Hi UNAVSA family! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! My name is Vanessa Nguyen, also known as Mama Reindeer to some, and I’m here to take over the UNAVSA blog for a special Christmas Holiday edition.

At UNAVSA-11 this summer, my Reindeer family and I brought “Christmas in July” to Dallas, and I am thrilled to be back as a guest blogger and continue to share Christmas Cheer with you all this holiday season!


I hope the holidays were a festive and memorable time for everyone! It certainly was for me! It’s been an especially cold winter in Montreal but seeing friends and family always warms my heart. I was particularly excited about this holiday season because UNAVSA held its very first Secret Santa! UNAVSA family from all over the United States and Canada participated and throughout December, Christmas cards and packages were exchanged, and holiday cheer was spread throughout all the North American VSA families.

As Christmas Day approached, I saw lots of posts and pictures of people happily opening their UNAVSA Secret Santa gifts and I loved seeing all the joy that these gestures brought to everyone. Since Christmas is a time of joy, reflection and sharing with our loved ones, it was incredibly heart warming to see so many people participate, and like the family we are, all come together to celebrate Christmas, even from thousands of miles apart.

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These moments and memories are so dear to me because UNAVSA holds such a special place in my heart. UNAVSA has been like an incredibly large and ever-growing international family. Although the physical distance that exists between you can seem so great, what’s truly greater is the never-ending support and the care that still exists between each and every UNAVSA member.

This holiday season, I truly felt the warmth and love from the UNAVSA community that reminded me that UNAVSA really is a family that will always continue to cherish and celebrate one another. I very much look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring to us all!

As the holidays come to an end and we start to ring into the New Year, I want to wish you all the best and I hope that it brings you all lots of happiness, love and laughter and that we all reunite again soon this summer in Seattle!

With lots of warm hugs from Canada!
– Vanessa Nguyen aka Mama Reindeer