James M. Berklan

During more than a decade of selling live Christmas trees at a local lot, I learned a lot of things, and not just how to stay warm. 

For one, there’s a suitable tree for virtually everyone, depending on one’s personal taste. Yet there’s a related maxim, as well: No matter what you do, there are almost always a few leftovers when the lot closes a few days before Christmas.

Except this year. 

On Thursday, I drove by the downtown lawn that once sported nearly 500 Fraser and Balsam firs and there were just 10 leaning on the wooden A-frames. TEN. 

This was Dec. 3, mind you, one week after the lot had opened for business and more than three weeks before Christmas. They’ll all be gone by Saturday, for sure.

One theory is the pandemic is keeping more people at home, and they’re buoying spirits with more decorating than ever before. Then there’s also the fact that at least one other tree seller in town didn’t show up this year.

It is just one sign that people are ready to look for good wherever they can, and want to celebrate the joyous — if only they can find a good lead-in to it.

I don’t care if your big year-end thing is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s or Festivus. As a long-term care professional, you have a unique opportunity to celebrate someone you know who is deserving of wider recognition.

Your gift can be recognition and appreciation for a special colleague who makes a difference throughout the year. There’s a good shot she also could be honored on a national stage, if you play your cards right.

The third annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction Awards program opened for nominations this week — and there’s a whole new category that will celebrate a key slice of the workforce. Registration info is here.

Exceptional experience exalted

The new Veteran VIPs division honors long-term care professionals who fit between the Rising Stars and Hall of Honor inductees. This new category will raise up star players who have spent more than 15 years in the business but may never reach the C-Suite or vice presidency equivalent, for whatever reason.

We are talking about the backbone of so many long-term care operations, whether they’re administrators, executive directors, nursing directors, multi-facility masters or other top performers. 

Entries once again are open to skilled nursing and senior living settings personnel.

This is your chance to honor that special someone with a nomination, at a minimum, and possible national recognition on the top end. Our esteemed, independent judging panel once again will determine who gets enshrinement as a Hall of Honor, Veteran VIP or Rising Star inductee.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is a unique celebration devoted to top women leaders in the profession and it will be back bigger and better than ever in 2021. 

We heightened the 2020 celebration by holding an online awards ceremony, where each winner was honored with a personal video montage. Celebrity messages from key Congressional leaders, as well as top players in the industry highlighted the show. In addition, each honoree was profiled individually in McKnight’s newsletters, while print magazine coverage memorialized the events in yet another way.

In 2021, we also will expand upon the highly successful educational forum we added this year. CE-bearing sessions again will feature top speakers, elevating workplace discourse for both men and women leaders.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s your turn to take part, on behalf of a special someone on your list, or even yourself. Nomination information is here, where you’ll also find exciting coverage of past WOD events.

This could be the most touching, appropriate present you give this holiday season. But don’t wait too long to act. While the opportunities won’t sell out, you want to make sure you enter by the Jan. 6, 2021, deadline — the Wednesday after New Year’s Day.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.