Perhaps the biggest expression of appreciation in last Friday’s “Thank Beyond the Possible” event was President Barbara R. Snyder’s announcement that, going forward, the university would add paid days off between Christmas and New Year’s to give staff a work-free holiday week.

But thanks to a raffle drawing that included gift baskets, an Instant Pot, Amazon Echo Dots and clothing with Case Western Reserve’s logo, 30 employees took home still more tokens of gratitude.

Among the most prized items? Two pairs of airline ticket vouchers from Campus Services.

Peantay Bealer from Custodial Services and Grace Vibbert from the School of Dental Medicine each won the opportunity to fly for free on eligible United Airlines flights within the Continental U.S., and including Alaska, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico.

The entire “Thank Beyond the Possible” event stemmed in part from the overwhelmingly positive staff response to President Snyder’s decision last year to give staff Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 as paid days off; with the existing university holidays on Dec. 25, 26, and 29, the move meant employees could enjoy an uninterrupted full week with family and/or friends. After dozens of people contacted the president and Vice President for Human Resources Carolyn Gregory to describe how much the move meant to them, Snyder asked Gregory to study the implications of making the change permanent.

That said, the December days do come with a caveat: For those employees whose responsibilities required that they work at least part of that last week in December—for example, police officers, facilities staff, and those involved in an ongoing research experiment—they and their supervisors will work together to arrange alternate days off at another time; if the supervisor and staff person cannot come to a mutually agreeable arrangement, the Office of Human Resources is available to assist.