Friday, December 18, 2009

Beebewitz Blog, Holiday Edition Part 2

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year.

What. Some kill-joy Scroogey blogger dude told you it was a dangerous time of the year didn't he. He wasn't wrong, but we gotta focus on the positive, right?

One of the wonderful things about Christmas is the wonderful traditions built around the season. Upsala Firefighters traditionally give a bag of candy to every kid in the village at Christmas time. I inherited this task when I came on the scene nearly 14 years ago, and being the innovator (some call it rabble-rouser) that I am, I wanted to make the tradition better. I presented my board with a new public education scheme in which Santa (who we provided to hand out the candy) would be introduced as a volunteer fire chief from the North Pole, and who would have all kinds of cool fire safety tips for the kids, and the kids would listen because everyone believes Santa, and what a nifty, revolutionary idea, and, and, and . . . nobody was smiling or nodding like I was sure they would. They had one comment: DON'T MESS WITH SANTA!

Since these people are my employers, I decided to back off a little and come up with a compromise: greeting cards from the Upsala Fire Elves with seasonal safety messages, stapled to the candy bags. This idea was tolerated, if not whole-heartily embraced, and a new tradition was born.

Here is the front of this year's card . . .

. . . and here is the back of the card.

The artwork is Corel clipart, modified and reconstructed to suit my hairbrained idea. Except for the large fire elf in the cover, who was drawn by me, and the fire hat and ladders in the wreaths which were drawn by my wife and converted into a digital file by my dad, and reconstructed in the wreaths by me. As you can see, I don't mind borrowing for a good cause. You can see a bigger version of the elf and some of my other artwork on my other blog.

While I was in a nutty mood, I came up with this graphic for the Upsala Firefighter greeting cards we send to various people and businesses. The artwork is Corel clipart (again) modified and reconstructed to suit my purpose.

By the way, if anyone out there in bloggerland is nutty like me and would like to use this stuff in their community, by all means help yourself. The Corel artwork is copyrighted, but I believe it is okay to use it as long as you aren't selling it. My stuff is my own, and by all means feel free to make a million bucks off of it . . . just make sure you share it we me okay? If you do decide to use it, let me know and I can provide you with better images than you'll get by copying off the blog.

Traditions can be good and evil. The good side of this tradition is that I get to do what I like to do . . . interact with the kids . . . and hopefully instill some knowledge that will keep them safe. Another good thing is that my whole family gets in on the act. My kitchen becomes a regular Santa's workshop when it's time to bag and package the candy.

Then there's the evil. What could possibly be evil about this wonderful tradition? Just ask the moms of the kids that arrive home with a bag full of sugar (on top of all the other sugar they get this time of year) which is the equivalent of jet fuel to an F16. As the kids are bouncing off the walls to the tune of "Deck the Halls" I can imagine the moms thinking, "Why oh why must we have a proactive, public educator for a fire chief? [bang head on wall]"

Every program comes with a price. I'm glad someone else is paying for this one. Hey, I never claimed to be free of a dark side.

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