2014 ECCT Christmas lunch
To start off festivities, guests enjoyed warm mulled wine, accompanied by gingerbread cookies. Mulled wine is red wine combined with spices and served warm. It is a popular Christmas favourite in many parts of Europe. In Scandinavia it is called glögg while in Germany and Austria it is known as glühwein.
At the start of the lunch, the ECCT's board and secretariat came on stage to thank outgoing ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo (from 2013-2014) for his outstanding performance and dedication to the ECCT. Izzo stepped down after serving a maximum of two consecutive years as chairman. He was presented with a special commemorative plaque by the board and flowers by ECCT staff. In his remarks before handing over the plaque, ECCT CEO Freddie Hoeglund noted that the chairman of the ECCT serves as the representative of the chamber's members as well as its ambassador to the outside world. He pointed out that while the chairman of the ECCT is a voluntary position, it is almost like a full time job and that Chairman Izzo had gone beyond the call of duty. Besides attending numerous conferences, seminars and events arranged by the chamber, the government and other institutions, Chairman Izzo gave up his person vacation time to go on several overseas trips on behalf of the chamber.
After the presentation, the chairman and CEO got into the spirit of Christmas by pulling Christmas crackers, popular in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries as part of Christmas celebrations. After the formalities, guests tucked into a traditional Christmas lunch, featuring roast turkey and stuffing, a favourite in the UK.
As has become tradition, the CEO of the Taipei European School (TES) was invited to say a few words. In his remarks TES CEO Allan Weston spoke about the importance of TES to the international community in Taiwan and what he described as the symbiotic relationship between the school and the ECCT and its members. He also thanked the ECCT for its part in helping to secure land for the school's expansion, which has become necessary given the rise in demand for places at TES. After his brief remarks, Dr Weston proceeded to introduce the TES junior choir. Besides angelic singing, many of the students demonstrated their skills by playing musical instruments, such as harps and drums.
Before the children left the stage, Santa Claus, who bore a striking resemblance to ECCT Supervisor Nathan Kaiser, made a dramatic grand entrance carrying a bag loaded with gifts, which he proceeded to hand out to excited children. After this Santa gave a presentation of photos showing what ECCT members had been up to over the course of the year. He then called up one guest from each table to join him on stage to act as ECCT Christmas ambassadors and sing some Christmas songs accompanied by dance moves. The ambassadors were rewarded with gifts from Santa. But no one at the party left empty-handed because afterwards Santa's helpers proceeded to hand out gifts to all the guests.