get to spend time doing together that go along with a white Christmas, especially skating on a local pond just off the river near my childhood home. It helps to work off a few of the many sugar cookies I plan to decorate and indulge in – my favorite every year!

    Kristofer Harder, IMP Class of 2017

    My favourite thing about the holidays with my family is how relaxed it is. We don't typically have an overtly set schedule, or necessarily places to be, or even a defined date. Between me and my two sisters and our work/school commitments, one year we celebrated Christmas on Jan 2nd and it didn't matter.

    Jenn MacMillan, Program Manager Years 1 & 2

    I love our family traditions – Chinese food on Christmas Eve, an eggs benedict breakfast on Christmas morning, napping, and a game of Mad Libs.

    My favorite part of all is decorating our Christmas dinner table and having all of my family together in one place (as it rarely happens with so much busyness in our lives). This year we made our own decorations from recyclables (including used coffee pods), so it truly is a green tree!

    Kurt McBurney, Assistant Teaching Professor

    My favourite part of the holidays has traditionally been the day after Christmas Day. For my family, Christmas Day is when we can all be together; we’ve had Christmas on a lot of different days! But my favourite day is the day after that day when the big meal and the presents are done. This is the day we wake up and eat this big ring my Mum makes (essentially it’s a big cinnamon bun). Then the rest of the day we eat leftovers, watch movies, and play board games; sometimes we even get in a good street hockey game or outside football on those rare occasions we have had deep snow. And of course watching the world juniors and the Spengler Cup have always been part of my holiday tradition.

    Jo-Anne Neustaedter, Program Assistant Years 3 & 4 Central Island

    I love our family time at Christmas. Especially creating new memories and watching my grandchildren grow and how excited they are at this time of year.

    I love snow, and my favorite holiday dish is stuffing with bacon. My favorite holiday memory was a Christmas in Banff a couple of years ago – it was an amazing time. We took the kids on a sleigh ride, then to the hot springs.

    I love everything about the holidays. My mother passed away on Christmas Eve, so we take this day to celebrate the amazing mom and nana she was. She is my reason for the love of Christmas.

    Lianne Peterson, Administrative Director

    I received a life-sized doll from Santa when I was four years old. I loved her much more than my baby sister. My doll went everywhere with me – she was the sister I really wanted, so I was happy that Santa listened. This doll helped me get over the disappointment of having a baby sister who was no fun at all.

    Keely Hammond, Class of 2019

    My favourite winter memories in Victoria are outdoor ones. Going cross-country skiing on the beach at Ross Bay (probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience) when I was a high school student and skating on frozen fields (happens every couple of years or so) out by the highway to the ferries are the top two.

    Stephanie Eamergoult, Site Coordinator, IMG, Academic & Faculty Support, Family Practice

    One thing my family and I like to do is go up to Nanaimo to GoGo's Christmas Tree Farm and cut down our Christmas tree. We meet a group of friends up at a Serious Coffee in Nanaimo and then convoy to the farm, coffees in hand. We drive and walk all over to find the “perfect” tree, cut it down, grab some free holly or tree boughs, and then we go back to our friends' place in Nanaimo for nibbles and drinks. It is a great day.

    Lynne Fisher, Program Manager Years 3 & 4

    I really enjoy having a moment to slow down the hectic pace of life and spending time with family and friends. In particular, for me, having a daughter with special needs who is like “Peter Pan” and forever young in mind and spirit, I get the sheer joy of seeing Christmas every year through her eyes and the anticipation and excitement it brings, so I’m forever grateful for that.

    Growing up in Winnipeg, I must admit that I do miss the snow at holiday time, but I don’t miss the shoveling! We decorate a lot and really enjoy seeing the kids in our neighborhood stopping by to enjoy the decorations.

    Aldyth Booton, Program Assistant Years 3 & 4, UBC Postgraduate Family Residency Program

    I love that my parents and our children always come to our home in Campbell River for Christmas. We’ve only missed having the whole family together once. And, weather permitting, we try to get out for a day in the woods (hiking, sledding, target practice, campfire and great food).

    My favorite Christmas treat is homemade shortbread. My paternal great grandmother had a bakery in a small town in Scotland and brought their recipe with them to Canada. It has been handed down as a traditional Christmas treat in our family ever since. I make huge batches every year for family and friends. It wouldn’t seem like Christmas without it.

    Karen Basi-Primeau, Patient Programs Coordinator

    I think for me, the traditions/values I have instilled with my daughters is that the holidays are about spending time with family and friends, preparing and sharing food, and doing at least an outing together without any drama!

    We pick a fun movie out in the theatres and then go to see the gingerbread houses at Laurel Point. 

    The holidays are also about drinking mulled apple cider and hot chocolate – made with real chocolate, of course!


    Happy holidays, everyone, and may your celebrations be relaxing, safe, and enjoyable!