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Dear Co-Workers...
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Christmas/Hanukkah gifts? Please. No more re-gifts from discarded piles of shoddy schlock. No more 5-dollar leftovers from the quick sale shelves. Here's what I really want from you:

1. Lower your voices, your music and your cell phone noise. Please. Believe it or not, I'm trying to work.

2. I know you are the center of the universe, at least in your own opinion, but try not to beat me over the head with it. Talk about something besides yourself and how great you are and how wonderful your friends and family.

3. Can the gossip. I'm not interested in scatological scuttlebutt.

4. No "science experiments" in the office refrigerator, please. It's a shared space.

5. Snort, snuffle, twitter, slamming desk or filing cabinet drawers--funny and loud noises are annoying. Your gift of restraint is appreciated. If I hear that cell phone tune one more time....

6. Did I ask to share your twining ivy, your cascade of papers, your rolling hanging file? No. Give me my space, and keep yours uncluttered, please. The office is no place to nurture a jungle.

7. Religion? Politics? The weedy patches of dogmatism are not my idea of a gift. Ideologues belong on the stage, in the pulpit, on the campaign trail, not in the office. And your Bible may be a comfort to you, but it's not an office manual to be required reading for me, or the answer to every question/issue.

8. Negativity is toxic. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (Thumper's mother's advice).

9. When you grace me with your presence, please make sure it has recently experienced toothpaste, shampoo and soap and water. Marinating in perfume doesn't count, except in levels of toxicity. Grooming at your desk doesn't improve matters any.

10. Keep the chatter within bounds. Meeting and greeting is important, sharing develops relationships, but I really don't want the gift of your life history, your views on everything, and your emotional/psychological dossier.

What I want for Christmas is to get along with you, my co-workers, in a quiet and respectful environment, friendly and cooperative. Hold the kitsch.

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