As it is, working in a school, a roster of playground duty has to be worked out on these special days, so that the students are not left unsupervised while we are feasting away in the assembly hall, far away from the 350+ sets of gazing, greedy little eyes. It's real eat 'n' run stuff; I was fairly lucky in that I scored a late shift and only had to delay dessert by ten minutes.
A highlight of our annual Christmas function is the distribution of the "good taste" and "bad taste" Kris Kringle gifts. Over the years, and after a few embarrassing gaffes where the last person would get two "bad" presents, we've perfected the art of ensuring that there isn't any last-minute mix up of the "good" and "bad" boxes. As each person brings in their contributions, in the days leading up to The Big Day, he or she is responsible for attaching raffle tickets (from two colour-coded books) to the gifts, and the ticket stubs are given out at the entry door.
The "good" present has to be of at least $5 value, and the "bad" gift just needs to be something totally tacky/embarrassing/useless - and there has evolved quite a catalogue of oft-recycled "bad" items. I pray that I never manage to win the well-endowed naked plastic monk-in-a-barrel, the regifted packet of mothballs (with attached flashing "I am a virgin" pin), or the $5 worth collection of already-scratched $1 scratch lottery tickets - non-winning, of course.
This year I was finally ably to get rid of the incredibly tacky table lamp, with garishly-painted fruit on both the base and the shade, which I received last year. (I haven't yet gotten rid of the real wooden Dutch clogs - size "Small" - but one year they shall be passed along to some deserving recipient.)
So what did Good and Bad Santa bring me in 2006?
My "bad taste" gift was... deja vu! An item I put into the prize pool about four years ago has finally homed: a pair of fabric Rudolph the Reindeer antlers, complete with attached nose-piece. Definitely worth saving up for my December 25th blog entry portrait - just watch this space!
My "good taste" gift is a funky, very science-fictiony, metallic blue Massage Mate, as illustrated here:
Aren't you jealous?