Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the newsroom on Wednesday for our annual Christmas festivities.
This is an event where our party-planning colleague Esther McCoy once again assumes the role of Martha Stewart and assembles an array of covered-dish items on our office island worthy of a photo spread in any food magazine.
And the grub itself is the stuff of which plates are not big enough to accommodate, which is why seconds and such are in order.
The seasoned staffers understand the drill, that arriving at work with empty stomachs in anticipation of this bountiful buffet is the right way to go.
When the noon dinner bell rings - i.e. our fearless leader/executive editor Ross Gallabrese offers his brief speech and thanks us for another good year, now let's eat, yada yada yadda - off we head to the chow line like a herd of horses that just heard their grain hit the feed bucket.
Look out, Loretta!
With our food in hand, all you hear is silence at this point, save the mastication.
We have variety with a capital "V" at these food fests, incidentally, with bacon wraps from yours truly on the mandated menu, thanks to Better Half who delivers them to the newsroom via a police escort.
You won't find a salad at our buffet, though. None of that healthy stuff in December. That's why God made January.
Our bellies full - maybe even bulging a bit - it was time for Santa and Mrs. Claus to do their deliveries.
Any holiday-worthy Christmas party includes a gift exchange where you draw names and either buy people things they don't need or things they can re-gift.
It's tradition, for pity sake.
Then again, we do a pretty good job of pairing a person with an appropriate present, coming up with meaningful, practical gifts.
Summer Wallace-Minger, for instance, my "community sister" as I call her since she is the community editor for The Weirton Daily Times, was my Secret Santa Pal.
In addition to getting her chocolate beverage of choice, I found a wooden plaque for her desk. It spells out her name - Summer. Oh, to be named after a season.
I think she feels better now knowing where her desk is.
I got a candle I like; a pack of gum since I'm always bumming some; a horse calendar (go figure); a generic Barbie doll; a pad of paper; and a set of toy cooking dishes, which is about as close as I'll get to serious cooking.
Gifts and food aside, it's fitting to celebrate Christmas with the newsroom employees.
After all, we spend more time with each other than we probably do with our own families.
I didn't get a chance to give my Christmas list to Santa and the Mrs., but if I do between now and Christmas Eve, I'll put in a request for all of you to have a Merry Christmas.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)