What we all look forward to the most at Southgate Coins has finally arrived: our annual Christmas gift exchange and company dinner! It’s a time where we all can get together—not as co-workers, but as friends—and enjoy laughs, stories, special treats, and an absolutely fantastic dinner. Read on to hear more of our stories about this festive tradition.
As my (Nicole’s) second Christmas celebration with Southgate, it always makes it that much more fun and exciting when we can share it with people who have never experienced it before and don’t really know what surprises to expect. With three new additions, since last Christmas—Rebecca, Akimi, and Elaine—this year was one we will always remember.
The big celebration tradition of course started with much preparation and planning, that has taken place for at least the last two months. All us girls picked our “Secret Santas” for our gift exchange and began swapping ideas on what to get Rusty and Marie for Christmas. Of course, without fail, Maya our senior veteran always has the best ideas and came up with this year’s gift. Therefore, Maya and I went shopping at “Bed, Bath, and Beyond” to pull her ideas together and finished with the perfect gift for Rusty and Marie. All us girls did our own separate shopping for our “Secret Santas,” since we were very good this year at actually keeping it all a secret from each other (unlike last year, haha)!
Here’s Rebecca to tell us about our gift-giving ceremony:
Christmas is a time to remember the real reason for the season, and it is a time for giving and receiving. Here at Southgate Coins, we do not take this gift giving and receiving lightly, oh, no! Not only did us girls have a "Secret Santa" gift exchange amongst ourselves, but we also got an awesome gift for Rusty and Marie, and we received bags filled with never-ending (it seemed like) gifts from them.
When Marie arrived back at the store after going home to take care of the puppies, the excitement began! I had just finished changing out of my work clothes for our special event, when I found Marie taking presents out of the conference office (where they had been hidden all day). As I helped her bring them into the back area of the store where the festivities were to take place, my eyes widened with anticipation because the Christmas gift bags just kept coming, and coming! The other girls and I could not believe we were going to get to open these gifts, on top of what we had already gotten for each other!
Since we decided to do gift unwrapping in an orderly manner, Elaine (the youngest of the Southgate girls as far as hiring dates) was up first. Elaine sat down in the hot seat and waited rather anxiously for her "Secret Santa" to be revealed. Maya stood up with the gifts she had purchased for Elaine and at this point, Elaine was practically jumping up to meet Maya and the gifts. Amongst some other surprises, Elaine received a warm, plush, blue bathrobe.
Akimi was next up. She sat down as Elaine stood up with her creatively-wrapped presents. We all know Akimi loves nice-smelling things, so it was no surprise that she received aromatherapy gear.
I (Rebecca) was up next and could not wait to rip off some wrapping paper! Nicole, my "Secret Santa," handed me a giant bag with beautifully-colored tissue paper hiding my gifts. I pulled out a beautiful metal cross, and a heart-shaped picture holder to deck-out my room.
Next up was Nicole. I chuckled a little inside because we were each other’s "Secret Santa". She opened the Pink brand, oversized bag I got her, and I was relieved to see a smile on her face.
Maya, the “oldie”, was up last. She opened the gift Akimi had gotten her; it was a purple and blue hanging lantern, but Maya chose to use it as a mace instead. We all ducked out of fear that Maya would accidentally lose her grip on the chain and take one of us out in the process. As the first round of gift giving ceased, the second began.
Elaine started the rotation again so we each could open our generous gifts from Rusty and Marie. We all received cute little makeup starter kits, a long-sleeve shirt, and a daily planner. Rusty and Marie made each of our gifts unique by throwing in little things we each enjoyed. For instance, in my gift bag was the unforgettable 2010 World Series on DVD and a Giants’ throw blanket!
The Goes even put together a gift bag filled with goodies for Embry, Maya’s little eleven-month-old daughter. We will not get to see the joy on her face until after Christmas when we see the pictures, but we all know she will enjoy her gifts just as much as all of us are enjoying ours. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, Rusty and Marie just gave and gave!” You would be right, and all of us girls are very thankful for everything, but we had a little something up our sleeves in return.
As all the gift giving was coming to a close, we made Marie sit in the hot seat. It was her turn to enjoy a little receiving fun. As Nicole placed the expertly-wrapped gift in Marie’s lap, Rusty got right behind Marie in order that he wouldn’t miss out on the fun. Both of them opened the gift that took us girls weeks to come up with (thank you, Maya!). We got them a Keurig single-cup coffee maker, Keurig coffee and tea K-cups to get them started, and cute mugs that fit the coffee maker perfectly. For those of you who are not aware, Keurig coffee makers provide the perfect sized, individual cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate whenever your heart desires. The coffee is always fresh and delicious. High five girls on such a well-planned gift!
Here’s Akimi to mention some of the wonderful gifts we’ve received from clients and friends of the store this season.
Hi everyone! This is my first Christmas at Southgate Coins, and it is my joy to experience the warmness toward the Christmas sprit. Rusty and Marie definitely have made a point that one of the fun events in Christmas is exchanging gifts with your loved friends and families. But, it was more than just an office gift exchange at Southgate Coins—we’ve received wonderful gifts from the clients and friends of the store.
In early December, we started to receive Christmas cards and gifts from our dearest friends, which made Christmas more exciting. The gifts were so wonderful and some of them were so new for the girls. We received different types of delicious snacks such as gourmet Belgian chocolate cookies, See’s candies, and Swiss chocolates. We also received pecan pie, pecan fruitcake, berry torte pastries, and a tin of flavored popcorn. There were even two Ponderosa Jim Beam collectible whiskey decanters, Miami souvenir bags, and of course, tons of well-wishing Christmas cards.
To all of you who made the extra effort to remember SGC, thank you so much for your caring gifts. We appreciate all your thoughts, and we wish you a Merry, Merry Christmas!
All the giving and receiving made us all acquire a hearty appetite, so it was a good thing our Christmas dinner was next on the to-do list!
Here’s Elaine to talk about our Claim Jumper feast:
Thanks Akimi! Well, after the gift-giving, all of our stomachs were growling (especially for those girls who’d worked that day!), so we hot-footed it to Claim Jumper for our annual Christmas dinner. All the girls piled into Akimi’s minivan, and somehow, even though we’d had a head-start, Rusty and Marie beat us there!
As we waited for our table, we wasted no time eyeing the delicious desserts. Rebecca, Nicole, and Maya vowed they could finish an entire Chocolate Motherlode Cake (all six layers of it), while Rusty and I joked that we just wanted to skip dinner and eat an entire berry pie instead. With how hungry we were, I don’t doubt we could have polished off those desserts and still had room for more!
Once we got to our table, we began to play the tug-of-war between our eyes and our stomachs; we wanted to order everything, but we also knew we needed to save room for dessert. We started with some delicious appetizers—garlic cheese toast, mozzarella sticks, and fried avocado—and everyone tucked in with happy, single-minded purpose. We were far from sated, though.
Soon after, our real food arrived and happy sounds of enjoyment could be heard from every seat at the table. Rusty and Rebecca both had ribs—his baby-back and hers beef—and when Rebecca finally got her enormous plate of ribs, I’ve never seen her look so happy (except for when the Giants won the World Series, of course). She even did spirit fingers to celebrate! Marie and Maya both had steaks, Nicole had cheese tortellini, Akimi had lobster, and I had barbequed salmon, and judging by the satisfied smiles on everyone’s faces they were all delicious. And enormous too, I might add—almost everyone had to get to-go boxes to take the leftovers home.
After the entrees, came the part we’d been waiting for since our arrival at the restaurant: dessert! As predicted, we ordered a piece of the Chocolate Motherlode Cake and a berry pie to share, and as predicted they were entirely delicious. Though we wanted to finish every decadent bite (or at least I did!), our stomachs were full-to-bursting, and Marie got some pie and cake to take home. It was a wonderful finish to a wonderful meal, and after lots of Christmas hugs we all went home to digest and reflect happily on the evening.
Thanks, Elaine. As you said, the food was phenomenal. I (Maya) was stuffed until dinnertime on Sunday.
As the seasoned Christmas veteran, it was great for me to see our three newbies (Rebecca, Akimi, and Elaine) celebrate a Southgate Christmas for the first time. They each have now participated in birthday and other holiday celebrations, and it’s just dawning on them how special their job can be. From wonderful company events, to gifts and well-wishes for clients and friends of the store, there’s just nothing to match it. For me, this is the fourth Christmas party I have attended with Southgate Coins, and it just keeps getting better.
It’s always wonderful to carry on Southgate traditions with new groups of girls. Now they can see that the fun and festivities they’ve read about in earlier weblogs is actually something we cherish, and share with each staff member that comes along.
I’m happy that we were able to get everyone involved in Christmas shopping, and that we all became someone’s "Secret Santa", on top of collaborating to get Rusty and Marie the perfect gift.
We hope all of our weblog readers have a wonderful holiday season, and pleasant New Year. Also, if you’re still looking to find that perfect Christmas present for the coin collector in your life, we will be open until Christmas Eve to suit your shopping needs.
Merry Christmas from the “biggest little Coin Shop in the world,”
Nicole, Rebecca, Akimi, Elaine, and Maya