It was Christmas Eve.
And while others were twice-checking their lists, decking their final halls and sliding their last gifts under the tree -- somebody had to referee arguments over parking spaces.
Or remain on duty in case something more serious, or criminal, happens.
So Friday morning, a few elves in a station wagon dropped by Raleigh Police Department district houses to sugarcoat those holiday shifts.
The deliveries included more than 80 trays of cookies and other baked goods to the department's six district stations and the downtown headquarters.
"We've got everything. We've got cookies, brownies, baked goods, salty, sweet -- I mean there's everything over there. And the cards are really the best," said Laurie Huger, pointing to the spread at her first stop -- the District 23 station off Atlantic Avenue.
The sweets turned station break rooms into sugary wonderlands.
"I just think they're forgotten sometimes -- that they still have to be out there on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day," said Huger, who is married to a Raleigh police corporal. She's a member of the department's Family Support Group, mostly run by wives of officers. "It's just a little pick-me-up. Just something to give them a little Christmas cheer."
The bakers and card-makers included members of Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Cathy's Cookie Baskets, the Millbrook Baptist Church kindergarten and the youth group, the Cub Scout pack and Brownie troop at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.
"Thank you for keeping our city safe. It really means a lot to me," a homemade card from one child read, ending with "Feliz Navidad."
Another began: "Dear People, Thanks for protecting us against bad bad robbers."
"It means a lot that people think enough about us and what we do every day to make us cards and cookies," said T.R. Bush, an officer in training, who preferred the star-shaped sugar cookies with strawberry jam filling.
"I thought it was wonderful. It's good for morale," said Officer B.H. Winston, with a half-eaten peanut butter cookie in his fingertips. This is his first winter holiday season as an officer since graduating from N.C. State University last year. "It's nice. It makes coming in on Christmas Eve not quite so difficult."
Staff writer Cindy George can be reached at 829-4656 or email@example.com.