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There's a festival of festiveness all around the Q.C. 

'Tis the season of giving ... but, given the economy, a lot of corporations are forgoing their company holiday parties. But no need to get all "Ba Hum Bug," it's better than going out of business. And that doesn't mean you still can't get in the merrymaking mood ... as in the holiday spirit.

On a side note, I think the reindeer are really getting in the mood.

Growing up, my mom put lighted reindeer figurines in our yard, and someone used to always position one on top of the other as though they were mating. Well, apparently the holiday season is mating season because the other night I caught the reindeer statuettes within the Santa display at Birkdale Village "doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel."

Anyway, I tried to get into the mood -- or spirit rather -- by ice skating on the Green Uptown. I think every mom in Charlotte drops their underage child off there because I felt like I was at a middle school party. But the good news is I managed to remain vertical the entire time. WBT's Holiday on Ice is open until Jan. 10.

The Bobcats still had their holiday party ... for the kids! More than 300 kids partied with the players -- and by party I mean play and decorate cookies. Kids really do say the darndest things: A little boy asked the team how mad Sean May would be if he ate his cookie. As I was watching all the kids in their party playland, I couldn't help but notice the boys running around, fencing with balloon swords while the girls were chasing them, either trying to play with them or pinch them. My, how the roles change as we get older.

And I think I figured out why places like women's apparel store Cato are still in business -- Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties. There were several this year between Rusty Rudder, Whisky River, CANS and Sunset Club. And then there are the festive friend festivities, like a White Elephant party where everyone brings a gift, draws a number and in that order they pick a present, except participants can also opt to take someone else's gift. There was almost a fight over a Paula Dean cookbook at one of these parties I attended.

But shenanigans are not the reason for the season, and, despite the economy, it's still the season of giving. The Gathering at ALIVE in NoDa was a pay-it-forward party where people came out to donate food to Second Harvest, toys to Toys for Tots and bags to Letha's Bags of Love. Power 98's Consuella and I were the evening's elves, except our costumes were more like Naughty & Nice ... and I felt very naughty.

So even if your company didn't pay to get the entire staff spirited with spirts, that doesn't mean you can't go out and spread some holiday cheer for the New Year. As for the economy -- if Britney Spears can make a comeback, so can the economy.

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