Six ways I celebrated the season.
By Hannah Wallace
ONE: DECORATING MY HIBISCUS
In order to aid my mother, the Christmas Nazi, in her takeover of northern Sarasota County and the world, I spent a profanity-filled evening trying to evenly distribute one string of lights on the branchless stems of the eight-foot hibiscus outside my door. Still, I could tell she was pleased when she saw it and proclaimed, “Now you need lights for the inside of your apartment.”
TWO: THE OFFICE GIFT EXCHANGE
SARASOTA Magazine staffers celebrated the holidays with the always amusing “White Elephant” gift exchange (or, really, “gift-pillaging activity”). Nothing says Christmas like stealing from your coworkers. And if you play it right, you can bring in something you never wanted in the first place and leave with a $10 gift certificate to the Siesta Key Oyster Bar. I know it’s not a competition or anything, but—I win. Merry Christmas.
THREE: DRINKING WITH FAMILY
Ten dollars at SKOB goes a long way toward getting my sisters good and hammered.
FOUR: CHRISTMAS EVE MASS
I can’t lie: Attending the Church of the Redeemer’s Christmas Eve service with my family is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest experiences of the whole holiday season. This year, from the back pew, we got to watch the entire balcony jump a full foot in the air when the organist suddenly, in mid-hymn, turned on the trumpet pipes, which are all of six inches behind the balcony ( “She’s drunk with power!”). Other highlights include making “What the hell?” faces at each other when the sermon descended into an historically inaccurate rundown of the origin of the Christmas tree (“Excuse me, Father, angry German pagans on line 1.”); playing “telephone” up and down the pew to figure out where we’d meet after the service; and my threatening to receive communion with my cell phone up to my ear (“Do it and I’ll disown you.”).
FIVE: POST-CHURCH DINNER AL FRESCO
It’s physically impossible for all six members of my family to fit inside my apartment at the same time, so, in true Florida fashion, we ate Christmas Eve dinner under the stars at the patio table in my yard. It was brilliant weather, cool and calm; we sat out there for hours.
SIX: A REFRESHING SWIM
Of course, with all the rain on Christmas morning, I darn near needed a boat to get to my parents’ house. Still, I’ve always celebrated Christmas in Sarasota, and there is something quite cozy about opening presents next to a roaring thunderstorm.
Best wishes to everyone in 2007! Tune in soon to hear how my New Year’s Eve wedding adventure turns out.