Eduvation Blog

2016 Holiday Special – Ten with Ken

As a gesture of seasonal goodwill, we bring you our annual Ten With Ken Holiday Special! This year, we distill the best moments from 76 holiday greeting videos that were published by colleges and universities across Canada in December 2015, and select a few as “Best in Class” for their categories. Please “take twenty” with us, and enjoy!


Last year we rounded up 76 holiday videos from the preceding few years, and shared them in 2 special episodes totaling 40 minutes. If you haven’t already seen them, you might want to watch them first: Part 1 Part 2

Starting with the Basics:

If you’re creating your own holiday greeting video, be sure to animate your logo with snowflakes and sleighbells. (Western and uVic get particularly fancy.) Your task is to convey best wishes on behalf of the campus community, most often featuring the president as spokesperson. (Be warned, though: they will have a tendency to want to combine an annual report with their annual greeting.)

Snow on Campus:

A snowy Canadian winter is a natural, non-denominational symbol of winter break, and so many holiday greeting videos feature footage of campus wrapped in a blanket of snow. Some are idealized illustrations, while others (like Queen’s) portray the realities of winter driving in a blizzard. Perhaps last year was particularly green, since quite a few videos faked the snow – from Royal Roads University in Victoria, to Western University in the snowbelt of southern Ontario. (Western’s video gets Best in Class for this category.)

Involving the Community:

The simplest way to incorporate the many voices on campus is to feature a collage of photographs, either taken throughout the year, or staged using holiday props. Ugly sweaters seem to be growing in popularity, and McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management made them the central theme of their video. More popular is the “Holiday Shout-Out”, a compilation of many staff and students sharing their holiday wishes, often in a range of languages and reflecting a variety of traditions. (Humber College gets Best in Class for this category, although there are plenty of other great examples. Vancouver Island University deserves honorable mention for involving their “Extreme Science” team. uWindsor produced a very slick multilingual video, but Queen’s ultimately got Best in Class for the sheer range of voices and their enthusiasm.)

A variation on the “shout-out” is the “on-the-street Q&A”, and again there are plenty of great examples. Many ask students and staff what the holidays mean to them, or what they are looking forward to about the holidays. Some ask what they want for Xmas, or what they will be doing. StFX has a long tradition of these videos for their athletes, who are always amusing. (Simon Fraser University gets Best in Class for this category, for a polished and energetic video asking staff and students about their gift to the world.)

Student & Alumni Skillz:

Many institutions showcase the skills and talents of their students and alumni in their holiday greetings. Sheridan College has a tradition of animated videos, and Mohawk College of very polished musical greetings. Last year we saw alumni talents featured by Nova Scotia Community College, Emily Carr University, Ryerson University, and Georgian College as well. (We awarded Mohawk Best in Class for their musical videos, and even behind-the-scenes video.) Special mention goes to Mount St Vincent University’s recruiters, who clowned around while demonstrating their gift-wrapping skills.

Campus Events:

We saw tree-trimming parties at King’s University College and Cape Breton University, among others, but the University of Victoria took it to a new level with their best-in-class approach to symbolic ornaments and student sound bytes. A close runner-up was George Brown College, which created a strong example as well. Humber College produced a second video showing students taking selfies and enjoying hot chocolate at an ice-sculpting event. Santa Claus made an appearance at Douglas College, posing for photos with all the good little girls and boys. At Niagara College, gifts were delivered by Basil, the greenhouse cat.

Feel-Good Videos:

Brock University emulated the “Westjet Miracle” videos, thanks a team of elves who helpfully staked out a plum parking spot for one fortunate student. A staffer named Lori played Secret Santa at Durham College, while York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering tackled intergenerational peace and understanding with a defense of Millennials. The University of New Brunswick created an emotional thank-you from scholarship recipients to donors. But our favourite in this category was a wordless music video from the University of Lethbridge, featuring gorgeous cinematography and Tyrone Wells’ song “Christmas at Home.” (Unfortunately UofL has just recently deleted their upload.)


Some institutions promote professional, accomplished singers of Christmas Carols, while many publish videos of enthusiastic amateurs. Some try to stay in key, while others focus on having fun. NSCC shared a sign language caroling performance. The University of Waterloo Faculty of the Environment rewrote “Winter Wonderland” with a “green” focus.

Humour & Parody:

Algoma University staff participated in a collective reading of “The Grinch”. Bow Valley College “put a bow on it.” Fleming College produced their own version of Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes.” Red Deer College parodied “The Night Before Christmas.” Definitely Best in Class for the parody category, however, was a version of the “12 Days of Christmas” by the Film & Video students at College of the North Atlantic. (Of course I can’t resist including the University of Michigan Engineering School’s Star Wars parody, “The Holiday Jedi Rap.” Dean “Obiwan Munson” clearly has a great sense of humour.)

You can watch the original, unedited versions of these holiday videos in our 2015 Holiday Videos playlist

On behalf of everyone here at Eduvation, and from my family to yours, I want to wish you a truly peaceful holiday season, and a happy and prosperous 2017!

We’re already assembling a YouTube playlist of 2016 holiday videos, so please add yours here (We’ll summarize them for next year’s holiday special.)

In the next few episodes, we’re going to look back at the year 2016 in review, the major news stories, brand launches and marketing campaigns. To be sure you don’t miss them, take a moment now to subscribe on YouTube, itunes, or by email. Subscribers to my free email newsletter will get exclusive early access to upcoming episodes, the week before the general public.


  1. Adam Trinh
    December 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Ken,

    I wanted to get a jump on next year’s list with our 2016 holiday video. This year, we at Bow Valley College created a microsite to accompany the video at

    Let me know your thoughts.


    • December 16, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Adam, it’s already in our 2016 collection here. And I thought the certificate generator was a neat idea — I shared my certificate in Gift Guessing on Facebook a couple of days ago. Thanks for writing!

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