The holiday pickle surfaced this week. It's my favorite ornament -- a shiny, glass pickle I hide in the tree as part of our Christmas tradition. The youngster who finds it gets a special treat, which has -- in past years -- caused quite a kerfuffle. Now that my kids are grown, the pickle has become passé.

Yet, I can't let go of this ornament. The same holds true for hundreds of others, all collected from years of ornament exchange parties.

Since my kids were little, moms in their Corpus Christi School classes have gotten together to celebrate Christmas. For at least 15 years we've been buying and trading ornaments, well beyond the point at which anyone needs another angel, snowflake or ceramic Santa. Yet, we do this because it's tradition -- and because some day our children will take the ornaments to brighten their own trees -- and we'll get to start over.

I hope it's soon. I'm running out of storage.

Around town: Speaking of baubles -- I bet you can find some at tomorrow's Winter Craft Bazaar at Thornhill School. Reader Laura Keady says the effort this year is led by talented grandmother Bonnie Walters, who makes headbands and other children's accessories out of recycled felt. Walters' background in sewing and marketing has helped her connect with local crafters and shop owners to make this year's 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. event a must for holiday shoppers.

Freebie alert: Holiday travelers will be happy to know that the Port of Oakland has spirit. Fly out of Oakland International Airport this month and get free parking for up to three days when you travel midweek. Here's the link for more information: www.oaklandairport.com/parking.

Birthday girl: Happy birthday to Oakland's Ann Storm, who just turned 90. Neighbors tell me Ann is quite a gal -- still volunteering, driving and walking down the hill from her home to the Lakeview District each day. You may be amazed, but her birthday group isn't. It's made up of gals who are all 90 or older, and none of them lets the moss grow under their feet.

Animal Tale: Honey is a great healer. Just ask the folks at the Marine Mammal Center, where they slathered the goo on the gaping wound of an elephant seal. "Pilgrim" was found on the beach in Pescadero, last month, after being bitten by a shark or some other adversary. Vets worked to clean the wound, then coated it with honey to prevent infection and accelerate healing. It's such a cute story and the video of Pilgrim's release is even sweeter. Check it out at www.marinemammalcenter.org.