If you've made it this far in the month of December, you either have no children or grandchildren in your house, you use your TV for watching movies only, or you live in a hole in the ground somewhere south of Yellowknife. Not that those who live in Yellowknife don't celebrate Christmas. They just haven't been inundated with American-style Christmas. If it isn't the gifts that need to be purchased, made, or otherwise acquired, it's the preparations for visiting friends and family. The corridors of the office are abuzz with holiday stress releasings. Yet the carols talk of joy and peace and tranquility. Christmas is supposed to be fun isn't it?
You can count me in as one of the few who is not undergoing major stress right now in the face of the holidays. The cats don't expect presents or a feast on Christmas Day. My house is looking more like the intersection of Chaos and Mayhem to fit even a table for setting food on. I plan on spending the day with the local classical station playing in the background while I sip tea and work on a jigsaw puzzle. I'll prepare something nice for dinner and call my siblings. All is calm, all is bright. I hope your Christmas day ends up being pleasant for you after all the preparations and the stress.
If you work in an office with a fair number of people in it you probably have a Secret Santa exchange or something similar. For those of you unfamiliar with this interesting game it's a gift exchange. Participants fill out a form of favorite things (beverages, food, hobbies) enter their names in a hat, then draw names. The name you have drawn is the recipient of your bounty. During a designated week, usually a week before Christmas, you leave one gift on that person's desk. That person doesn't know it's you who's leaving the gift, providing the mystery and fun. Well, for the most part it's fun. If you get someone who has no clue what you're like you can end up with some pretty crappy stuff. Often there's a money limit, like $20, so you can end up with cheap goods. But if you get someone who is resourceful you can wind up with some really fun stuff.
I'm fortunate to be working in an office full of the latter. We have quite a number of creative people who go all out for the exchange. One year I received my name done up as a beaded panel. Another year I received a handpainted coffee cup. I'm one of the people that participants want as a Secret Santa as I try to find things that are not the usual gifts you can find. If I can, I try to make something special for the recipient. This year my recipient received beaded earrings and handknit and beaded wristwarmers.
I do have to say that the exchange is done with fun in mind, so I don't take quite as seriously as I have in the past. My Secret Santa did pretty well for the most part. The thing that made me chuckle though was a fleece throw in bright green with red, green, and white holiday sentiments like "Ho Ho Ho!" and "Happy Holidays". It was soft and cozy but it's Grinch green. I knew the furries would take to it and sure enough Miss Mazola seized it as hers. All I could think was how many Grinches died to make these throws. It came from WalMart -- oh the horror!
Strap on your helmet!
The Winter Olympics are coming! Skiing! Skating! Bobsledding! Hockey! Luge! I look forward to it every time it comes around. I don't know what it is about it. Maybe because it's a celebration of everything cold and it isn't a USA propaganda fest. But I have to wait two whole months. I didn't think I could wait so long. Then while I was channel surfing I ran across on an obscure sports channel world cup competitions in various winter sports. The last couple of nights I've been watching ski jumping in Austria and Germany. The crowds have been incredibly loud with horns and flags. Hot air balloons with advertising logos have been stationed around the stadiums. The jumps have been magnificent and frightening at the same time. I couldn't imagine sliding down a hill and jumping off but the sight of the jumpers flying with their skis splayed out to give them air is so thrilling. Other nights I've been watching luge and slalom skiing. The excitement these have been giving me has helped me crank out my latest project. It's been a great prelude to the Games.