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John Lamb, Published November 28 2009

Lamb: This year, say it with holiday tchotchkes

In case you didn’t learn your lesson at Thanksgiving, or shopping on Black Friday, I’m here to tell you that especially during this holiday season, there definitely is too much of a good thing.

For example, I really like Christmas. I love the look, feel and smell of the holidays. And for someone with very little interest in decorating, I do it up for the holidays.

Last year, when I had my own office in the newsroom, I decked it out with lights around the windows and a real wreath on the door. Oh, and a fireplace next to my desk, you know, to make it extra cozy.

Sixteen years ago, my roommate Craig and I found an electric fireplace in our apartment’s storage unit. We brought it up to our space, plugged it in to get the simulated fire (a painted tube rotating around a light bulb) going and christened it at our annual holiday soiree, the sweater party.

Ever since, the fireplace has been a seasonal staple for me. At times I would even load it into my car and cart it to other holiday parties. It makes for a great conversation piece with the ladies.

I found this out the hard way last year when some office elves got the spare key and turned my cozy little workshop into a tinsel-strewn wax museum of Christmas crappery.

Among other gaudy displays was an eerie, short-circuiting Animatronics Mrs. Claus, her ukulele-strumming old man, a couple of handcrafted angels, a mini lit tree, an album featuring Andy Williams in a Christmas sweater, some sort of Kwanzaa Santa, a Hummel caroler in a powder-blue snowsuit, a snowman in sunglasses that danced to “Ice, Ice Baby” and, inexplicably, an ornament of a hunter standing on a shotgun shell.

It didn’t take much Santa sleuthing to figure out who the guilty hollidazzlers were. I won’t name names to protect the malevolent, but their initials are Tammy Swift and Dianna Baumann.

My enlightened office was a big hit with co-workers, so when it was time to de-dreck my halls, I tried giving the Christmas tchotchkes away. Funny thing though, no one wanted these junky noel mementos, especially not the people who Christmas-jacked my office.

But that was last year, “Auld Lang Syne.” Now it’s Christmas again and time to warm your heart with gracious gifts to friends and even co-workers. And when they come back from, say, a long Thanksgiving weekend, why not show them how much you care by leaving a gift for them, Something like, say, a creepy 2-foot-tall Mama Claus that really shocks you when you turn her on?

After all, it’s the thought that counts.

Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533