Photo collage of SHN Superstars

Dear SHN Superstars: How Do You Spend the Holidays?

This winter will be different for many of us this year, but there is still a lot to celebrate! We asked a few of our SHN Superstars to share how they’re enjoying this special time of year.

 

 

Photo of Ilan FischlerDr. Ilan Fischler, Corporate Chief & Medical Director, Psychiatry

Do you celebrate a holiday in December? 

I celebrate a bit of Hanukkah and a bit of Christmas.

What is your most cherished tradition?

My most cherished traditions are eating sufganiyot (jelly donuts) from Harbord Bakery for Hanukkah, and having Chinese food for Christmas Eve dinner.

With Toronto under lockdown, how will this holiday season look different for you?

On the first night of Hanukkah, we had a Zoom Hanukkah dinner with my parents and my brother’s family. My parents made latkes and bought some sufganiyot and dropped them off on our front step before the dinner. For Christmas, we will likely order delivery from Lai Wah Heen.

What is your favourite winter comfort food or winter activity?

Downhill skiing!

Do you have a message you’d like to share with the Scarborough community?

Try to find ways to find fun and joy in your everyday life. One of my family’s new COVID discoveries is having a virtual “music festival” where we watch YouTube concerts, eat snacks, and dance around the house together.

 

Photo of Jackie Miller

Jacqueline Miller, Social Worker

Do you celebrate a holiday in December?

My family and I celebrate Chanukah.

What is your most cherished tradition?

My most cherished tradition is lighting the menorah (the candles) each night with my husband and children.

With Toronto under lockdown, how will this holiday season look different for you?

It looked different as we typically get together with our extended family – up to 40 people to celebrate Chanukah together. This year we celebrated the first night of Chanukah all together via Zoom. Due to the travel restrictions, we are not taking our annual family vacation to a sunny destination.

What is your favourite winter comfort food or winter activity?

I really enjoy going to the rink to watch my son play hockey and taking a walk after a new snowfall with my dog.

Do you have a message you’d like to share with the Scarborough community?

Thank you to the Scarborough community! The support that they have shown all of us at SHN is greatly appreciated. Please continue to be diligent to ensure that everyone stays safe.  To all the staff at SHN, my thanks and gratitude for going above and beyond to ensure that our patients continue to receive the care that they need. May this holiday season and the new year bring health and happiness.

 

Photo of Jasmine Karim

Jasmine Karim, Registered Practical Nurse

Do you celebrate a holiday in December?

I do not celebrate a holiday in December. I am a Shia Ismaili Muslim; we do not celebrate the popular holidays such as Christmas but depending on the household, a tree and other decorations are still used. My family and I just started putting up a Christmas tree within the past two to three years. As far as gifts, my parents’ brothers and I sometimes partake in gift-giving, but not every year; it was more recently that we started.

With Toronto under lockdown, how will this holiday season look different for you?

With the lockdown not much will change for me. I tend to work every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I prefer to work holidays –  since it’s not seen as a religious holiday, I’d rather work than have others who celebrate the day, have to come to work. I usually do a 12-hour day shift, come home from work and, after getting settled my family, I open gifts. Often we would see close family but this year we have opted not to do this and to keep any festivities within our household as both my brother and I work as nurses.

What is your favourite winter comfort food or winter activity?

I’ve never been very excited for the holiday season because growing up, Christmas was never something that was celebrated at home. After years of not celebrating it’s become almost normal to not do much on Christmas or other December holidays. My boyfriend’s family involves me in their festivities since the holidays are all about togetherness. I do enjoy looking at the lights and Christmas decorations and one day I hope to light up my house as well. This year with COVID-19 happening, I’ve opted for drive-thru light festivals, which are very cute and festive.

Do you have a message you’d like to share with the Scarborough community?

Check-in on your loved ones. Although the holidays are seen as a happy and joyous time, not everyone shares the same feelings. This year, many individuals may be celebrating with fewer people or not celebrating at all. A phone call, letter, or text message can go a long way for those who are not in the best headspace during this time. In addition, stay home and stay safe. Try to keep gatherings very small with only those in your household. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep wearing your mask and washing your hands!

 

Photo of Jemini Abraham

Jemini Abraham, Manager, Stroke Program

Do you celebrate a holiday in December?

Yes, I celebrate Christmas. It’s a very important time for my family. I have a very big family and I usually host a Christmas dinner with over 30 people every year. We make a turkey dinner with the traditional sides.

With Toronto under lockdown, how will this holiday season look different for you?

It will be just as special, but I’ll be having dinner with just my husband and children. It’s a much smaller group, but we will still have turkey dinner! Christmas without turkey just isn’t the same! Our children are also doing a Secret Santa this year. To make things easier and avoid shopping, they’ll be doing it with gift cards, so that it can still be used well after Christmas!

What is your favourite winter comfort food or winter activity?

I make turkey noodle soup the day after Christmas with the leftovers from dinner. It’s just so rich and my entire family loves it. That, and enjoying cheesecake sitting in front of the fireplace!

Do you have a message you’d like to share with the Scarborough community?

The only way to get through this is to be optimistic and festive! Stay safe ALWAYS! Celebrate whatever way you can. Give a gift, make a card, or say an encouraging word or a prayer and you’ll feel happy too. Spread happiness to get happiness! God bless us all!