A Christmas Wish by Hendrik Varju

December 21, 2009

December 19th

I’m still working away here today and will be right up until sometime on Christmas Eve. But I thought I should get this note out to all of you now in case some of you might be heading off somewhere for Christmas soon. Or some of you might receive my emails at work, so you may be taking a few extra days off next week.

Last Christmas was much more difficult for me. Due to some minor outpatient surgery I needed and a last minute change of the surgery schedule, the only way I was going to complete an important project on time was to work through all of the Christmas holidays. I was only able to take the bare bones statutory holidays off. Well this year, I promised my wife and kids that that wouldn’t happen again. Despite numerous requests from customers to squeeze them in for a course or consultation over the holiday break, I’ve stuck to my word and I plan on being off from Dec. 25th to Jan. 3rd. I don’t think it’s too much to ask given that I work a gruelling 6-day schedule all year round.

So what do I want to do with all that time off? I’ll catch up on some reading. Watch some movies with the kids during the day and with my wife when the kids are asleep. I’ll catch up on a few chores and clear snow out of the driveway without being panicked about how much time I’m losing from my “work schedule”. But most of all, I plan to sit in front of our fire with my family, talking, snacking, drinking hot chocolate. Work on a puzzle together, play some board games and basically just “hang out”. A few dinners out, some time with friends — this is what the holiday season is all about.

I don’t know about you, but as I close out my year in the shop I seem to be thinking more and more of the people I don’t spend enough time with. My wife and I don’t get nearly enough quality time together, notwithstanding that she works part time in the business. My kids are in desperate need of time with their Dad, and I need that time with them just as desperately. My parents live in a retirement home and I don’t get to see them nearly enough either. I’m looking forward to a Christmas party at their home next week, as well as Christmas and a family birthday. And I’ll be getting together with good friends of mine I only see once or twice each year, one of whom was my best friend way back in grade one. The other I’ve known since the first year of high school. It’ll be great to get together with them and have our families reconnect as well.

In short, I would urge you to spend some time this holiday season, and preferably even before, thinking about the people you don’t get to spend enough time with. Maybe it’s your spouse or kids. Maybe a long time friend you haven’t seen in years. Maybe your parents, brothers, sisters, cousins. I am as guilty as anyone of spending far too much time worrying about “paying the bills”, which is not to say that it isn’t important. But at this time of year, family and friends are more important. I hope you can all spare a bit of time rekindling those relationships with those you love. For those of you who do woodworking as a hobby, that could even mean some time in your workshop building something with your brother, sister or child. Anything undertaken together will be worthwhile.

Once again, please think of those who are not fortunate enough to have a warm place to stay or a hot meal to nourish them. Find someone who is not as lucky as you and spread some of your own good fortune around.

All the best to you and your families. And I wish you prosperity and good health for 2010. A big thank you as well to those of you who have supported my business all these years. I hope I have contributed to your enjoyment of the craft.

Best wishes,


Passion for Wood

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