Hope for the holidays

Around this time of year, many of us take up holiday traditions—little things we do to celebrate the season and feel connected to our family and friends.

Mine is listening to Christmas music.

It drives my family crazy, but I start playing Christmas songs as soon as I can and listen to them well into the new year—long after most families have tucked away their trees and taken down their holiday lights.

One song I always listen to this time of year is “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Originally recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943, it was written from the perspective of a soldier stationed overseas during World War II, longing to be home for the holidays. To me, its melancholy lyrics are as meaningful today as they were in 1943:

Christmas Eve will find me

Where the love light gleams

I'll be home for Christmas

If only in my dreams

The holidays are a difficult time for many of us. As I look forward to the new memories to be made and the new faces around our Christmas tree, I also remember, with sadness, those who will not be here. Some of us will be spending this season grieving loved ones or worrying about how we will put a meal on the table and presents under a tree.

But, amid these difficulties, the holidays are also a time for hope.

That’s why I keep coming back to this song. Its lyrics, though sad, are ultimately hopeful. No matter how bleak things may seem, the soldier continues to hope that he can spend the holidays reunited with his family. He will be home for Christmas.

As union members, we are driven by this same hope. We have hope in our fellow workers, members, and allies across the labour movement. We have hope that things can—and will—get better if we work together.

The past year may have had challenges, but when I look at everything we’ve accomplished as a union, I am filled with tremendous hope for 2024. Our members have gone above and beyond this year to move the union forward, and I will do everything I can to support this momentum into the new year.

As the year draws to a close, I hope that each of you will have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. I hope you can share some kindness with those who need it. I hope you can listen to a holiday song (or two).

And I hope you know you are part of a union working together to build a better, brighter future.


Wishing you a happy holiday and all the best in the new year.

Tracey Sauer (she/her)

SGEU President


P.S. If you're looking for some music to get you in the holiday spirit, here is a playlist featuring some of my favourite seasonal songs—including a couple of newer favourites and some that played on repeat in our house when I was a child. Happy listening!