Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Week!

It would be completely understandable if everyone expected me to slack off this week on the blogging due to the imminent holiday, but on the contrary, I find my spirits rising as the big day approaches and my energy level seems to be following suit, and combining that with the fact that I’ve already been totally slack for this whole month which produces a foundation of guilt and piles atop it a backlog of odds and ends to talk about (I could seriously do an entire grab-bag style post about various office building seasonal decorations alone – see below) – the bottom line is that I am confident in declaring this Christmas Week here at PA and committed to churning out a full Monday to Friday slate of semi-sensical ramblings. My gift to all of you!

It occurred to me this morning that Christmas being observed on a Monday, as it will be this year, is pretty rare; an equal amount of the time it falls on a Friday, with the remainder breaking up the middle of the week in various ways. I know that’s pretty simple calendar math, but it’s significant in the workaday world of the Big Gray because, for example, when Christmas falls on a Wednesday then by and large the two days on either side of it are a wash, as some people take the days leading up to Christmas as personal leave and other people take the days immediately after and the paid-time-off hoarders take the entire week, so the buildup is actually fairly anticlimactic. And the prior week, in that same case, feels too far away and disconnected from Christmas to be part of the official lead time. Contrast that with this year’s configuration (as you are wont to do when you overthink things the way that I compulsively do) and you realize this is not just the optimal but the only way to get a full five days of workplace Christmas run-up. Which I happen to enjoy, so that works out well for me.

As if to emphasize that point, this morning my government supervisor handed out her Christmas gifts to the staff (personalized travel coffee mugs – classy!) so, yeah, I’m pretty sure this is Christmas Week sanctioned by the appropriate authorities and everything.

Since we’ve already had our office holiday parties (both small and large) around here really the biggest work-related impact of Christmas Week is which Christmas ties I’m going to wear between now and Friday, the answer being “all of them”. Granted I don’t own a tremendous amount of holiday-themed neckwear, but oh by golly I’m going to be holly-jolly and give each one a turn. I have one fairly understated red tie with tiny green Christmas trees on it which has already gotten a wearing last week at the office potluck, which leaves me with another red tie with white snowflakes, a black tie with large stylized Christmas trees, and a tie patterned with green, red and yellow smiley-face ornaments. I have listed the remaining ties in order from least to most gaudy, which is not coincidentally the order in which I will be sporting them from Tuesday through Thursday. (Today I’m wearing a boring striped tie because it was either that or wear red-ties-with-slightly-different-snowflakes two days in a row.)

On BizCasFri I will of course go tieless, and probably just wear a green sweater and khakis. I kind of wish I had a truly obnoxious Christmas sweater; I also kind of wish I had the ability to say to some of my coworkers, who made the transition to holiday-themed fashion statements earlier in the month, “Wow, where did you get that sweater?” without betraying that I covet the item in question for 70% ironic reasons.
If the sweater doesn't have 3-dimensional components, why bother?


OK, really just two items of craziness regarding office decorations:

- Someone on this floor but outside my department put up a full sized artificial Christmas tree which must be about nine feet tall. It is, in fact, taller than the ceiling clearance of the office. So the drop ceiling panel above it has been removed to allow the very tip of the tree to stretch into the space between floors. I find this almost unbearably hilarious.

- Down in the building annex that contains various delis and convenience stores and whatnot there are some very nice Christmas trees as well. One of them is decorated with fake birds which, no problem, my Christmas tree at home has some of those too, little plastic animals with real feathers strategically attached. But the trees in the building annex have peacocks on them which are (a) life-sized and (b) dyed red, I guess because Christmas? Possibly these are Santa’s peacocks? I’ve been seeing them every day for weeks now and they still don’t make much sense to me.

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