“Hanukkah came early this year! Which it sometimes does.”–Richard Lewis
Every year the office where I work holds a holiday party. Well, technically it’s me and my coworkers, not the office itself which, being a large open space, is great for facilitating parties but terrible at planning them and when there’s a potluck only brings a measly tray of pencils.
Since I’ve worked in the same place for several years my name has gotten on a lot of mailing lists, and I’ve noticed that companies sometimes send stuff addressed to me. Technically I’m not allowed to accept gifts from companies it’s a non-profit organization—and also we have a generic holiday party because it’s a non-prophet organization, but that’s another story—although most of the time it’s little stuff: a few measly pencils, a writing pad. One company sends several calendars with a medieval painting for each month and if I ever leave this job I’m gonna find a way to get on their mailing list.
And most of this stuff—especially the calendars—I pass on to coworkers. Also I’m not in a position to make any purchasing decisions so I can honestly say I’m not influenced by any of it.
Last year as the holidays approached a box addressed to me landed on my desk. It was from a company we do business with and it was unusually large. I assumed it was swag I could pass around to my coworkers. When I opened it I found this:
In the lower lefthand corner you’ll see a ruler I got from somewhere, or that maybe was something the office brought to a potluck, just to demonstrate that this is at least sixteen inches of baklava. And I’m a bona fide baklavaholic. Or baklavolic. It’s an amazing food: crispy and chewy and sweet and nutty, and great for winter which is balaclava weather, but that’s another story.
Still I knew it wasn’t technically for me and that I shouldn’t keep it for myself even after I opened it and found this:
So I contributed it to the holiday potluck. I didn’t say I brought it and left it very discreetly among the homemade items, and some other store-bought items that others brought.
I feel slightly guilty that my contribution wasn’t purchased, although it is the spirit of the season to not just receive but also give. And if I should feel guilty about anything it’s that I sampled every type of baklava myself. Some of them twice.