Coffee Break Santa (weekender)

Fireworks explode above Santa during the Downtown for the Holidays celebration on Fourth Street Monday, November 24, 2008. (Jim Lee/Sioux City Journal)

JIM LEE

Just after Thanksgiving, members of the Weekender staff got together for a holiday brainstorming session. Our intention was to release a holiday-themed cover every week until Christmas. As of now, we've succeeded. 

It's been fun bending our brains trying to come up with holiday-themed stories. Many worked. Some fell through. Other ideas were lost entirely. With every new issue published, I scribbled off more and more story pitches from my notepad.

Hopefully you all enjoyed these Christmas stories as much as us. We certainly enjoyed asking interviewees like John Olson to come to our photo studio dressed in an aloha shirt, or asking one of the members of the hip-hop group D.A.D. to learn how to juggle Christmas ornaments on the spot -- he pulled it off perfectly, by the way.

We thought we would be met with strange glances when we asked Travis Morgan to orchestrate a photo session with symphony musicians while wearing holiday attire. But the CEO of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra was more than willing to comply. 

Now we're hammering away the last of our holiday stories for you to enjoy. While it's been relatively easy constructing the last few issues, this last one has been giving us the most trouble. But we did it. It's here. Fate made us work right before we could celebrate the holidays. 

If you're reading this on Christmas Day, please do us a favor: put the paper down (or turn off your phone if you're reading this online) and enjoy the holiday. I mean really enjoy it. Spend time with friends or family. Sleep in, have seconds of dinner, chow down on candy all day -- whatever you want.

That's all we ask from you. Until then, merry Christmas and happy holidays. We'll see you next week. 

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