Eduvation Blog

2013 Holiday Greeting Videos

As Canada Post plans to scale back its home delivery of traditional paper mail, it looks like many Canadian colleges and universities are continuing the shift from traditional paper greeting cards toward online video greetings for the December holidays – whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice, or even Festivus. Ever politically correct, most public institutions simply wish their stakeholders “Happy Holidays,” or perhaps “Safe and Happy Holidays,” although the Christian federated or affiliated colleges often still use the “C” word.

I’m assembling the video greeting cards I encounter from Canadian colleges and universities into a Youtube playlist (let me know if I missed one!) but as my own Christmas gift to you, this blog discusses some of the common themes and outstanding examples of this year’s crop.


Typical Greeting Cards

The most common format of holiday greeting videos in recent years is simply an animated card – jingling bells, nondescript but vaguely Christmasy music, plenty of snow, perhaps a forest or an image of campus, and animated script wishing holiday peace and joy.

Centennial College spices up the recipe a little, by adding the request “that you please take time to lend a helping hand to those most in need.”

Red Deer College’s holiday greeting features a barefoot Santa frolicking on the beach, and 50 festival flamingos to mark RDC’s 50th anniversary.

NSCC’s greeting features images of multiple campuses, under softly falling snow, visited by an ambiguous comet streaking through the sky (Santa? the Star of Bethlehem? or just a graphic embellishment?), and winds up with holiday wishes “from our family of campuses throughout Nova Scotia.”

Royal Roads University has a lovely animated version of their campus (although I rather doubt they get nearly enough snow to build a snowman most winters in Victoria!).

There are a dozen other examples of these sorts of greeting videos on my Youtube playlist.


Fireside Wishes

The other most traditional approach to video greetings is a warm wish for the holidays from the institution’s president, on behalf of the board and administration.

This is the approach taken by Collège Boréal, although President Pierre Riopel has a nice moment at the end of his message when he blows a handful of artificial snow at the camera.

Simon Fraser University’s holiday greeting video features President Andrew Petter, who starts with some of the highlights of the year 2013, in a holiday greeting directed at donors.


Participatory Videos

Many campus communications offices have experience gathering sound bites from people on campus, and weaving them together into newscasts, promotional videos, or podcasts.  Several institutions have created much more engaging greeting videos by including a variety of voices, usually in diverse languages, often with a snowy backdrop, with fast-paced edits and appropriate background music. Typically these collections begin or end with a word from the campus president and/or board chair.

McGill University’s holiday greeting video is a multilingual greeting reflecting the international origins of 9,000 students from 150 countries, literally waving the flags of their respective countries.

Georgian College asked its students and staff “What’s your Holiday Wish?” and gathered answers like “a puppy,” “a car,” “to pass all my exams,” and “a box of motivation.”

King’s University College asked dozens of staff and students to share how they celebrate the holidays, with much of the video shot outdoors in some serious snow. The variety of voices, interspersed with bloopers, Christmas wishes, favourite holiday activities, and even Festivus greetings, keeps the pace moving despite the length of the video.

Vancouver Island University’s video features sports teams, students, and faculty wishing “Happy Holidays” in a wide range of languages, including first nations and international languages.

Dalhousie University’s greeting video includes behind the scenes shots, and plenty of staff and students wishing holiday greetings in their native languages.

Huron University College does a lovely rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” even though many of the “singers” are in different keys, or simply speak their lines. Many scenes are stolen by pet dogs and cats, who apparently were enlisted to participate as well.  (If you’re in a hurry, the final verse starts at about 2:46.) My favourite section of the video is the bloopers, which start at 3:15 – there’s nothing like animal bloopers to liven up a Christmas video!


Holiday Stunts

It’s not the WestJet Miracle (with 29 million views!), but once a month, Trinity Western University treats its campus commuters to “Timbits, hot drinks and smiles” as they drive onto campus.  In December, volunteers wore antlers, Santa hats, or full-blown costumes of Santa and Mrs Claus, and the one-minute video captures the morning feel-good. The video ends with the greeting, “Merry Christmas, Commuter!”

Capilano University’s video greeting features a choir singing softly a cappella and forest images.

Huron University College posted a 3-minute video of the college chapel being decorated for Christmas, set to classical carols.  The college Chaplain talks about the crèche, the Principal shows us his “stall,” and we even witness the preparation of hosts at the altar.


Noteworthy Greeting Videos

One of my favourites (and not simply because it’s my alma mater) is Western’s gingerbread University College. Slick photography, good pacing, pleasant music, and of course plenty of seasonal calories. Very nicely done!

Sheridan College, internationally renowned for the quality of its illustration and animation grads, naturally turned to animation for its video greeting.  It’s a 3.5 minute animated short, “‘Twas the Night before S-Mas,” which builds toward the big reveal, Sheridan’s new “S” logo lit up like a Christmas tree.

In addition to the Gingerbread greeting from Western’s president, the Western Creative Services team created an amusing little video on their own time, inspired by Jack and Jones ads with Christopher Walken.  Relaxing in a wingback chair by the fire, Terry Rice snips an elaborate paper snowflake using nothing but his fingers.


On behalf of everyone at Eduvation and Academica Group, I’d like to extend our best wishes to you all, for a peaceful holiday season, and a happy and prosperous new year!

If you spot a new video that missed my deadline, please mention it in the comments below!


  1. Victoria Collins
    December 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Ken — Have you seen Happy Holidays from Memorial University? It’s an animated short with a local twist. Enjoy!

  2. Julie Carl
    December 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Hi Ken! Here is this year’s video from Carleton University’s Office of the VP Research and International featuring our brilliant researchers!

  3. December 18, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Here’s another late addition – the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of the Environment has a video promoting its little-known world-leading, transdisciplinary “Kris Kringle Research Institute for Sustainable Holidays.”

  4. Andrew Baulcomb
    December 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Good morning Ken, Here’s one more holiday video for your list, courtesy of McMaster University. The recipe for the cookies is included in the description!

  5. Brendan O'Connor
    December 18, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Hi Ken, Here is the digital version of Nipissing University’s card. It features a sculpture by Allison Smith and Laurel Gough, Bachelor of Education, Intermediate/Senior students, 2012.  Constructed with organic objects, this ecological piece is located in the inner courtyard of the North Bay Campus. While leaving a favourable impression of the duo’s talent and the quality of the Visual Arts Elective, the artwork is expected to decompose naturally without leaving a lasting imprint on the earth.

  6. Cristina Coraggio
    December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Hi Ken, Here are a couple of videos from Upper Canada College. The first is a general “Jingle Bells” greeting. The second is a storybook — or our version of “a Charlie Brown Christmas” — as a thank-you for those who donated to our annual appeal. Enjoy and all the best for 2014!

  7. Karina Graf
    December 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Ken, Here’s another video for your playlist from the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. Hope you enjoy it!

  8. Kim Lawrence
    December 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Dear Ken, Please enjoy this special snowy greeting from the University of Calgary. Happy Holidays!

  9. Tripti Ninan
    December 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Ken! Check out our “Mohawk Holiday Greeting Card“. The “Mohawk Christmas Music” was recorded by our very own Mohawk Music students and the Behind the Scenes Video was produced by our TV Broadcasting students as well :) Merry Christmas!

  10. Dave McLean
    December 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Hot off the video press, we at Bow Valley College in Calgary, Alberta, also shared a little bit of the Holiday Spirit.

  11. Meagan Suckling
    December 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Season’s Greetings from The Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science at Queen’s University. Please enjoy this special holiday video!

  12. Jodi Salem
    December 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Hi Ken, Happy Holidays! I just saw your blog post about PSE holiday videos and noted that George Brown College’s video is missing from your YouTube playlist.  It must have been lost in your inbox or something. Anyway, I’m sending it along again – just click here to Soar on a Snowflake with us.

  13. David Gauthier
    December 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Ken: I wanted to wish you and yours a happy restful holiday season and prosperous new year. I thought you might be interested in a Holiday Greetings video from St Mary’s University faculty, staff and students.

  14. marie kyrinis
    January 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Hi Ken: Happy New Year! I am sorry I didnt see this post until after the holidays. I think this post was great – all the e-greetings in one place. Thank you.   Humber also created their own holiday greeting sent out late December.  Have a great 2014! Marie

  15. Nancy Nesbitt
    January 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Happy New Year, Ken! Thanks for sharing our Holiday Greeting card :-) Vancouver Community College also posted a Seasons Surprise visit to alumni hard at work during the festive season…

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