Yesterday we had our annual Christmas party at my place of business. This particular gathering is held specifically for the support team at Macy*s because, for the most part, we are excluded from the other celebrations held throughout the year. In order for this to happen my co-workers and I have been working extra hours to rid the entire basement lair that we call home of boxes and filth. Somehow the hellish rush of the holiday season always seems worthwhile by the time of the party.

The drab grey walls are covered with a thin string of white Christmas lights. These are strung through cages, along splintered wooden paneling, and dangling from miscellaneous hangers jutting out from the walls. Long tables are brought in and covered with red tablecloths lined with gold trimming. We all help carry in smaller sets of tables and chairs which are then similarly dressed. Red and green tissue paper filled flower pots adorn each table, giving off an air of comfort and glamorous poverty. The new boss, Rebecca, pushes in rolling flats covered in gifts she bought for each individual worker. Christmas music blares from the decrepit radio in the corner welcoming in the expectant guests. By noontime nearly all members of the support team are present. Hot food is laid out buffet style. I float from little groups of Phillipino ladies to burly dock workers engaging in friendly snatches of conversation. Eventually, though, I retreat to the bottom shelf of a small cage to soak in all of the thoughts filling my mind. From here is where I start snapping pictures of various seated groups. It is rare that we are all together anymore, and the feeling of some sort of community is a pleasant deviation from the norm. For several more hours I arrange group pictures and exchange stories with my old boss, Mark, who has been switched to a new night shift of processing work. Around 3 o' clock I decide to take my leave. I have no idea when I will see many of these people again, especially in such a large collective, but the day has been warm and jovial. Many hugs are given and I slip away into the snow contented with the day's events.

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