“…most of our small remaining stock of luxuries was consumed at the Christmas feast. We could not carry it all with us, so for the last time for eight months we had a really good meal—as much as we could eat. Anchovies in oil, baked beans, and jugged hare made a glorious mixture such as we have not dreamed of since our school days.”—Sir Ernest Shackleton, in South (1919)
Merry Christmas from McMurdo!
Meet Santawich, the mastermind of McMurdo’s holiday celebrations. Santawich should not be confused with Santa, who resides at the North Pole and who likes cookies and milk. As Santawich knows, the guy who delivers us presents down here likes Spam and thawed-out chocolate doughnuts—because that is what she left outside of her door, and not a crumb remained on Christmas morning.
In 2003, Santawich first came to McMurdo as a dishwasher. That year, she distributed sixty Santa suits to her galley coworkers and friends to inspire McMurdo’s first Santarctica, which ended up being a bunch of people running around with kazoos and a tuba in red felt costumes. This year, Santawich again spearheaded the Santarctica movement, spreading merriment around station and as far as the Stellar Axis site (see last post). When not in holiday garb, Santawich goes by the name Sandwich.
Of Santarctica 2006, all I have are foggy memories. While I was sleeping, I remember by roommate running in and out of our room in an elf costume with jingle bells somewhere attached. Because I am currently working the night shift, I worked on Christmas Eve and then slept straight through Christmas Day. This evening, I woke up and saw Santawich in the hall while I was on the way to brush my teeth in our dorm’s communal bathroom. After my brief encounter with the source of all holiday cheer, I walked over to the coffee house, drank four double lattes, and watched the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.