Stockings above the fireplace. Candy canes on the tree. Waiting for Nana to fall asleep in her chair--teeth out--so you can string her in a monsoon of sparkling garland and twinkling lights.
We all have our holiday traditions.
But this year, one ritual of some Chicago residents has neighbors more at war rather than at peace.
Every winter, as the first of many inevitable snows fall, Chicagoans flood the streets of their neighborhoods to shovel their cars out from that (momentarily) pretty white stuff.
And after risking frostbite in places you haven't seen on your poor old body in years, residents stake a claim to their hard-earned spots, decreeing parking "dibs" on each of these spaces with the placement of a mere chair or two.
But not this year, hopes Proximity Marketing, a Windy City firm that launched a community-wide effort, Chair-Free Chicago, last week, asking city-dwellers to keep public spots strictly that--public.
Through their website, ChairFreeChicago.org, the firm encourages--in true neighborly fashion--that residents instead embrace more of another time-honored tradition in the The City of Big Shoulders: Kill them with simple, old-fashioned kindness.
"A Chair-Free Zone is a place where neighbors act like neighbors," the website says. "A place where we all hope our shoveled-out parking space is available when we return, but we aren't selfish enough to try and save the spot."
Paints quite the snowy picture, if you ask me.
If you'd like to help, you can go to their website to printout or order flyers for your own neighborhoods--and, of course, relay the message to all those Facebook and Twitter followers.