It's the time of year when jingle bells are ringing and trees are draped in tinsel.
In the newsroom that can only mean one thing: It's time to think about the biggest stories of the year. Some of 2013's big stories were tragic, some were funny, and some fell into the just-plain-weird category.
There was plenty to pick from. A major movie filmed at Engel Stadium hit theaters; we commemorated the Civil War's sesquicentennial; flood waters swallowed parts of South Pittsburg; a local, state and federal investigation resulted in 32 men arrested on drug and gun charges.
And in between we elected a new mayor, got the ability to distill whiskey in the city, the president came to town, and we saw more of CeeLo Green than most of us wanted. And, oh yeah, that barge in the river is still sinking and still an eyesore.
Every year, we ask readers to vote on the top local stories from a list of 20 picked by Times Free Press journalists. Voting starts today and ends Friday. We will publish results as part of the Times Free Press 2013 Year in Review special section Dec. 29.
You'll be able to vote for what you think are the Top 10 stories of the year. You can do it online or through snail mail. Your choices:
• Visit timesfreepress.com/vote or go to our facebook page or our Twitter feed to pick your top 10.
• Fill out a ballot that will appear in the City sections of this week's papers and mail your picks to: Metro Editor Chris Vass, c/o The Chattanooga Times Free Press, 400 E. 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403.
On the newspaper's website, you'll also be able to vote for your favorite photo from the Times Free Press photography staff and your favorite Clay Bennett cartoon of 2013.
In coming weeks, also look for our picks for the top business and sports stories of the year.
The exercise of coming up with the top 20 stories always gets us thinking about the work we did covering local news. And, man, our body of work is pretty substantial. Over the course of the year, our reporters have written thousands of stories - more than 800 in November alone - and our photographers have travelled tens of thousands of miles across Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama chasing photos in our 21-county circulation area.
If you read the paper regularly and follow local news, we want your input. Please take a moment to think about the stories that captured your attention in 2013.
Alison Gerber is editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.