j: “On assignment” for the travel blog I write for, wandering around Jack London Square trying to capture how Christmas looks in Oakland, I saw this guy. He was frolicking. No other way to describe it. It was cold enough that I was wearing a jacket and a scarf, but he was playing in the water like it was summer and this was his own private swimming pool. He’d stand on the edge and jump in, splash about, climb out, jump back in. I was delighted watching him, which is good because the Christmas decorations were completely underwhelming.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

jb: This is my second year being the Giving Tree coordinator for my son’s elementary school – and I love it! Yes, it’s busy and stressful at a busy and stressful time of year. But the spirit of the event – everyone coming together to do what they can to help make the holidays brighter for children and their families, more than makes up for that. I could go on forever about how good it feels helping such deserving families in our community. I wish we could make every day better for them, but if we can only help one day, at least it’s Christmas Day.

Here’s a picture of my car, loaded to the brim, with presents from the Giving Tree. (And someone also donated a bike, too – but I had to make a separate trip for that.) Just sharing the merry with you this week.