Last night was our department's Christmas party. Due to layoffs and the economy (I assume, there's been no email update), our office isn't throwing its usual all-out holiday-fest here at the campus. It makes sense--if we can't afford to keep some people on staff, can we really afford to throw a party that easily trumps my wedding budget.... times five. Even though we don't get a party, it somehow feels better than if we did.
So last night, our department threw a potluck holiday party at a fabulous art loft in downtown Birmingham housed in what used to be a cooking supplies store, as evidenced by the still-hanging sign that reads "Kitchen Counters." Maybe it's laziness, but I'm betting that whoever left that as the name of the space embraced is as a cool arty name.
One reason I love my job so much is the people I work with. We were told to bring something, if we wanted to, and everyone ended up bringing such amazing foods... meatballs, tons of cheeses, dips, spreads, chocolates, cupcakes, hummus, and more. A wonderful elf supplied all libations and it was a wonderful way to feel thrust into the holiday season. I did miss B, though. Several people asked about him and it just made me want him there more.
The party went on for almost five hours, maybe more, but I left when the dancing started. Seriously, nothing good can come from that.
This year has been hard for me, "holiday spirit"-wise. I'm not sure what about the holidays makes me tick, so it's hard to kick-start myself into the festive feeling. It's not gifts, as I tend to just do them whenever. It's not the decorations, because I, well, leave mine up year around (I prefer to think of it as 'ahead' rather than 'lazy.' Come on, it's a ficus. It works.) Maybe it's the parties? The food? In years before, I think it was just spending time in holiday-type places: a store blaring Christmas music to keep the shoppers humming and happy, a mall food court decorated with more tinsel than Dollywood, the random wreaths attached to Jeeps around the south.
I think a big one for me is the monkeys. Hearing them talk about Santa and learning about the Christmas story just makes my heart swell. Church is another one. Not really the sermons or even services, but the ritual of lighting candles, hanging the greens, children's choir, and the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.
Even though I'm done all my shopping (save B!), I'm not quite in the spirit yet. We'll see if tonight's Tinsel and Toddys part helps...