My 2020 Christmas Season Adventure

I did it.

That first weekend of December for me is always a busy one, but this year’s edition was a mega challenge.
However, as you can see by this blog, I’m still here.
The cause of my early-December holiday stress overload was stepping up to help the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce pull off a Julebord. Normally, we’d all gather at the Seattle Golf Club for a festive holiday meal, I’d get up and do my goofball stuff, sing a silly song, and exorcise my extrovert demons.

However, as you know, it’s 2020 when we have no concept of what ‘normal’ is like. So, when the organization decided to try and put on a virtual Julebord. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that!” and I found myself into one of the biggest media projects I’ve ever taken on.

I love challenges. My daily routine is pretty much a reflection of that. I seriously pack way too much into every day, and when Monday rolls around, I wonder how the heck I’m going to get it all done. Yet, by Thursday, the bulk of those projects are done and Friday becomes a loosey-goosey play day. Or, could be. I usually use it to wedge in even more projects or to get a jump on next week’s over-commitments.

There were three major segments to the NACC Seattle virtual Julebord broadcast.

First, there was the pre-event countdown. A collection of songs and greetings along with a countdown clock so that people could find the NACC YouTube channel and know they were in the right place. The result was something you could actually put on in the background to enjoy the various performances. It includes songs by the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle, a duet named Kari & Daniel, local musician Lyle Ronglien and my brother-in-law, Kris Templin. (who is a regular performer at the in-person celebration) Plus, there’s a bunch of beautiful Norwegian scenery to enjoy. Here’s that first segment for your spare time viewing.

The next item was the really complicated one–the main program. There were multiple parts that needed to be recorded and collected, intros to the various segments to be produced and, of course, my contribution–writing a monologue and a traditional silly song to inject into the celebration.

I received video greetings from each of the NACC board members, as well as Norway’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the local Honorary Consul. The NACC president needed to do multiple segments. Kris needed to record his “O Holy Night” and then lip-sync for the video. We had to go to the home of the NACC Person of the Year and surprise him with an award, Publisher’s Clearinghouse style, and THEN, I needed to put all those pieces together.

There is no way I put in less than 40 hours on this effort, but it was all done with a passion to make it shine. I look at how perfectly it turned out in spite of all the things that could have gone wrong, and I couldn’t help but realize that my lifetime of experiences (including the failures) all came into play into making this happen.

With that said, here’s how the main program came out.

And, of course, I could have stopped there. But not me.

I added one more section to the project on my own–a Julebord “After Party.” Knowing that alcohol would be consumed during the event, when it wrapped, I was betting that people would be up for some of my comedy and things that I find funny. Maybe toss in some memories from Christmas’s long ago. And dig out some holiday home movies of that time we had Stan Boreson join the KLSY Morning Show for “the World’s Shortest Christmas Parade” in Bothell.

Something just for the fun of it. Set aside 20 minutes for this collection.

Yep, I did it.

I remember an earlier virtual event this year that we watched that turned into a major disaster. People couldn’t get in or on camera. As I worked on Julebord 2020, I was determined this sucker was going to be perfect.

Because we were drawing the door prizes the night before, that meant I couldn’t finalize the broadcast until a dozen hours before it was supposed to be broadcast to the world. I don’t know how much you know about video editing, but a video has to “render” which takes a long, long, long time. I had three lengthy pieces to render, and then I had to render all three of those together. By the time I rendered the entire program it was Friday morning at 2am. Then, I had to upload it to the NACC Seattle YouTube channel and set it to broadcast at 3:30pm.

Oh yeah, and to work in a little sleep.

Yet, it just all worked. I couldn’t wait for launch time to get here, because once it did and the broadcast had begun, I could relax. Frankly, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle for me. We had 160+ viewers on Youtube, with a couple of dozen mores watching it through our Zoom feed of the event. Even so, that’s 160 logins plus a couple of people at each site, from Seattle to Norway, enjoy a virtual Julebord. A safe guess would be that 300 people have enjoyed the broadcast, double the normal audience at the live event.

I’m going to apologize now to my grandkids and great grandkids for the multiple times I’ll probably retell this story in my fledgling years. But here’s a tip: Just don’t get me started by saying, “Tell us again about the great Julebord adventure of 2020.”

Now you know how my December started. From here, the holiday season this year is going to be really easy.

Eggnog time.

Tim Hunter

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