People of Georgian: Dopey the real star of student recruiter’s Christmas tree
December 23, 2020

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People of Georgian: Meet Kailey Hawkins

I would call myself a fairly sentimental person.

I attach value to items, which others may not think of being worth much, because of a memory or feeling attached to them.

It doesn’t matter what the item is – big or small, expensive or not. For me, if it has a positive enough memory associated with it then it almost takes on a life of its own and the memory becomes part of the item.

I’ve always been this way. I like tradition, I like ritual, and I like using sentimental items to try to recreate those feelings sometimes, especially during the winter holidays.

Decorating the tree was Kailey’s ‘job’

There is a lot of sentiment at this time of year for me. So many of my Christmases were spent up north with family and extended family, and it was my “job” for years to set up the Christmas tree for my grandmother and aunt.

I took great care in hanging each ornament on the little tree because each had a story, but none so much as this raggedy old puppet, Dopey.

An original toy from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this little puppet was gifted to my Aunt Della when she was a little girl and became a treasured artifact for years after Della grew up.

Ornaments on a tree.

For whatever reason, it was decided that he should live on the Christmas tree each year, so for as long as I can remember, Dopey was on our family tree.

He is weathered and old, sometimes needs repairs and isn’t really a “festive” thing, but he had a place of honour on the tree, year after year.

Two people sit on the same side of a diner booth and smile at the camera.

Della and I were very close.

She passed away last year, and I was gifted Dopey to now live on my tree.

When I place him in his spot on the branches I can feel the magic of Christmases gone by and the love of family surrounding me, which is what the holiday season is all about for me.

Kailey Hawkins, alumna of Georgian’s Human Resource Management program (Class of 2008) and a Student Recruitment Specialist at Georgian College.

An adult and a child stand next to each other and smile at the camera.

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