When winter commencement exercises are over each December, I breathe a sigh of relief that we have traversed another successful semester and I turn my attention to other pressing matters . . . such as finishing my Christmas shopping!

It surely is a wonderful time of year. I savor the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends and to reflect about the closing of the Advent season and the impending birth of our Savior. I hear the same from colleagues anxious to “close shop” and head home for the holidays.

This year, Christmas falls on a Thursday, meaning that our official paid holidays are Wednesday (Christmas Eve) and Thursday. When we set the holiday schedule a year ago, we chose to move our New Year’s Eve holiday to Friday, Dec. 26, allowing staff members to be off three weekdays in a row and have a five-day weekend. That also would mean they would be scheduled to work Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 22 and 23.

So . . . how would you like to have that whole week off – Monday, Dec. 22, through Friday, Dec. 26 – without having to take any vacation days?
I rather like the idea myself. In fact, I like it so much that I am in full agreement with a suggestion that we should give staff members two extra days off. Consider it a done deal!

I am grateful for your hard work and extra effort, especially in these more challenging financial times when inflation is running higher than we anticipated, the value of your retirement accounts has declined because of a bear stock market, and we are tightening our belts on institutional expenses. Given those circumstances, a couple of extra days off are indeed in order.

Some employees, including Public Safety officers, Physical Plant workers, IRT server administrators and Food Service workers, will have to work those days because they are classified as “essential” employees and are needed on campus. They will get two extra days off as well, and will need to use them by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

Department heads must notify Human Resources by Dec. 8 if they have essential employees who must work on Dec. 22 and 23. Over the subsequent six months, department heads should notify Human Resources when those employees will take their alternative days off. I want to assure all staff members that they will get two days off, including any part-time or temporary employees whose normal days off are Monday and Tuesday.

During the long holiday break, we will turn down the thermostats in most of our buildings to conserve energy and save a few dollars. Anyone who has to work during Christmas Week may want to wear an extra sweater, but I think the situation will be tolerable.

I know we are a long way from Dec. 25 – actually, we’re still more than a week away from Thanksgiving! – but let me take advantage of this occasion to wish you an early – and a very – Merry Christmas!

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24 Responses

  1. Alexander Ssengendo

    Thank you so much, Father Dease. I aways apreciate your work that you do. Bless you.

  2. Pete, Minneapolis campus

    Although I will be working the entire Christmas week, I will certainly look forward to a extended weekend off at a later date. Thank you very much, Father Dease. What a wonderful gift! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  3. Barb, Alumni Relations

    Thank you so much for this outstanding gift. What a wonderful institution we all work for.

  4. Sister Catherine Cota, Minneapolis campus

    How very thoughtful and generous of you, Father Dease. I especially appreciate your thinking of and including “part-timers!” I didn’t know who to thank for our raise last year but that, too, was ever so suprising and appreciated.
    May you and your family enjoy a Blessed Christmas and New Year.

  5. Mindy, Minneapolis

    Thank you kindly, Father Dease. What a very generous, thoughtful and Christ-filled act.

  6. Elly, Enrollment Services

    Thank you for this gift of time, Father Dease. It is very much appreciated. I will enjoy the extra days with my family. Merry Christmas to you!

  7. Nadine, Alumni Relations

    This is a wonderful gift to not only me, but also to my family. The time will be well spent enjoying this joyous time of the year! Thank you so much.

  8. Pat

    Excellent! What a wonderful surprise and gift! A big thanks from my whole family.

  9. Verlon Lofton, Academic Affairs

    Wow! This is great news! I get to spend the whole week with my new baby girl. Thanks Father Dease, and Merry Christmas to you!!!

  10. Betty, North Oaks

    Thank you so much for your kindness and the extra time! These extra two days might mean my family and I can make the trip to Montana to have Christmas with my side of the family – something we haven’t done in 20 years.

  11. Steven Mukasa, St. Paul

    Thank you so much; this is so awesome! May God bless you on your Christmas holiday. Everyone loves to spend more time with friends and family, so these two days will count a lot.
    I always read the news, but this has impressed me!

  12. Donna, St. Paul

    What a generous and thoughtful act. I really appreciate the extra time. Thank you!

  13. Pamela Nice

    Thank you, Father Dease. This will make my travel home to be with my family in New Orleans so much more relaxed.

  14. Tim, St. Paul

    With my kids coming home for their Christmas break, these two days will give me what I long for all year… extra time with them! Thank you so very much for this very special gift. Merry Christmas!

  15. Jan Becker, Alumni Relations

    Father Dease, thank you for your generosity! Time with my husband and four daughters during this very blessed season is the greatest gift you could ever give me. My family and I wish you and your family a very blessed Advent season and a Christmas filled with joy and peace!

  16. Sandy Prince-Black

    Father Dease, thank you so very much! It is a much-appreciated gift to have extra time to spend with family and friends. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  17. Shiromi Beach

    Many smiles and thank yous from myself and my family in Ohio.

  18. Joann Statsman St. Paul

    Yes, I would absolutely love an two extra days off. What a wonderful, unexpected gift. The gift of “time” is more precious than any other and will be greatly appreciated during this very special and very busy holiday season.
    Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

  19. Julie, St. Paul

    Thank you very much for this news. I am so grateful to have these two additional vacation days. Thank you very much, and Merry Christmas to you.

  20. Pat, University Relations

    Wow! This is awesome! It may mean that I’ll get the caramels wrapped this year; guess I’ll have to drop off some at your office!
    More than ever, we can all use a breather. I hope YOU get these days off, too. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.

  21. Linda, Webster, Minn.

    Thank you VERY much. I really appreciate the extra time off. What a wonderful gift.

  22. Chiara, Registrar's Office

    What a wonderful, thoughtful gift!
    Thank you, thank you, and a Merry Christmas to you!