Embracing the many sides of Christmas.
By Hannah Wallace
Ok, I’ve about worn my fingers down to the knuckle trying to type Christmas blogs. There’s so much going on, and I love Christmas, and oh, the decisions to make!

Seems everyone around town has a Toys for Tots promotion—which is awesome, because I love shopping for toys even if I don’t get to keep them for myself. I brought a giant bag of blocks to the Ringling Museum’s Holiday Splendor last Thursday. It’s the second time I’ve been to that event, and I will go every year, because the museum at night—blue luminaries and Christmas carols and the Cà d’Zan in all its holiday glitz—hits my magical Christmas button just right. Ma joined CCB and me this year. She was going to pay the $10 admission, but when she saw the massive pile of toys building around the busts of John and Mable, she crossed the lobby to the gift shop and bought a stuffed tiger to donate. “This way it benefits the museum and Toys for Tots,” she said.


Ma with one of the Ringling dwarves, which used to surround

the courtyard outside the old Asolo Theatre building.



CCB eyes the glorious bounty in the Ringling lobby.

Oh! And I went to the Cheetah Club again last weekend—a going-away party for an Army Reservist who works with CCB. There was a stripper wearing a Santa Claus outfit. Well, part of one, anyway.

Atomic Holiday Bazaar, another of my favorite events, is at the Municipal Auditorium this weekend. And I? Will be in Naples for a hockey tournament. Again. No necktie bags or mouthy buttons for me. My heart is broken. And I need something crafty to fix it back up.

Atomic Holiday Bazaar!

The crafty-cool Atomic Holiday Bazaar.

Also, if you’ve got family coming to town, I recommend the weekend tours and demonstrations at Big Cat Habitat—an exciting (and somewhat surreal) approach to Sarasota’s circus history. A few years ago, Thing 1, Captain Slack and I saw a show on Christmas Eve. Kay Rosaire and the whole environment, really, have a casualness and sincerity that make you feel like part of the family—a family that includes tigers, bears and a chimpanzee.
Speaking of sincerity, my mother, the world’s biggest supporter of earnest Christmas sentiment, will allow no more ironic celebrations of bad Christmas songs since my father’s love of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and her own realization that Tony Orlando’s “Little Heads in Bunk Beds,” which appears on one of their ‘70s Christmas records, is not really all that Christmassy. (The refrain? “Tomorrow…you’ll meet your new mother.”)
So I have a feeling Mom probably won’t make it to next Friday’s Chrappy Christmas party, which came about when Copy Editor Megan revealed her love of *NSYNC’s holiday album, and I my love of the hysterically horrible The Christmas Shoes. (What is it with dying mothers and Christmas songs, people?) We’ve got a DVD Yule log (with scenes like “campfire” and “saucy flames”), the Chipmunks’ holiday box set and an inflatable penguin. But we all know a party doesn’t count unless Matt Orr is there. Maybe our landlord, the Snuggly Bobby P, can get him to come.
Yes, my Christmas spirit is potent. Or it will be, anyway, after next Wednesday’s cocktail-making class at the Ritz. Twenty-five bucks gets you personal instruction in seven seasonal cocktails. It’s the last of a series of classes this month, and you better believe I’ll be asking bartender Peter Whitely to make it an annual tradition. I’ll be joined by Copy Editor Megan and Biz941 editor Susan Burns, so you can expect a full report next week.
What kinds of parties and events are you attending this season? Any last-minute recommendations for Chrappy Christmas food or décor?