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Conversation in the newsroom one mid-October afternoon:

Kirk: "Hey, Matt, we've got that food and party issue coming up."

Matt: "What the ... Why can't Pete do it?"

Kirk: "Because it's your job."

Pete: "Stop pawning your crap off on me."

Matt: "Although I have no idea what you guys are talking about, I will take on this issue for the good of the team."

Pete: "You're a jerk."

Kirk: "Do you understand what we want from you?"

Matt: "You want food, partying and holiday cheer, la It's a Wonderful Life, with the spirit of Christmas captured, dissected, illuminated and revealed. Sorta like Mardi Gras meets foie gras meets Santa Claus."

Kirk: "In a word, yes."

At least that's what I recall.

From there, we rounded up the usual critics and began fishing for brilliant pitches from our freelancers. When none came in (kidding!), we settled for a look at our city's pioneering farm, a rundown of dedicated (read: crazy) holiday decorators, a roundup of worthwhile winter cookbooks, a tell-all of life at the North Pole and some drink and theme-party ideas.

I hope in reading our cheery package that your holidays, parties they may include, and gut are all made happy.

God bless us, every one.

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